Brenton Ragless looked triumphant as he stepped out in Sydney on Thursday, less than 24 hours after Karl Stefanovic was sacked from the Today show.
The Adelaide newsreader, who has been filling in for Karl over the summer non-ratings period, couldn’t wipe the smile off his face during a coffee run.
Brenton’s happy demeanour could lead industry observers to conclude he had just signed a contract to host Today on a permanent basis.
His smile says it all! Karl Stefanovic’s Today show ‘replacement’ Brenton Ragless appeared to confirm the news with a ‘thumbs up’ on Thursday – as female viewers skyrocket with him in the hosting chair
The father-of-two, 42, gave a friendly ‘thumbs up’ to photographers while making the most of Sydney’s summer weather – just hours before a hailstorm battered the city.
Looking every inch the Australian everyman, he wore a pale blue shirt, shorts and sneakers while taking a leisurely afternoon stroll.
He completed his look with sunglasses and a baseball cap featuring the logo of his local volunteer firefighter brigade.
Just signed a deal, Brenton? The Adelaide newsreader, who has been filling in for Karl over the summer non-ratings period, couldn’t wipe the smile off his face during a coffee run
Brenton has plenty to smile about, after Today’s ratings among female viewers recently spiked by up to 37 per cent compared to Karl’s figures in November.
On Wednesday, the program actually beat Channel Seven’s Sunrise in the female demographic in the all important five-city metro market.
Meanwhile, entertainment journalist Peter Ford reported on the TV Blackbox podcast this week that Brenton has formally accepted an offer to replace Karl.
Ford said: ‘As of the time of recording this podcast, Brenton Ragless is at Nine at the moment. You are clearly there to do something or sign something [late in the afternoon]. He’s got the job, there’s no question about that.
‘Now [it’s a question of] whether he’s just going to continue on, because he’s currently filling in, or whether he’s going to need time to get his act together with his family in Adelaide.’
Great bloke: Looking every inch the Australian everyman, Brenton wore a pale blue shirt, shorts and sneakers while taking a leisurely afternoon stroll
Ladies’ man! Brenton has plenty to smile about, after Today’s ratings among female viewers recently spiked by up to 37 per cent compared to Karl’s figures in November
Brenton may be relatively unfamiliar to Sydney viewers, but he is a household name in Adelaide, where he presents the 6pm news bulletin with Kate Collins.
The former weatherman moved to the Nine News desk in 2014.
Fans of Getaway and Postcards may also recognise Brenton, as he has presented a handful of local segments for both shows over the years.
Prior to joining Nine, Brenton provided commentary on fires and other disasters as a media spokesperson for the SA Country Fire Service, and was a fire and emergencies reporter for ABC Radio.
In the early 1990s he roamed Adelaide by bus as a tour guide, and was an emcee at weddings on Saturday nights.
Moving to the big time! Brenton may be relatively unfamiliar to Sydney viewers, but he is a household name in Adelaide, where he presents the 6pm news bulletin with Kate Collins
From fill-in to permanent host? Brenton is currently presenting Today over the summer non-ratings period alongside veteran broadcaster Deborah Knight
Brenton is currently presenting Today over the summer non-ratings period alongside veteran broadcaster Deborah Knight.
He is apparently enjoying the role, telling The Australian earlier this month: ‘It is a bit more light and shade than the news, and it allows a bit more of the old tour guide Brenton Ragless to come out.’
‘It’s an exposure to a world I’ve never experienced in Adelaide,’ he added.
‘There are 30 people behind the scenes on Today [which] helps me as a presenter. The opportunities to do live, unscripted TV are rare.’
In terms of his personal life, Brenton was born in Blackwood, South Australia, and has been married to his wife Hayley for a decade.
He met Hayley at a film processing lab in Adelaide and they are now parents to sons Edan and James.
A newsman by day, Brenton is also an avid swimmer, cyclist and volunteer firefighter.
Will this man save Today? Karl Stefanovic was blamed for Today’s falling ratings – particularly among women – and Channel Nine executives are hoping Brenton will change all that
Family man: Among Nine executives, Brenton is well-liked and considered a good candidate for the Today show due to his ‘family man’ public image and affable demeanour
He followed in the footsteps of his father, who was a firefighter in the catastrophic Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia in 1983.
Among Nine executives, Brenton is well-liked and considered a good candidate for the Today show due to his ‘family man’ public image and affable demeanour.
Today’s ratings began a steep decline in 2016, after Karl Stefanovic left his wife-of-21-years Cassandra Thorburn and began dating a younger woman – fashion designer Jasmine Yarbrough – later that year.
Female viewers in particular, turned off by Karl’s controversial personal life, abandoned the program in their thousands.
Audience figures plunged to a 12-year low in September, and it’s understood network bosses finally decided to axe Karl this week after his ‘over-the-top’ wedding to Jasmine in Mexico on December 8.
Damaged goods: Karl Stefanovic (pictured) was sacked from the Today show on Wednesday after his controversial personal life was blamed for plummeting ratings
In an official network statement announcing his departure from Today on Wednesday, Karl said: ‘For the last 14 years I’ve co-hosted the best show on television. I can’t thank Nine enough for the opportunity.
‘I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be good enough to host this grand show for so long.
‘Thanks to our viewers mostly, you are what matters most. It’s been a tough time. Thanks for hanging in there. I look forward to seeing you in another capacity at this great network soon.’
Meanwhile, it is rumoured the fallen breakfast TV star could be redeployed as Nine’s U.S. correspondent, where he would serve out the remainder of his $3million contract.
Bad move, Karl: It comes after Nine sources claimed earlier this week that executives were ‘horrified’ by the coverage of Karl’s extravagant wedding in Los Cabos on December 8
It comes after Nine sources claimed earlier this week that executives were ‘horrified’ by the coverage of Karl’s extravagant wedding in Los Cabos.
Senior management figures were particularly outraged by the fact ‘exclusive’ photos from the ceremony had been supplied to Who magazine.
While it’s understood there was no paid deal with the publication, higher-ups were upset that a rival outlet had been prioritised over Nine.
Karl’s departure came just a day after his younger brother Peter Stefanovic was dropped from the network altogether on Tuesday.
It is rumoured the decision not to renew Peter’s contract was a ‘cost-cutting’ measure, but it has also been speculated his exit was ‘retribution’ for the Ubergate scandal.
There are reportedly more staff changes in the pipeline, too, with Richard Wilkins apparently being demoted to Today Extra and newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys being relegated to the role of weather girl.
Sacked: Karl’s departure came just a day after his younger brother Peter Stefanovic (right) was dropped from the network altogether on Tuesday