Karl Stefanovic was axed from the Today show on Wednesday, just a day after his brother Peter was dropped by the Nine network.
And now it’s been claimed that Channel Nine are considering a female line-up on the morning program, in a bid to win back female viewers.
The Australian reported on Thursday that current host Georgie Gardner, 48, may co-host the show with either Allison Langdon, 39, or Deborah Knight, 46 – who are all working mums.
Will we see an all-female line-up on the Today show? Claims Georgie Gardner will co-host the morning program with either Allison Langdon and Deborah Knight emerge after Karl Stefanovic was dumped by Nine (Karl and Georgie are pictured R with co-star Richard Wilkins)
Will they take over from Karl? Pictured L is Deborah Knight and R, Allison Langdon
It comes after the US’ Today show on NBC replaced disgraced co-host Matt Lauer with Hoda Kotb earlier this year, which means Hoda now hosts the show alongside veteran journalist Savannah Guthrie.
The Australian reports that Nine are looking to completely change the show next year and booted Karl to ‘blow the whole thing up.’
Nine insiders told the publication that Karl’s axing was a necessity, after his personal life made headlines, including his Bundy Bar at his wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough, which was stocked with Bundaberg Rum.
Following in their footsteps? It comes after the US’ Today show on NBC replaced disgraced co-host Matt Lauer with Hoda Kotb (R) earlier this year, which means Hoda now hosts the show alongside veteran journalist Savannah Guthrie (L)
Double dump! Karl was dropped from the Today show on Wednesday, just a day after his brother Peter Stefanovic (L) was also axed from the Nine network
Awkward! Nine insiders told the publication that Karl’s axing was a necessity, after his personal life made headlines, including his Bundy Bar at his wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough (pictured), which was stocked with Bundaberg Rum
‘It’s the Who Weekly photos of the wedding. It’s the craziness of New Idea running stories about Cassandra Thorburn getting stuck into Georgie Gardner,’ the source said about his ex-wife, Cassandra Thorburn.
‘It’s the whole bushfire, and we need to get it away from the Today show, for better or for worse.’
It’s also claimed that Peter’s wife and Today star Sylvia Jeffreys, as well as fellow Today stars Richard Wilkins and sports presenter Tim Gilbert are having their roles on the show, ‘under review.’
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford meanwhile claimed this week that Sylvia will be replaced by Tracy Vo, a presenter with Nine’s Perth news team.
The entertainment reporter Tweeted: ‘As I reported yesterday there is also a plan to also ‘redeploy’ @SylviaJeffreys and @Tracy_Vo is favourite to move east.’
Newlywed Karl meanwhile, was dumped from the Today show on Wednesday, after months of speculation and almost 14 years in the role.
It came just one day after his younger brother Peter Stefanovic, 37, parted ways with the network ‘to explore new opportunities.’
Is she next to go from Today? It’s also claimed that Peter’s wife and Today star Sylvia Jeffreys (pictured), as well as fellow Today stars Richard Wilkins and sports presenter Tim Gilbert are having their roles on the show, ‘under review’
Familiar face: Entertainment reporter Peter Ford meanwhile claimed this week that Sylvia will be replaced by Tracy Vo (pictured), a presenter with Nine’s Perth news team
‘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,’ Karl said in a statement.
‘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, Darren Wick, Director of News and Current Affairs at Channel Nine, confirmed that Karl would be staying with the network and will continue to host This Time Next Year.
The embattled breakfast star still has 12 months left on his $3 million contract.
Rumours have swirled for months that Karl was set to be axed from the Today show on the back of terrible ratings driven by viewers’ unhappiness at his controversial personal life.
Bad ratings, a divorce, and a new bride
Making headlines: Rumours have swirled for months that Karl was set to be axed from the Today show on the back of terrible ratings driven by viewers’ unhappiness at his controversial personal life
Amid a blaze of negative headlines, Karl’s divorce, his new marriage and his attitude towards colleagues, have tarnished his public image.
As a result, the Today show has nosedived in the ratings, plunging to a 12-year low in recent months.
The start of the program’s downward spiral can be traced back to September 2016, when it emerged Karl had separated from his wife and the mother of his three children, Cassandra Thorburn.
A few months after the split, Karl began dating former-model-turned-shoe-designer Jasmine Yarbrough, 34, who is ten years his junior.
The pair were married during a lavish four-day wedding in Mexico earlier this month.
In the months following his split with Cassandra, market research by Channel Nine reportedly showed that Karl’s popularity with female viewers was plummeting.
Entertainment journalist Peter Ford said last year: ‘The Today show ratings are bad. At the moment they’ve done private market research at Nine into Karl and it’s coming up that women have turned on him.’
Today’s ratings declined steadily after Karl began dating Jasmine in late 2016, hitting that humiliating 12-year low in September this year.
