Karl Stefanovic to leave Today show, Nine says
High-profile breakfast television host Karl Stefanovic will not return to the Today Show, Nine has confirmed, amid weeks of speculation about the anchor’s future on the program.
“Nine and Karl Stefanovic have agreed it is time for him to step off the Today Show,” Darren Wick, director of news and current affairs at Nine, said in a statement.
“Karl remains on contract with the network and will continue to host This Time Next Year, which records in February.”
A spokesperson for Nine would not say why the decision was made to remove Stefanovic from hosting duties, or how the star, who is currently on his honeymoon in the United States following his recent marriage to shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough, was told of the news.
Stefanovic, one of the highest-profile figures in Australian television and a Gold Logie winner in 2011, has been a Today Show co-host for more than a decade, most recently alongside Georgie Gardner.
Stefanovic says ‘it’s been a tough time’
The past few months have seen Stefanovic’s personal life become tabloid fodder in the lead-up to his wedding last week to Yarbrough, while the show’s position in the market has suffered.
“Ratings for Today have been trailing [Seven Network’s] Sunrise across the year and even, on occasion, hit 12-year lows,” said David Knox of the website TV Tonight, which covers the industry and collates ratings.
Mr Knox said Stefanovic excelled at the juggling act of breakfast television, able to switch from serious news to light-hearted fare, but that the endless headlines about his personal life meant “he had become a liability for Today”.
Stefanovic, in a statement released by Nine on Wednesday, called Today “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.”
The development comes a day after the news Stefanovic’s brother, former Nine foreign correspondent Peter Stefanovic, would not continue his role as a Weekend Today host and would be leaving the network after 15 years.