There’s been much speculation over the past month that Today host Karl Stefanovic was set to be ‘axed’ from the breakfast show next year due to off-screen dramas.
However, it seems Nine is sticking by the star, with a press release confirming the 44-year-old will be returning to the show in 2019 alongside co-host Georgie Gardner.
“The nation wakes up with Today, hosted by Karl Stefanovic and Georgie Gardner,” the release read.
“In 2019, Australia’s longest running breakfast television program will continue to bring viewers up-to-the-minute news, current affairs, sport, politics, entertainment, fashion, health and lifestyle from Australia and around the world,” it continued.
Karl’s role on the network came under fire after matters in his personal life were believed to have impacted the show’s ratings.
It all started with his highly publicised split from wife of 21-years Cassandra Thorburn, in 2016, which was shortly followed by Karl’s romance with 33-year-old shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough – which is said to have been a turn-off for some of Today’s female viewers.
Karl’s job also came under scrutiny when his long-term co-host Lisa Wilkinson left the network over claims she was being paid less than Karl, and he later became caught up in the ‘Ubergate’ scandal with brother Peter Stefanovic, where he was claimed to have criticised new co-host Georgie Gardner.
Given all this, rumours circulated that Karl may be replaced by a similar ‘family man’ personality Ben Fordham, who has previously filled in for Karl.
However Ben said in June that he wasn’t interested in replacing Karl as be believed he was “doing an incredible job” alongside Georgie.
“No doubt the constant publicity surrounding issues with his personal life have had an impact on Karl, his colleagues and on the show. We can’t hide from that,” Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks said.
“Clearly, it’s been a tough and challenging year for Karl and Today,” he added, hinting that while Karl’s job was safe for now, everyone on the show – ‘especially Karl’ – needed to up their game.
Karl’s ex Cassandra Thorburn opened up about the impact the breakup had on her and the three children last month, which saw Karl’s image targeted again.
“Last year, I declared that Karl really was dead to me, a man I no longer know, but the children still have their father,” she told The Australian Women’s Weekly. “The flip-side of that is I feel like we’re dead to his family and almost anyone from our old life.”
Karl however quickly hit back in a statement saying he was ‘disappointed’ and that “nothing could be further from the truth”.
But it became clear at this year’s TV Week Logies that Karl Stefanovic was no longer ‘TV King’.