Past and present: Karl split with Cassandra (left) in 2016 after 21 years of marriage, before finding love with shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough (right), who is ten years his junior
The Ubergate scandal
In March, Peter and Karl were embroiled in the now infamous ‘Ubergate’ scandal after their private phone conversation in a taxi was leaked to New Idea magazine.
In the ‘b**chy’ 45-minute conversation, Peter complained about his role on Weekend Today while Karl ‘angrily’ complained about his Today show co-host Georgie Gardner, saying she needed to ‘step up… if she wanted to stay on the [Today] show.’
Georgie was promoted to co-host of the Today show in January following Lisa Wilkinson’s shock exit and defection to Channel Ten in late 2017.
Ubergate: Karl ‘angrily’ complained about his Today show co-host Georgie in a leaked conversation in March, which was dubbed the ‘Ubergate’ scandal
Departure: Georgie was promoted to co-host of the Today show in January following Lisa Wilkinson’s (pictured) shock exit and defection to Channel Ten in late 2017
Karl’s potential replacements
One of the rumoured frontrunner to take Karl’s job is Adelaide newsreader Brenton Ragless, who is currently filling in for his newly-married colleague on Today.
Reports in both The Australian and The Advertiser suggested that Brenton, 42, could end up permanently filling Karl’s spot if ratings don’t improve next year.
‘The Adelaide newsreader is widely perceived at Nine as the very antithesis of the classic, Stefanovic-style network celebrity from Central Casting,’ The Australian reported.
‘Ragless is just what a publicity-weary Nine could be looking for in the crucial breakfast slot.’
Brenton himself has downplayed rumours that he’s angling for Karl’s job, but hinted that he’s open to leaving his post as a local newsreader on Nine News Adelaide for a national presenting role.
‘If it was fitting for the family and right for them, we would certainly consider it,’ he told The Australian, before adding: ‘But we’re not chasing it.’
Rumours of Brenton replacing Karl have been swirling for months, with The Daily Telegraph reporting back in April that the father-of-two is ‘Nine bosses’ preferred choice to replace Stefanovic at Today.’
He has been described as ‘absolutely delightful, funny, warm, engaging and decent’ by network executives.
The next Karl? One of the apparent frontrunner to take Karl’s job is Adelaide newsreader Brenton Ragless (pictured), who is currently filling in for his newly-married colleague on Today
Beloved: The 43-year-old (L) has been described as ‘absolutely delightful, funny, warm, engaging and decent’ by network executives
However, radio star Ben Fordham has also been tipped to take Karl’s job.
The 42-year-old 2GB presenter currently hosts Australian Ninja Warrior and has served as a fill-in host for Karl on Today on many occasions.
However, the father-of-two has repeatedly stated that he has no plans to take over Karl’s role on the Today show.
‘I’m not hosting the Today show next year,’ Ben told The Australian last month.
Ben echoed similar sentiments in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph in October.
He shared: ‘I have no intentions of going back to Today. I had a great time on the show with Karl, Georgie [Gardner, co-host] and the team for many years but won’t be returning any time soon.’
The doting dad added that he had decided to prioritise family time with his journalist wife, Jodie Speers and their two children.
‘I wake up with Jodie, Freddy and Pearl and that will continue for a long, long time,’ he said.
‘I’m not hosting the Today show next year’: Ben Fordham has also been tipped to replace Karl, but the 2GB presenter has said that he decided to prioritise family time with his journalist wife, Jodie Speers and their two children (pictured)
‘I had a great time on the show with Karl, Georgie [Gardner, co-host] and the team for many years but won’t be returning any time soon,’ he said in November
The rise and fall of Karl Stefanovic
1994: After obtaining a journalism degree, Karl begins working for WIN in Rockhampton and Cairns as a cadet reporter
2000: Karl Stefanovic joins Channel Nine as a reporter in Brisbane
2005: He replaces Steve Liebmann as the host of the Today show
2011: His career at Channel Nine peaks when he wins the coveted Gold Logie
2008 – 2012: Karl co-hosts Carols By Candlelight with Lisa Wilkinson
2015: In October, his ‘serious’ panel show The Verdict flops in the ratings
Late 2015: Karl signs multi-million dollar deal with Nine after offer from Seven
2016: Karl apologises for using a transgender slur. Later, his popularity falls when he splits with wife Cassandra Thorburn
Late 2016: Starts dating Jasmine Yarbrough, months after leaving his marriage
February 2017: He is pictured canoodling with Jasmine on a boat, accelerating his dip in popularity
Late 2017: Karl’s brand takes another hit when Lisa Wilkinson quits Today in a gender pay gap scandal
March 2018: Karl and Peter get caught complaining about Channel Nine in Ubergate scandal
September 2018: Nine CEO Hugh Mark’s publicly criticises Karl’s performance
December 8, 2018: Karl marries Jasmine Yarbrough in Mexico
December 19, 2018: He is sacked from the Today show, but remains with Nine