Why Gardner ‘demanded’ not to work with Karl
Karl Stefanovic appeared to not have a care in the world as he enjoyed his honeymoon yesterday despite news emerging his Today Show co-host Georgie Gardner was instrumental in his knifing.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Gardner met with Nine bosses to demand Stefanovic, and his supporters, be given the boot after a year of horror headlines and plummeting ratings.
"Georgie simply demanded she won't work with Karl anymore," a Channel 9 executive told the Telegraph.
"She hates Karl and has done for a long time. They didn't like each other before she joined the show. Then the Uber thing tipped it over the edge. And then the wedding, she didn't go when she was invited. You'd think your co-host would support you by being there but Georgie can't stand Karl and has been waiting for this moment for a long time."
When contacted yesterday, a Nine spokesperson said: "This claim is utter garbage. The decision was made solely by management."
Gardner was announced as Lisa Wilkinson's replacement on Today last November, conceding at the time she and Stefanovic had a troubled relationship in the past.
In March, it was revealed Stefanovic and younger brother and Weekend Today host Peter had been overheard by an Uber driver venting about Gardner and other Today colleagues.
This week Stefanovic's ex wife Cass Thorburn claimed Gardner was paid off for her silence over the Uber situation.
The series of ugly events were the beginning of the end for Gardner, said the source.
Peter Stefanovic departed the network on Tuesday while Nine announced his brother was being moved from Today on Wednesday.
Other insiders at Nine though say Gardner is also not safe, nor are any of her colleagues with a major shake-up of Today underway.
Entertainment veteran Richard Wilkins and sport reporter Tim Gilbert are also said to be facing the chop while Nine issued a statement saying news reader Sylvia Jeffreys would continue.
"Georgie is now regretting that she left her old role to go to the Today show and she blames Karl for the whole mess," another source said. "It is very ugly."
One commentator noted that Nine will totally revamp the tired breakfast format after years of playing second fiddle to Seven's market leading Sunrise, scotching suggestions fill in host Brenton Ragless would replace Stefanovic.
"Why just get another bloke to come in to replace Karl and some other team to have the same structure as Today has for 40 years?" the commentator said.
"Why would they have the same structure as Sunrise and get beaten again and again when they can start from scratch with a whole new format?"
Stefanovic meanwhile spent yesterday in the Aspen snow with new wife Jasmine Yarbrough before boarding a flight to Los Angeles, from where they will head home to Sydney.
What will be awaiting Stefanovic when he returns remains to be seen.
Nine on Wednesday said the former Gold Logie winner would remain with the network and will continue at the helm of his series, This Time Next Year.
It has also been suggested Stefanovic will take up a new role with Nine as its United States correspondent.
He has a year left on his $3 million contract, although some have speculated he might jump ship to another network. But both Seven and Ten say their interest is minimal to non-existent.
"We are very happy with our current news and current affairs team," a Ten spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph.
"Obviously Karl is no longer available for The Bachelor, but if he wants to go to the jungle, put on his dancing shoes or strap on a MasterChef apron, he knows where to find us."
A source at Channel 7 agreed. Stefanovic is expected home from his American honeymoon in the coming days.
"Karl lacks the excitement that he once had," the Seven executive said. "Viewers have turned on him, and it will take a lot more than wearing the same suit for a year - if he did that - to bring people around."
The insider continued, offering some hope for Stefanovic: "Let's see how he is going in six months time once things settle down. He's on contract for another 12 months, which would perhaps give him time to come back to earth."