In November last year, Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner were walloped in the ratings with a record low of just 155,000.
Seven days later the ladies were axed in favour of Karl Stefanovic and newcomer Allison Langdon, a seemingly triumphant return of Karl who was dropped back in 2018.
The first all-female duo in breakfast program history, Deb and Georgie’s tenure on the desk was marked by continuous criticism of their low ratings.
The reporting around their 155,000 low was labelled the ‘the nail in the coffin for the current crew’ by a Daily Telegraph source.
The Sydney Morning Herald ran the headline ‘Makeup meltdowns, ratings flops and the axeman: Sun sets on Today team’, somewhat bizarrely given there was no mention of any kind of cosmetic-related incidents (except perhaps that the two personalities under the microscope were women).
This week, Karl and Ally hit that same low. 155,000 viewers tuned in matching Deb and Georgie’s ultimate trough.
The same bad ratings have plagued the duo since they first hit screens in January, after a brief promising surge was replaced by a downward trajectory, though ratings picked back up to 193,00 on Wednesday, with the show beating Sunrise in Sydney and Brisbane.
They, however, still trailed Sunrise’s 237,000 national metro figures.
Deb and Georgie’s final show pulled 191,000 on their last day after 11 months at the helm.
Darren Wick, head of news and current affairs at Nine told The Australian, “Hand on heart, I’m not bothered by the ratings.”
It could seem confusing to some.
Why are the same figures that sent the first all-female line-up packing being brushed off as growing pains when it comes to a returning veteran?
Nine refused to comment when approached by Yahoo Lifestyle, only pointing out the most recent ratings from Tuesday indicate a marked improvement – although still sitting below 200,000 and almost 50,000 behind Sunrise is not quite the triumphant rebound they were probably hoping for.
Dashed hopes with Karl return
Karl and Ally are proving to be coming up against the exact same issues Deb and Georgie, and it looks like that’s down to a tired show more than ill-fitting hosts.
‘Losing his spark? Today show ratings plummet to new low of 155,000 metro viewers less than three months after Karl Stefanovic's return’ was the Daily Mail’s headline yesterday.
Compare that to last November:
‘'The nail in the coffin': Struggling breakfast program Today delivers lowest numbers EVER... amid reports the current crew may be replaced’.
When Karl and Lisa first joined forces in 2007, their pairing marked a new hope for the show, which initially climbed in the ratings under their stewardship to almost match rival Sunrise.
Now, though, Today seems to be falling far more quickly than anyone could have anticipated.
It looks like maybe Deb and Georgie were not responsible for the show’s downfall after all, and were simply trying to keep a leaky vessel afloat.
TV expert and the man behind TV Blackbox Rob McKnight tells Yahoo Lifestyle, Today’s failing numbers are proof the show, and not the hosts, is what needs to change.
“They have not changed the content, and the show is failing,” he says, adding he believes Karl and Ally are the ‘right people’, but the show need a major overhaul.
He believes the show is in serious risk of falling to number three behind ABC News Breakfast, what he calls the ‘dark horse’ in the race that could knock Today off its already-wobbly second place block.
This week News Breakfast beat the show twice.
“There is going to be a lot of egg on a lot of people’s faces if that show goes to number three,” he says.
“Now is the time to do a major format change and do something different. Today needs to establish it’s own identity.”
The latest ratings point to a major fail from Nine, with what some believe to be a winning duo on a show viewers are less and less inclined to tune into.
Aussie breakfast’s first female hosting duo was ousted under the assumption that they couldn’t carry the program.
It looks like it was the program that couldn’t carry them.
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