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Karl Stefanovic has had eight co-hosts on the Today show

Karl Stefanovic will be hoping his eighth co-host in 14 years finally delivers a ratings win over bitter rivals Sunrise when he returns to the Today breakfast desk next year.

Stefanovic, once Channel Nine’s Golden Boy, has been paired with a succession of female co-hosts since he first went on air with Tracy Grimshaw in 2005.

The partnership bombed with Today losing every day of the ratings year nationally to Sunrise before falling to a paltry 116,000 viewers.

Stefanovic survived the axe which fell on Grimshaw starting a revolving door of women who pulled up a seat next to him.

Karl Stefanovic’s carousel of women: The TV star has been paired with his eighth co-host, as he is set to make a return to Today alongside Allison Langdon. Pictured with Lisa Wilkinson 

Only a pairing with Lisa Wilkinson produced some success with the Channel Nine flagship closing the margin with Channel Seven’s breakfast juggernaut in 2016 with 317,000 waking up with Today compared to 310,000 on Sunrise.

But Seven disputed the claim and launched legal action against Nine claiming some dodgy accounting for not taking into account regional markets but within a year Sunrise reclaimed their lead over Today.  

Now that 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon has been announced as Karl’s eighth co-host, all eyes will be on the 45-year-old to see if he can finally deliver and maintain an elusive ratings victory over Sunrise.   

Here’s a look back at Karl’s carousel of female co-hosts over his 15 seasons on the breakfast show.

There could be more to come, if Channel Nine’s gamble doesn’t pay off and it turns out history ends up repeating itself.

Tracy Grimshaw 

New kid! In 2005, Tracy Gimshaw (right), who had held the fort at Today for close to a decade, was paired with new kid on the block Karl Stefanovic (left) on Today

New kid! In 2005, Tracy Gimshaw (right), who had held the fort at Today for close to a decade, was paired with new kid on the block Karl Stefanovic (left) on Today 

New role: Karl stepped in when host Steve Liebmann (centre) retired. (L-R) Past and present Today show on-air talent, Karl Stefanovic, Lisa Wilkinson, Monte Dwyer, Ian Ross and Tracy Grimshaw celebrate the Today show's 25th birthday in 2007

New role: Karl stepped in when host Steve Liebmann (centre) retired. (L-R) Past and present Today show on-air talent, Karl Stefanovic, Lisa Wilkinson, Monte Dwyer, Ian Ross and Tracy Grimshaw celebrate the Today show’s 25th birthday in 2007

Out: The coupling was not a ratings winner and by the end of the year, it was Tracy, not Karl, who was replaced. Tracy, 59, began hosting A Current Affair, a position she holds till this day

Out: The coupling was not a ratings winner and by the end of the year, it was Tracy, not Karl, who was replaced. Tracy, 59, began hosting A Current Affair, a position she holds till this day

In 2005, Tracy Gimshaw was paired with Karl when host Steve Liebmann retired. 

A stalwart on the breakfast program, Tracy had been in the role for nine years at that point. 

The coupling was not a ratings winner and by the end of the year, ratings slid to a reported 116,000 viewers – their lowest ever. 

It was Tracy, not Karl, who was replaced, after that downturn. 

Tracy, 59,  began hosting A Current Affair, replacing Ray Martin, a position she holds till this day. 

Jessica Rowe

New blood: Then a Channel Ten newsreader, Jessica Rowe (right) took over from Tracy to co-host Today with Karl beginning in 2006

New blood: Then a Channel Ten newsreader, Jessica Rowe (right) took over from Tracy to co-host Today with Karl beginning in 2006

Then a Channel Ten newsreader, Jessica Rowe took over from Tracy to co-host Today with Karl beginning in 2006. 

The chemistry between the pair was lacking and ratings crashed, with Sunrise pulling in twice Today’s audience.  

A Channel Nine source told The Age at the time:  ‘(Karl) just sits there and doesn’t say anything and she feels obliged to fill the gaps. 

‘Sunrise is all about the interaction. There is none on Today because Karl never says much.’

Not great: The chemistry between the pair was lacking and ratings crashed, with Sunrise pulling in twice the audience. Jessica was sacked by Nine CEO Eddie McGuire in 2007, three months into her maternity leave

Not great: The chemistry between the pair was lacking and ratings crashed, with Sunrise pulling in twice the audience. Jessica was sacked by Nine CEO Eddie McGuire in 2007, three months into her maternity leave

Controversy: In her book, Is This My Beautiful Life?, Jessica felt she had been 'hung out to dry' by producers on the show. Pictured 2019

Controversy: In her book, Is This My Beautiful Life?, Jessica felt she had been ‘hung out to dry’ by producers on the show. Pictured 2019

Jessica was sacked by Nine CEO Eddie McGuire in 2007, three months into her maternity leave. 

Controversy arose over claims Eddie phrased it as having ‘ boned her’ from the program – an allegation he denies.  

In her book, Is This My Beautiful Life?, Jessica felt she had been ‘hung out to dry’ by producers on the show.  

