Karl Stefanovic's seat being kept warm till TV return

Holly Hales
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Despite the rumours, Karl Stefanovic is not returning to hosting the Today show with Georgie Gardner. Photo: Channel Nine

Since Karl Stefanovic’s departure from the Today show at the end of last year, all we’ve been told is he will be hosting This Time Next Year.

We’re now in April and yet to see the 44-year-old, who remains on a multi-million dollar contract, return to TV screens. And it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Reports emerged on Monday that Karl was set to make a comeback on the Today show after Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight’s joint hosting efforts have led to a plummet in ratings.

But we can reveal Karl’s return is far from the truth at this stage, and if previous years’ This Time Next Year air dates around July are anything to go by, it’ll still be a couple more months till we see Karl on the telly.

The Woman’s Day report is completely untrue. Karl remains with Nine and will return to air with This Time Next Year later this year,” a Nine spokesman told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia. 

At the end of last year the Gold Logie winner was publicly dumped from the job he held since 2005. Photo: Getty Images

On Monday morning rumours began swirling Karl is on the cusp of a comeback as hosts Deb Knight and Georgie Gardener struggle to bring in viewers.

“Nine have to face up to the fact it was a mistake to get rid of (Karl),” TV executive Rob McKnight told Woman’s Day, adding the program’s at ‘crisis point’ as ‘no-one on Today is happy’.

In early March, Today attracted just 167,000 metro viewers – its lowest figures since 2006 – and almost 300,000 less than rival Sunrise.

This left insiders to speculate if it has something to do with Today’s new cast.

“There’s virtually no chemistry between Georgie and Deb, but Karl and Deb work well together and have a sense of humour which resonates with viewers,” a source told Woman’s Day.

However, Rob McKnight insisted there’s still room for the show to be saved – his plan just has Karl at the centre of it.

“I can see Deb and Karl working well together as co-hosts with Georgie doing what she does best and returning to reading the news on Today,” he said, before adding Tom Steinford should be “out on the road” and Richard Wilkins should return to showbiz reporting.

Karl was famously dumped from the Today show at the end of last year after holding the top TV gig since 2005.

It came after more than two years of very public personal scandals for the father-of-three, which saw his 21-year marriage to Cassandra Thorburn breakdown months before he began romancing 34-year-old shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough.

TV commentators says the decision to axe the one-time fan favourite may have been rash, as the show’s revamped line-up appears to have made ratings plummet even further. Photo: Channel Nine

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