Sunrise wins breakfast show ratings wars yet again: Where is it all going wrong for Today?

The Today show has once again been trumped in the ratings by Sunrise.

Despite a rollercoaster year of upheavals on the Sunrise team, with Kochie announcing his retirement and Matt Shirvington taking over as co-host, the Channel Seven breakfast show has once again soared to the top of the ratings chart.

Smashing Channel Nine’s Today show, a statement from Sunrise claimed the show has attracted nearly 30% more viewers nationally and is 59% ahead in regional Australia.

It begs the question, where has it all gone so wrong for the Today show?

Nat Barr and Matt Shirvington laughing
Sunrise has soared to the top of the ratings charts. Photo: Channel 7

Today plagued by scandals

While Sunrise has had its fair share of controversies, with Samantha Armytage quitting the glitzy role back in 2021 and Nat Barr taking over, the Today show drama has totally eclipsed that of its competitors.


Things seemed to go into a downward spiral when Lisa Wilkinson quit the show in 2017 and took a gig at rival network Channel 10, co-hosting The Project.

In 2021, she released her tell-all memoir, It Wasn't Meant to Be Like This, where she laid bare details of a pay gap between her and co-host Karl Stefanovic and spoke about how their friendship never really made it off-air.

Karl Stefanovic’s fall from grace

Lisa’s exposé was just another blow to Karl’s ‘golden boy’ image after a string of controversies around his personal life.

In 2016, fans were left shocked when Karl announced he was parting ways with his wife of 21 years, Cassandra Thorburn. There was even more drama when just months later his rumoured relationship with shoe designer Jasmine Yarborough hit headlines.

Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo
Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo are the current hosts of the Today show. Photo: Channel Nine

By 2018 - with a new marriage to Jasmine under his belt - Karl was dumped from his role as Today host after 14 years at the helm.

Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight were hired as the new duo set to turn around Today’s ratings luck, however, it wasn’t meant to be and by 2018 Karl was back in the hosting seat, this time with Ally Langdon by his side.

The pair seemed to win back some of the viewers with their witty banter and journalism credentials while reporting on the bushfires and Covid, even managing to beat Sunrise in the September ratings that year.

Today show’s revolving host chair

But the dream team didn’t last long, with Ally quitting in 2022 and Sarah Abo taking her spot.

At the 2023 Logies, host Sam Pang even made a joke about the Today show's long line of hosts of the last few years, saying: “And what would a Logies be without Karl Stefanovic, hey. Where is he? There he is on the Today show table. Sitting next to your co-host, who do you have this year, Karl? No, of course, it is the highly respected journalist Sarah Abo who has gone from 60 Minutes where she covered the Russia Ukraine war and the conflict in Syria to the Today where her biggest story so far has been covering the Gympie potato festival."

Show slams 'crisis' reports

In May, Nine's director of morning television Steve Burling came out swinging against an article in the Daily Telegraph claiming a source told them Nine executives were 'worried' about 'the Karl/Sarah combination'.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "The story published today is total fabrication and a distortion of the old-fashioned and out of date overnight ratings system.

"We are in a good position with Today and Today Extra in metropolitan and east coast audiences, and in the all-important younger demographics.

"Our team is working brilliantly together and our audience response to the line-up couldn't be more positive."

The new Sunrise team 2023
Matt Shirvington joined the Sunrise team earlier this year. Photo: Channel 7

Sunrise gushes over ratings win

Sunris, has gone through its fair share of changes, with former Olympian Matt Shirvington recently taking over as co-host, but it seems nothing has fazed their viewers.

While it remains to be seen how the Today show will handle the ratings news, Channel Seven are certainly delighted about it, with Director of Morning Television, Sarah Stinson, saying in a statement: “To be number one across Australia, the five capital cities and in every single state is an accomplishment we never take for granted.

“Thank you to our incredible viewers who have made Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise and The Morning Show Australia’s most-watched breakfast and morning programs day in, day out.

“And thank you to Nat, Shirvo, Kochie, Kylie, Larry, Matt and Monique and the entire on-air crew, as well as the passionate team behind the scenes, for their relentless commitment to keeping Australia informed, enlightened and entertained."

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