Sarah Murdoch and Kellie Connolly

Model host: Model Sarah Murdoch (far fight) replaced Jessica Rowe during the summer season of 2007

Model host: Model Sarah Murdoch (far fight) replaced Jessica Rowe during the summer season of 2007

Short run: She appeared as temporary co-host for four months before moving on

Short run: She appeared as temporary co-host for four months before moving on 

Model Sarah Murdoch replaced Jessica Rowe during the summer season of 2007, appearing as a temporary co-host for four months. 

The show’s news reporter Kellie Connolly was then brought in, hosting the show for just two months before she dramatically collapsed on air. 

Shortly after Jessica Rowe’s departure was formally announced in 2007, Kellie fainted during a cooking segment with chef Toby Puttock. 

Dramatic end: The show's news reporter Kellie Connolly (pictured in 2007) was then brought in, still in 2007, hosting the show for just two months before she dramatically collapsed on air. Kelly moved on to host Nine's Nightline before being made redundant from the role in 2009

Dramatic end: The show’s news reporter Kellie Connolly (pictured in 2007) was then brought in, still in 2007, hosting the show for just two months before she dramatically collapsed on air. Kelly moved on to host Nine’s Nightline before being made redundant from the role in 2009

The former A Current Affair host was helped off the floor by co-host Richard Wilkins, who later explained what happened.  

He said: ‘She had a little moment, she had a dizzy spell, she’s fine, especially if you’re Kelly’s mum, she wants you to know she’s fine.’

Ratings rose during this period to a reported 150,000 viewers but the gap between Today and Sunrise remained.  

Kelly went on to host Nine’s Nightline before being made redundant from the role in 2009.  

Lisa Wilkinson

Incoming: In 2007, journalist Lisa Wilkinson (right) joined the team, and became the fifth woman in under two years who had been hired to co-host Today with Karl

Incoming: In 2007, journalist Lisa Wilkinson (right) joined the team, and became the fifth woman in under two years who had been hired to co-host Today with Karl

In 2007,  journalist Lisa Wilkinson joined the team, and became the fifth woman in under two years who had been hired to co-host Today with Karl. 

Karl and the former magazine editor made a winning team for close to 10 years, and audiences tuned in. 

With ratings steadily rising, Today closed in on Sunrise, and Channel Nine claimed to have exceeded their rivals’ ratings by a narrow margin at the end of 2016. 

Seven claims it edged ahead to 317,000 viewers, beating out Sunrise’s 310,000, in October 2016. 

Today show ratings hovered around 300,000 throughout 2016 and 2017 when Stefanovic was host with Lisa Wilkinson.  

Winner! Karl and the former magazine editor made a winning team for close to 10 years, and audiences tuned in. Pictured, Lisa Wilkson and karl

Winner! Karl and the former magazine editor made a winning team for close to 10 years, and audiences tuned in. With ratings steadily rising, Today closed in on Sunrise, and Nine claimed to have exceeded their rivals’ ratings by a narrow margin at the end of 2016

No more laughs! But the glory days were no to be, and Lisa dramatically departed the Today show to join Channel Ten's The Project in October 2017

No more laughs! But the glory days were no to be, and Lisa dramatically departed the Today show to join Channel Ten’s The Project in October 2017

But the glory days were not to be, when Lisa dramatically departed the Today show, to join Channel Ten’s The Project in October 2017. 

The 59-year-old was alleged to have demanded equal pay with co-host Karl, and negotiations had broken down. 

An official statement from the Nine Network said it was ‘unable to meet her expectations’. 

Lisa made the announcement to Twitter, writing: ‘I have some sad news. I’m sad to say that today was my last day on the Today show.’

Pay issues: The 59-year-old was alleged to have demanded equal pay with co-host Karl, and negotiations had broken down. The Australian reported at the time that Karl earned at least $2 million a year. The Daily Telegraph claimed that Lisa had been on a $1.1 million a year contract

Pay issues: The 59-year-old was alleged to have demanded equal pay with co-host Karl, and negotiations had broken down. The Australian reported at the time that Karl earned at least $2 million a year. The Daily Telegraph claimed that Lisa had been on a $1.1 million a year contract

New job: Lisa is rumoured to have secured a $2.3 million salary when she jumped ship to Channel 10's The Project. Pictured on The Project

New job: Lisa is rumoured to have secured a $2.3 million salary when she jumped ship to Channel 10’s The Project. Pictured on The Project  

The Australian reported at the time that Karl earned at least $2 million a year, and his three-year contract included a potential bonus that could take his salary to $3 million if ratings were a hit. 

The Daily Telegraph claimed that Lisa had been on a $1.1 million-a-year contract, with Channel Nine only willing to increase the amount to $1.8 million. 

Lisa is rumoured to have secured a $2.3 million salary when she jumped ship to Channel 10’s The Project.  

Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner

Filling in: With Lisa Wilkinson's abrupt departure, Deborah Knight (right) stepped in to take the reigns alongside Karl until the end of the year in 2017

Filling in: With Lisa Wilkinson’s abrupt departure, Deborah Knight (right) stepped in to take the reigns alongside Karl until the end of the year in 2017

With Lisa Wilkinson’s abrupt departure, Deborah Knight stepped in to take the reigns alongside Karl until the end of 2017. 

