Karl Stefanovic’s boss has issued a warning to the Today show team in the wake of rumours its host is about to be replaced.
Channel Nine chief executive Hugh Marks spoke publicly on Sunday afternoon, saying Stefanovic’s job is safe for now, but the show needs to lift its game.
‘Clearly, it’s been a tough and challenging year for Karl and Today,’ Marks said.
Karl Stefanovic’s boss has thrown his support behind embattled Today show host Karl Stefanovic (left), but says the entire team needs to lift its game
‘No doubt the constant publicity surrounding issues with his personal life have had an impact on Karl, his colleagues and on the show. We can’t hide from that,’ Marks said.
‘And as a result we know there’s a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience.’
It was earlier claimed that he is set to be ‘axed from the Today show’ in a matter of days and will be ‘replaced in the New Year.’
The reports of a change in host come as the Today show loses its battle in the ratings to rival breakfast program, Seven’s Sunrise.
Stefanovic is currently contracted until the end of 2020, but the Courier Mail reported on Sunday he could be replaced by early 2019.
‘Top-level sources at Channel 9’s Willoughby studios say the embattled Today host is officially ‘gone’,’ the newspaper stated while referencing an alleged insider.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks (pictured) says he backs Stefanovic to win back the Today show’s dwindling audience
The show’s ratings began diving when Stefanovic quickly moved on from estranged wife Cassandra Thorburn and became engaged to 34-year-old Jasmine Yarbrough (left)
Speaking on the rumours, Marks said he would back Stefanovic and co-host Georgie Gardner to recover their dwindling audience.
‘We stick by our people at Nine and we’ve put the challenge on the Today show producers, the presenters and, especially, on Karl to regain the trust and loyalty of our audience,’ he told The Australian.
‘And I have every confidence they will do it.’
Stefanovic also broke his silence on Sunday night, posting a heartfelt message to Instagram.
In the post, the 44-year-old praised his fiancée Jasmine Yarbrough, 34, and his family and friends and said they’re ‘all that matter’.
‘It’s all that matters really’: Karl Stefanovic breaks his silence and thanks his family and fiancée Jasmine Yarbrough following reports he will be ‘axed from the Today show’. Pictured L-R: Peter Stefanovic, Jasmine Yarbrough, Karl Stefanovic and Chris Waller
He shared a photo which showed him clutching a beer bottle and posing alongside Jasmine, brother Peter Stefanovic and friend Chris Waller.
‘I’m incredibly grateful for the family and friends I have in this world. It’s all that matters really. I’m so proud of them,’ he wrote.
He did not directly address rumours that he is facing the axe at Channel Nine.
Concerned followers asked for clarity on his future at Today, however their questions went unanswered in the comments section of the post.
‘The Today show just can’t function the same without you Karl,’ one fan wrote.
Channel Nine sources say Karl is officially ‘gone’ amid the latest ratings disaster and will be ‘replaced in the New Year’ … but the show’s executive producer insists he’s a ‘bloody great broadcaster’ and is staying
‘Top-level sources at Channel 9’s Willoughby studios say the embattled Today host is officially ‘gone”, The Courier Mail reported on Sunday. This is despite Karl’s contract, thought to be worth $3 million, not expiring until the end of 2020
It is claimed that Today Extra host David Campbell, 45, is ‘top of the list’ of possible replacements for Karl.
The Courier Mail also claimed that Today executive producer Mark Calvert could also face the chop as part of an ‘engine room makeover’.
The article reported that Nine chief Hugh Marks is ‘tipped’ to ‘make a move on Karl this week’ – with the sacking allegedly having been discussed for several weeks.
The publication also claimed that Today executive producer Mark Calvert could also face the chop as part of an ‘engine room makeover’ (Pictured: Karl with current Today co-host Georgie Gardner)
It is believed the decision has come in the wake of Today’s ratings dive – and that Karl’s controversial personal life has been a leading factor in the audience drop off.
The star’s popularity first suffered following the breakdown of his 21 year marriage to Cassandra Thorburn, 47, in 2016.
It wasn’t helped as he quickly moved on and became engaged to new girlfriend, 34-year-old Jasmine Yarbrough.
It is believed the decision has come in the wake of Today’s ratings dive – and that Karl’s controversial personal life has been a leading factor in the audience drop off. Pictured: Karl with estranged wife Cassandra Thorburn, 47 (pictured in 2012)
Media experts say Stefanovic’s public image was discredited when he quickly became engaged to new girlfriend, Jasmine Yarbrough (pictured)
Data showed that Today viewers first started switching off in September 2016, the month Karl was first pictured without his wedding ring.
Since then ratings have been mostly declining, with Today reportedly seeing their ‘worst figures in 12 years’ recently.
Media analyst Steve Allen told the publication that the show’s popularity has dived, especially among women, as they ‘basically now think [Karl] is an a***hole’.
It is claimed that Today Extra host David Campbell (pictured) is ‘top of the list’ of possible replacements for Karl
However, all may not be over for Karl just yet.
Despite the newspaper’s sensational claims, executive producer Mark Calvert is standing by the controversial presenter.
He refuted the claims that Karl’s career is on a knife edge, describing him as a ‘bloody great broadcaster’, while stating, ‘we are the first to acknowledge our ratings are not as good right now as we would like.’
Karl’s manager is also said to have denied the accusations to the newspaper that Karl would soon be losing his job on Today.
The Today show’s average viewership has fallen more than 15 per cent in the first 34 weeks of the year, with about 240,000 viewers tuning in from metropolitan areas.
Sunrise has fared slightly better, pulling in about 266,000 viewers.
Though Marks pointed out that the Today show actually performed better in the three biggest markets, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Today and Karl’s rep for comment.