Allison Langdon is set to become the new Georgie Gardner, Deborah Knight could be the old Sylvia Jeffreys and Karl Stefanovic is being reinvented as… Karl Stefanovic.
Channel Nine’s breakfast and morning television line-up is set for a major overhaul which is tipped to see at least half a dozen network stars change roles.
A new round of musical chairs caused by Karl’s sacking from Today co-hosting duties last December will play out in coming weeks as he steps back into that role.
As with any such game, there are not enough chairs for everyone taking part to come out a winner.
Big-name personalities must fall as the search for the right on-air combinations to deliver the ultimate ratings prize continues.
All aboard the morning show merry-go-round! Karl Stefanovic’s (right) return to Today next year alongside Allison Langdon (left) means Channel Nine will look very different in 2020
What happens at Today could see familiar faces turn up on Nine’s lower profile Weekend Today program, as well as its weekend news broadcasts.
Sonia Kruger’s departure from Nine for a return to Channel Seven will leave her chair vacant on Today Extra, which could also be occupied by a Today discard.
Today’s terrible ratings in the important breakfast time slot need to be arrested and the solution appears to be Karl and Allison Langdon replacing Deborah and Georgie.
If all these movements seem confusing, Daily Mail Australia has looked at the breakfast TV landscape and put together each piece of the puzzle.
Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon: Hosting a new-look Today show
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks wants to reinstate Karl at Today in a bid to reverse the show’s ever-sliding ratings, according to a report in Tuesday’s The Australian.
The Nine-owned Sydney Morning Herald confirmed Karl’s return on Friday.
Karl, 45, will take on the role alongside 60 Minutes reporter and Weekend Today host Allison Langdon, which means Today’s current hosts, Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight, will be redeployed elsewhere.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks wants to reinstate Karl (pictured), who was sacked as host of Today in December
Deborah joined Georgie at the helm of Today in January, a month after Karl was axed from the program amid a flurry of negative headlines about his personal life.
The pair has since struggled to gain any traction against Seven’s Sunrise, with the Nine show’s ratings reaching an all-time low of 155,000 on November 1. This was almost half of Sunrise’s 277,000.
In comparison, Today’s ratings hovered around 300,000 throughout 2016 and 2017 when Karl was hosting alongside Lisa Wilkinson with Sylvia Jeffreys reading the news.
‘It just didn’t work out’: TV industry expert Rob McKnight told Daily Mail Australia the decision to cast Deborah Knight (left) and Georgie Gardner (right) was a mistake
Rob McKnight, the former executive producer of Studio 10 and editor of industry website TV Blackbox, said the decision to cast Deborah and Georgie was a mistake.
‘They threw a bunch of people together and it just didn’t work out,’ he said.
As for whom Karl should co-host Today with, McKnight said 40-year-old Allison would be a perfect fit.
Didn’t work out: McKnight believes Karl (left) will be have much better chemistry with Allison Langdon than he did with Georgie (right) last year
‘Chemistry is everything in this game and it was obvious to everyone [Karl’s] partnership with Georgie didn’t work from the get-go,’ he said.
‘Allison Langdon will prove to be a good partner to Karl and will give him a run for his money, but she’ll also work very well with him.’
Georgie Gardner: Moving to Weekend News
An industry insider has told Daily Mail Australia 49-year-old Georgie is likely to be heading back to her old stomping ground at Nine’s Weekend News.
On the move? If Georgie (pictured) gets axed from Today, McKnight believes she will most likely return to her old stomping ground at Nine’s Weekend News
The source also claimed she would be a fill-in for Peter Overton fronting the weekday 6pm bulletin when he is away.
McKnight added: ‘[Georgie] has really proven her worth on weekends and as Peter Overton’s back-up. Together they have become an unstoppable team dominating Sydney ratings.’
Sonia Kruger: Jumping ship to Channel Seven
Georgie was recently rumoured to be replacing Sonia Kruger, 54, on Nine’s second-tier morning show Today Extra next year.
The claims, although denied by a Nine spokesperson, would have meant Sonia was free to explore new job opportunities elsewhere.
On Wednesday Daily Mail Australia revealed Sonia was indeed jumping ship to Seven after being offered an ‘seven-figure deal’ for a three-year contract with the rival network.
See ya! On Wednesday, an insider told Daily Mail Australia that Sonia Kruger (pictured on The Voice) is jumping ship to Seven after being offered a ‘seven-figure deal’ with the network
Her new salary at Seven is believed to be a package worth as much as $4million over three years, or $1.3million per year.
This saw Sonia knock back a ‘substantial’ offer to host Today Extra and The Voice, as well as ‘any other projects as they arise’.
Changing it up? Sonia is leaving Nine in favour of a more lucrative deal with Seven, which will reportedly see her host Big Brother. Pictured with her Today Extra co-star, David Campbell
But it seems she turned down Nine in favour of the more lucrative deal with Seven, which will likely see her host the reboot of Big Brother.
Sonia had previously hosted the reality show on Nine between 2012 and 2014.
Deborah Knight: Staying at Today as a newsreader and joining 2GB radio
When Karl and Allison take over as co-anchors of Today, 46-year-old Deborah won’t be left with an empty schedule.
In addition to her current duties on the breakfast show, she also presents Nine’s 6pm news bulletin on Fridays and Saturdays.
Deborah is believed to become Today’s newsreader, a job once held by Georgie, and get her own radio show on Macquarie Media’s 2GB next year.
Today’s current newsreader is Tom Steinfort.
From host to newsreader: An industry insider told Daily Mail Australia that Deborah Knight (pictured) is set to become Today’s newsreader and get her own 2GB radio show next year
McKnight said: ‘Deb has so many skills she could do absolutely anything, but I’ve heard whispers she is interested in pursuing a radio career.’
‘Now that Nine owns Macquarie radio, it could very well happen.’
Deborah is no stranger to radio, having begun her media career at Wagga Wagga station 2WG before moving to Sydney’s Mix 106.5.
Sylvia Jeffreys: Heading to Today Extra
Sylvia Jeffreys, 33, joined the A Current Affair team after being axed as Today’s newsreader in December 2018.
Shifting places? Meanwhile, Sylvia Jeffreys (pictured) is poised to replace Sonia Kruger on Today Extra alongside David Campbell
In August, she also became the host of Nine News Watch, the network’s first online newscast hosted exclusively on Facebook Watch.
However, an industry source told Daily Mail Australia that Sylvia, who is pregnant with her first child to Karl’s journalist brother Peter, is poised to replace Sonia Kruger on Seven’s Today Extra alongside David Campbell.
Tom Steinfort: Off to Weekend Today
If Georgie and Deborah are axed from Today, it’s likely newsreader Tom Steinfort will face the same fate.
However, McKnight believes the journalist won’t be left without a job.
Will he go too? If Georgie and Deborah are axed from Today, it’s likely newsreader Tom Steinfort (pictured) will move to Weekend Today
‘Tom has a very big future ahead of him and don’t count him out yet. It makes sense that he would be the sports presenter but he could do just about anything,’ he said.
McKnight believes Tom would be best suited to a show ‘where he could really develop his skills’, such as Weekend Today.
Lara Vella: Also joining Weekend Today
Finally, Today weather presenter Lara Vella may be moved to a weekend position during next year’s proposed reshuffle.
McKnight believes Lara ‘makes perfect sense’ as a replacement for Allison Langdon on Weekend Today when the latter is promoted to the weekday edition.
Weekend bound? Finally, weather presenter Lara Vella (pictured) ‘makes perfect sense’ as a replacement for Allison Langdon on Weekend Today