In 2018, Georgie Gardner, a Nine newsreader, was brought on board, and viewers sensed tensions between her and co-host Karl. 

It was widely believed that Georgie and Karl had fallen out after the ‘Ubergate scandal’ in March, 2018. 

Changes: In 2018, Georgie Gardner (right), a Nine newsreader, was brought on board, and viewers sensed tensions between her and co-host Karl

Changes: In 2018, Georgie Gardner (right), a Nine newsreader, was brought on board, and viewers sensed tensions between her and co-host Karl

It referred to an incident in which Peter Stefanovic had his brother Karl on speakerphone during a phone call in the back of an Uber car.

The siblings were overhead having an animated discussion about their colleagues.

During the call, Karl was ‘overheard’ by the Uber driver complaining about Georgie and other colleagues.

The details of his private conversation were leaked to New Idea.

Oops! It was widely believed that Georgie and Karl had fallen out after the Ubergate scandal in March, 2018

Oops! It was widely believed that Georgie and Karl had fallen out after the Ubergate scandal in March, 2018

Zip it: It referred to an incident in which Peter Stefanovic (left) had his brother Karl (right) on speakerphone during a phone call in the back of an Uber car. During the call, Karl was 'overheard' by the Uber driver complaining about Georgie and other colleagues

Zip it: It referred to an incident in which Peter Stefanovic (left) had his brother Karl (right) on speakerphone during a phone call in the back of an Uber car. During the call, Karl was ‘overheard’ by the Uber driver complaining about Georgie and other colleagues

According to the magazine, Karl had criticised his female co-anchor for ‘sitting on the fence’ and not having enough opinions.

Discussing the rumoured feud recently, Georgie insisted she had ‘love and respect’ for Karl – however many sensed the tension was ongoing. 

On top of that, ratings were dismal – with Today being smashed by Sunrise and reaching all-time ratings lows. 

Following Lisa Wilkinson’s departure, ratings hovered around the 200,000 mark, plunging to a 12-year low in September 2018 with 199,000 metro viewers. 

By December 2018, Georgie no longer had to work with her co-host as Karl was sacked from Today while on his honeymoon with wife Jasmine.

Deborah Knight returned to the program to host opposite Georgie Gardner in early 2019. 

Back on track? By December 2018, Georgie no longer had to work with her co-host as Karl was sacked from Today while on his honeymoon with wife Jasmine. Deborah Knight returned to the program to host opposite Georgie Gardner in early 2019

Back on track? By December 2018, Georgie no longer had to work with her co-host as Karl was sacked from Today while on his honeymoon with wife Jasmine. Deborah Knight returned to the program to host opposite Georgie Gardner in early 2019

Out: The pairing proved a dismal failure for the network, with ratings sliding an even further 40,000 viewers. Last week, it was announced that both Deb and Georgie had been sacked from the show to make way for Karl's triumphant return

Out: The pairing proved a dismal failure for the network, with ratings sliding an even further 40,000 viewers. Last week, it was announced that both Deb and Georgie had been sacked from the show to make way for Karl’s triumphant return

The pairing proved a dismal failure for the network, with ratings sliding an even further. 

Since the dramatic changes this year, ratings have plummeted for the breakfast show and they have now hit an all-time low.

Last month, TV Tonight revealed the program only managed to secure 163,000 viewers, significantly less than rival Sunrise’s 277,000.

The results show that Today is experiencing its lowest ratings since 2006.  

Last week, it was announced that both Deb and Georgie had been sacked from the show to make way for Karl’s triumphant return. 

Allison Langdon  

New crew: Last week, it was revealed that Karl will be returning to the Today Show with Alison Langdon (left) in 2020

New crew: Last week, it was revealed that Karl will be returning to the Today Show with Alison Langdon (left) in 2020

Karl Stefanovic will be returning to the Today show with Alison Langdon in 2020.

She will be his eighth female co-host in the 15 seasons he has been at the helm of the breakfast program.  

And while there is much buzz over Karl’s return to TV, Allison, 40, is already a favourite with viewers of the breakfast program. 

She received immense praise from the audience watching at home when filling in for Deborah Knight last month. 

The seasoned journalist has been serving as a reporter on 60 Minutes since 2011, and continues to appear on the program, as well as appearing on Weekend Today.

Famous face: The seasoned journalist has been serving as a reporter on 60 Minutes since 2011, and continues to appear on the program, as well as appearing on Weekend Today

Famous face: The seasoned journalist has been serving as a reporter on 60 Minutes since 2011, and continues to appear on the program, as well as appearing on Weekend Today

Allison is married to fellow journalist, Michael Willesee Jr, son of the late Mike Willesee.

After the announcement was made that Allison would be joining Karl on Today, the star said she plans to ‘wind her co-host up’ and keep the show fun. 

‘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,’ she said in a statement. 

She added: ‘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!’

Allison concluded: ‘I just want to help our viewers get their day off to a good, fun start.’ 

Allison says she plans to 'wind her co-host up': '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,' she said in a statement

Allison says she plans to ‘wind her co-host up’: ‘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,’ she said in a statement 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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