He’s had a horror year as co-host of Channel Nine’s Today show, with industry sources now saying his job is hanging in the balance due to dire ratings and personal unpopularity.
Now it has been claimed that Karl Stefanovic could have made the jump to rival network Channel Seven as far back as 2008.
According to News.com.au, Seven tried to lure Karl three times – with a final offer coming in 2015 that resulted in an intense bidding war between the rival networks.
‘He should’ve taken the offer’: Embattled Today show co-host Karl Stefanovic (pictured) was reportedly offered a role at rival network Channel Seven three times but ‘turned them down’
That war reportedly ended when Nine offered Karl a huge paycheck for him to stay at Today.
Now Industry insiders have said that if Karl had taken one of Seven’s offers, he could be in a much better place professionally than he is today.
‘He should’ve taken the Seven offer. It was a mistake,’ a member of Karl’s inner-circle allegedly told News.com.au. ‘He was sick of (the Today show). He wanted something more.’
Offers made: It has been claimed that Karl could have made the jump to rival network Channel Seven as far back as 2008. Pictured: Channel Seven Sunrise co-hosts Sam Armytage and David Koch
Meanwhile, former Seven boss David Leckie, 67, said: ‘He was clearly absolutely buggered with it (Today) – the early morning call. And he wanted to have something else. If it worked he could’ve made it anything he liked.
‘It was a gamble but we were hardly going to send him poor with our deal.’
Leckie also revealed that Karl visited him at his house with him team of lawyers and had a gentleman’s agreement about him joining Seven when they ‘hugged’ on the matter.
Doggone it: As reported by News.com.au on Tuesday, Seven tried to lure Karl (pictured) three times – with a final offer coming in 2015 that resulted in an intense bidding war between the rival networks
The discussions reportedly revolved around Karl hosting a late night ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ style talk show on Seven, as anchor of a revamped Today Tonight or for a role on Sunday Night.
He was also reportedly considered as the face of the 2016 Rio Olympics coverage.
The report comes after shock claims emerged in The Courier Mail over the weekend that Karl ‘could be sacked from the breakfast TV show due to low ratings’.
Former Seven boss David Leckie said: ‘He was clearly absolutely buggered with it (Today) – the early morning call. And he wanted to have something else. If it worked he could’ve made it anything he liked.’ Pictured: Karl with fiancée Jasmine Yarbrough
Data showed that Today viewers first started switching off in September 2016, the month Karl, 44, was first pictured without his wedding ring after the breakdown of his marriage to Cassandra Thorburn, 47.
The TV presenter and his ex-wife share three children, Jackson, River and Ava.
Karl is currently engaged to 34-year-old shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough.
Audience drop-off: Data showed that Today viewers first started switching off in September 2016, the month Karl, 44, was first pictured without his wedding ring after the breakdown of his marriage to Cassandra Thorburn, 47
The publication reported that despite Karl’s contract at the station, thought to be worth almost $3 million and not expiring until the end of 2020, he is ‘likely to be replaced in the New Year’.
‘Top-level sources at Channel 9’s Willoughby studios said the embattled Today host is officially “gone”,’ the newspaper stated while referencing an alleged insider.
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 rumours 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.
However on Monday, Marks said Karl’s job is safe for now, but everyone on the show – ‘especially Karl’ – needed to regain the trust of the viewers.
‘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. And I have every confidence they will do it,’ Marks told The Australian.