Georgie Gardener speaks out after Today show axings

Bianca Soldani
Lifestyle Editor Australia

Three days after the axe began swinging at Channel Nine, Today show host Georgie Gardener has broken her silence.

The presenter, who was brought back to the program last year to replace Lisa Wilkinson, penned a farewell message to co-star Karl Stefanovic after he was given a brief send off on air last week.

“A very tough week, a challenging year,” she wrote on Instagram alongside an out of focus photo of her and Karl.

“Huge congratulations @karlstefanovic_ for a 14 yr tenure hosting one of TV’s most demanding gigs. You brought a new brand, straddling the serious stories along with endless laughs (see YouTube!) You taught me plenty, it was never boring. X”

Tensions have run high

Georgie was famously embroiled in the Ubergate scandal earlier this year when Karl and his brother Peter Stefanovic (who was also axed this week) were heard complaining that she needed to ‘step up’ in her new role.

Addressing the drama at the time, Georgie didn’t deny there was ‘friction’ between herself and Karl, despite their attempts to laugh off the matter.

In a radio interview alongside Karl, Georgie was asked whether “there’s a fraction of friction between you two,” to which she replied, “a fraction too much friction”.

Apologising again for the scandal, Karl then said, “Georgie was incredibly good about that, for God’s sake, I thought she was going to hit me!”

Georgie will be working with a new cast in 2019. Photo: Getty

Did Georgie know Karl was going to leave?

It’s yet to be seen who will be replacing Karl on the breakfast show in 2019, but if a source is to be believed, the change may have been more closely planned than we thought.

A report claims a promise about Karl’s employment was made a year ago to Georgie after she had replaced Lisa Wilkinson as co-host.

“She signed on to the show after having been assured she would only have to do one year with Karl,” an insider source reportedly told The Sunday Telegraph at the time.

“After that, he’s gone and Nine will recast and she will get to work with someone else.”

If that’s the case, the timeline does seem to match up with this week’s announcement that Karl will not be hosting Today in 2019.

Karl speaks out

After 14 years at Nine, 44-year-old Karl was dropped while on his honeymoon in Aspen following his wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough in Mexico last week.

When asked if he had any comments on the matter, he told the Daily Telegraph, “I am looking forward to getting back to the sunshine.”

Karl has been weathering media criticism since leaving his wife of more than 20 years, Cassandra Thorburn, two years ago.

In a statement, Nine news and current affairs director Darren Wick said: “Nine and Karl Stefanovic have agreed it is time for him to step off the Today Show.”

Peter and Karl Stefanovic have both left, and Richard Wilkins sidlined. Photo: Instagram/thetodayshow

Dickie’s also in the spotlight

Following the announcements of Karl and Peter Stefanovic’s departures, it was revealed on Friday that fellow long-time contributor Richard Wilkins has been sidelined.

Darren Wick confirmed Triple J’s Brooke Boney will join Today as entertainment correspondent next year, and will be working closely with Richard, who will remain entertainment editor at Nine, but have a greater role on Today Extra that airs after 9am.

“I’m really thrilled to be joining the team and so excited to be working alongside Richard Wilkins. He’s such a legend in the business,” 31-year-old Indigenous reporter Brooke said in a statement.

Richard Wilkins and Karl Stefanovic, who was dumped from Today earlier this week. Photo: Instagram/sylviajeffreys