Channel Nine has officially confirmed a whole new line-up for the Today show, with a host of new faces joining Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on the breakfast show in 2020.
“They got rid of almost everyone. It’s another bloodbath,” a source told news.com.au, before the network confirmed who was in and who was out on Wednesday morning.
Karl and Allison will be joined by Perth reporter Tracy Vo in the newsreader role, with Alex Cullen, formerly from Sunday Night, doing sport.
Veteran weatherman Stevie Jacobs will also be departing the program he joined earlier this year, being replaced by Sydney reporter Tim Davies.
“Thrilled to be joining the new look Today show team in 2020,” Tim, who viewers will recognise from Weekend Today, shared in a post on Instagram.
Nine's Director of Morning Television, Steven Burling, heaped praise on the new team.
“Ally and Karl are quite simply two of the best news broadcasters in the country,” he said.
“Both have reported from conflict zones, they are more than comfortable going toe-to-toe against our most formidable politicians and quite honestly they're who you'd turn to in times of breaking news, be it here in Australia or anywhere in the world.
“Importantly though, Ally and Karl also know how to have a good laugh, they both have an infectious, self-deprecating sense of humour that I believe will appeal to viewers and the rest of the on-air team.”
The shuffle confirmed Tom Steinfort’s departure from the program. He took to Twitter to thank the team.
A big thank you to the wonderful team at @TheTodayShow, who I loved working with this year. And a special thanks to our loyal viewers, who are so passionately engaged in the program. All the best to the great new crew, I’ll be watching....after enjoying a bit of a sleep in!— Tom Steinfort (@tomsteinfort) December 17, 2019
Brooke Boney is the only person from the revamped 2019 line-up to remain as the entertainment reporter into 2020.
The new team will debut live on Monday, January 6.
Changes confirmed for Weekend Today
Richard Wilkins has also been booted from the Today show and will be moved to Weekend Today. He will be joined by new co-host Rebecca Maddern, from The Footy Show and Ninja Warrior Australia.
Jayne Azzopardi will present the Weekend Today news and Lauren Phillips will be the weekend weather presenter.
It’s also been confirmed that Sylvia Jeffreys is set to return to morning TV as co-host of Today Extra alongside David Campbell, replacing Sonia Kruger who moved to Channel 7.
Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight’s failed stint on Today
Georgie Gardner’s tenure as Today anchor came to an abrupt end in November, with her colleagues revealing her departure came after a stretch of difficulty in the high-profile gig.
In a scripted segment, Deborah Knight and Tom Steinfort paid tribute to their ‘colleague and friend’
Georgie had been hosting the show alongside Deb since January 2019, following Karl’s shock axing, and said she was ‘very proud’ to have been one half of the first female hosting duo in Australian breakfast television.
She added that while her nine-year tenure with the program had ‘at times been cruel’ she was departing with ‘fond memories’ and planned to return to her ‘first love’, news. Prior to the new look format, Georgie had been standing in for Lisa Wilkinson alongside Karl.
Today’s radical casting switch-up earlier this year saw Tom Steinfort take over from Sylvia Jeffreys as newsreader, while Deb Knight stepped into Karl’s hosting shoes and Brooke Boney joined as entertainment reporter.
But despite the fresh line up’s initial promise, each has failed to resonate with audiences, reaching its year-long low earlier this month when it pulled in just 155,000 viewers.
Karl Stefanovic glad to return to ‘best job’ at Today
It was confirmed on November 9 that former Today show host Karl Stefanovic would reclaim his plum role on Channel Nine’s morning TV program in 2020.
In a statement shared with Yahoo Lifestyle at the time, the 45-year-old admitted he never expected to return to what he described as ‘the best live job in Australia’ - despite the ‘enormous pressures’ and ‘pitfalls’.
“Going back to the Today Show is not something that I thought would come up again. I thought my time was up but then when I was sounded out about it, it got me thinking. It's a big job with enormous pressures and I know only too well some of those pitfalls, but it is also without question the best live job in Australia,” he said.
It was also revealed that Weekend Today’s Allison Langdon will join ‘unpredictable’ Karl as a new co-host next year.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead but I can tell you one thing, it's not going to be boring! I love the unpredictability of live TV… and Karl,” Allison said in a statement supplied by Nine.
“Wind him up and let him go! I'm sure we'll butt heads, but we'll do it with a smile on our face. I just want to help our viewers get their day off to a good, fun start,” she added.
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