EXCLUSIVE: Media insider reveals why Karl Stefanovic is the answer to Nine’s prayers – amid reports axed Today host will return alongside Allison Langdon
Karl Stefanovic could be the ticket Nine desperately needs to save Today from its ratings hell.
But according to TV Blackbox’s Robert McKnight, the relaunch of Karl, 45, can only be a success if Nine evolves the Today format as well.
‘Karl will bring a much needed boost to the TODAY show but the producers are going to have to make more changes in order to keep viewers,’ McKnight told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
‘Producers are going to have to make more changes in order to keep viewers’: The relaunch of Karl Stefanovic, 45, can only be a success if Nine evolves the Today format as well, TV Blackbox’s Robert McKnight has claimed
‘Karl’s big personality hid a lot of the problems with the show and Nine need to be smart and evolve the format with the relaunch of Karl,’ he continued.
McKnight insisted that Karl was never ‘the problem’ when it came to his axing in December last year.
‘Karl might have gone through a few issues but he was liked by the audience,’ he said.
‘Chemistry is everything in this game’: As for who should join Karl at the helm of Today, McKnight said 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon (left) would be a perfect fit
‘NAIL IN THE COFFIN’: TODAY’S WORST RATINGS EVER
The Today show pulled in its lowest ratings ever last week.
Viewers of the struggling breakfast show plunged to just 155,000 on Friday, with the poor figures branded ‘the nail in the coffin’ for the show’s current crew of Georgie Gardner, Deb Knight and Tom Steinfort.
As for who should join Karl at the helm of Today, McKnight said 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon would be a perfect fit.
‘Chemistry is everything in this game and it was obvious to everyone the partnership with Georgie didn’t work from the get-go,’he said.
‘Allison Langdon will prove to be a good partner to Karl and will give him a run for his money, but she’ll also work very well with him.’
It comes after The Australian reported on Tuesday that Nine chief executive Hugh Marks wants to reinstate Karl to Today next year in a bid to halt the show’s ever-sliding ratings.
However, Karl, who earns $2million a year, will have to lose ‘hundreds of thousands’ from his salary for the return to go ahead.
Will they be replaced? Karl and Allison could replace current Today show duo Georgie Gardner (right) and Deb Knight (centre), who have struggled with viewership throughout the course of the year
The journalist was ousted from the program on December 19 last year after 14 years – just days after his lavish Mexican wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough, 35.
The wedding, which included a magazine deal with a rival company, is believed to have been the final straw with Nine’s management after years of negative press following the end of his marriage to Cassandra Thorburn in 2016.
Following Karl’s axing, Today’s new hosts Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight struggled to gain any traction against Seven’s Sunrise, with the Nine show’s ratings reaching an all-time low of 155,000 last Friday. This was almost half of Sunrise’s 277,000.
Axed: Karl was ousted from the program on December 19 last year after 14 years – just days after his lavish Mexican wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough, 35 (right)
In comparison, Today show ratings hovered around 300,000 throughout 2016 and 2017 when Karl was host with Lisa Wilkinson.
Speaking to Nova FM’s Fitzy & Wippa on Friday, Karl confessed he was gunning to get his old job back.
‘That’s what I keep trying to tell Channel Nine, that I’m the lucky charm,’ he said.
‘If they want to pad me up and send me in, I’m ready to go in and we’ll have a win.’
THE RISE AND FALL OF KARL STEFANOVIC
1994: After obtaining a journalism degree, Karl begins working for WIN in Rockhampton and Cairns as a cadet reporter
2000: Karl Stefanovic joins Channel Nine as a reporter in Brisbane
2005: He replaces Steve Liebmann as the host of the Today show
2011: His career at Channel Nine peaks when he wins the coveted Gold Logie
2008 – 2012: Karl co-hosts Carols By Candlelight with Lisa Wilkinson
2015: In October, his ‘serious’ panel show The Verdict flops in the ratings
Late 2015: Karl signs multi-million dollar deal with Nine after offer from Seven
2016: Karl apologises for using a transgender slur. Later, his popularity falls when he splits with wife Cassandra Thorburn
Late 2016: Starts dating Jasmine Yarbrough, months after leaving his marriage
February 2017: He is pictured canoodling with Jasmine on a boat, accelerating his dip in popularity
Late 2017: Karl’s brand takes another hit when Lisa Wilkinson quits Today in a gender pay gap scandal
March 2018: Karl and Peter get caught complaining about Channel Nine in Ubergate scandal
September 2018: Nine CEO Hugh Mark’s publicly criticises Karl’s performance
December 8, 2018: Karl marries Jasmine Yarbrough in Mexico
December 19, 2018: He is sacked from the Today show, but remains with Nine
2019: Karl hosts This Time Next Year on Nine. The show is axed in October
Late 2019: Rumours continue to swirl Karl could return to the Today show