Karl Stefanovic in June this year. Picture: David Swift.
Karl Stefanovic in June this year. Picture: David Swift.

Where it all went wrong for Karl

HE was Nine's golden boy, who is said to be taking home a pay packet worth more than $2 million.

Now Karl Stefanovic, 44, is making headlines again as The Today Show continues to suffer a historic ratings slide against its Channel 7 rival, Sunrise.

Nine's CEO Hugh Marks has broken his silence, saying Stefanovic's private relationship drama had taken its toll. Reports from top-level sources say he is set to be sacked.

He has also challenged the embattled breakfast TV program to lift its game.

Stefanovic's time at Nine has seen him win a Gold Logie and take The Today Show to a ratings high with former co-host Lisa Wilkinson.

But since her stunning exit, his ongoing on-air tension with her placement, Georgie Gardner, appears to have done little to improve their performance in the ratings stakes.

This is how the Today Show has gone from one nightmare to the next:

KARL'S MARRIAGE OVER

SEPTEMBER 20, 2016: Karl pulls out of hosting duties on the Today Show amid reports that he and his wife Cassandra had split after 21 years of marriage. At the time, his co-host Lisa Wilkinson and Sylvia Jeffreys briefly referenced his absence at the top of the show, with Lisa claiming he was off doing "a 60 Minutes tidy up".

OCTOBER 2016: Karl's marriage to Cassandra ends after he moves out of the family home.

When the couple announced their split they also immediately put their Lindfield property in Sydney on the market while Stefanovic moved out to stay at his close friend James Packer's Bondi apartment. After less than two weeks on the market, the family home sold for $3.8 million.

TV personality Karl Stefanovic and his wife Cassandra Thorburn arrive on the red carpet ahead of the 2011 Logie Awards. Picture: Getty
TV personality Karl Stefanovic and his wife Cassandra Thorburn arrive on the red carpet ahead of the 2011 Logie Awards. Picture: Getty

NOVEMBER 2016: Nine news boss Darren Wick confirmed Karl was being rested over summer, to allow for him to deal with his family issues. "Previously what we've done with Karl is that he has often shot 60 Minutes stories over the summer," Wick said.

"We don't want him doing that this year - just have a break. Obviously what he's working through with his family situation … he needs to have a break and just rest and spend time with his family. He's going to do that and come back fresh next year."

KARL MEETS HIS NEW LOVE INTEREST

DECEMBER/JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016/2017: Karl goes on a two-month sabbatical. During this time, he and his new girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough appear to be together on social media and celebrate Christmas as a couple. The pair met after he left his ex-wife Cassandra.

Karl Stefanovic with girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough on Sydney Harbour in February 2017. Picture: Adam Taylor
Karl Stefanovic with girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough on Sydney Harbour in February 2017. Picture: Adam Taylor

A RATINGS SLIDE

FEBRUARY 5, 2017: A week into his return from a two-month sabbatical, The Today Show found itself soundly beaten by Sunrise every single day last week across the five-city metro ratings figures. The Daily Telegraph reported that the biggest disparity came on Monday, with Sunrise out-rating Today by 95,000 sets of eyeballs (Sunrise drew 337,000 viewers to Today's 243,000).

APRIL 10, 2017: Karl's best mate and temporary Today show replacement Ben Fordham defended him, "because his family is going through a tough time." Fordham had to clarify why he was sitting in for Stefanovic, after he told his Instagram followers Karl was taking a "well earned break" - only for Lisa Wilkinson to then tell viewers her co-host was "on assignment."

MAY 7, 2017: Karl and Cassandra reportedly finalise their divorce.

Lisa Wilkinson with Ben Fordham celebrating 10 years on Today Show in May 2017. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Lisa Wilkinson with Ben Fordham celebrating 10 years on Today Show in May 2017. Picture: Stephen Cooper

KARL REVEALS PRIVATE BATTLE

JULY 23, 2017: In an interview with Stellar magazine, Karl Stefanovic revealed he's felt ashamed and that he had failed. But he hoped he would become a better man after his marriage breakdown and his new romance with Jasmine Yarbrough. He said he had "been through some personal stuff that's been difficult on everyone in my family".

"That has been the hardest aspect: the increased public interest, or coverage, makes it more intense to navigate through. But it isn't a world event, it's not a national event, it's not a community event. I don't know where to place it. It confuses the hell out of me."

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough at the David Jones Spring Summer 2017 Collections Launch in Sydney in August 2017. Picture: Christian Gilles
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough at the David Jones Spring Summer 2017 Collections Launch in Sydney in August 2017. Picture: Christian Gilles
The dream run ended for Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson in 2017. Picture: Getty
The dream run ended for Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson in 2017. Picture: Getty

LISA LEAVES KARL IN STUNNING EXIT

OCTOBER 16-17, 2017: Karl's long-time co-host Lisa Wilkinson quits The Today Show after 10 years, as they refuse to pay her the same amount as Karl which was reported to be $2 million. She then joined Ten and The Project with a pay packet reported to be worth in excess of $2 million. On air, Karl told viewers: "It all came as a bit of a shock to us".

OCTOBER 21, 2017: The Daily Telegraph reports that a network insider has revealed that Karl is ready to move on after more than a decade at the helm of Today. "Karl has been begging to get off there forever and surprise, surprise, the joint has imploded because they never listened to this bloke," a network executive told the publication.

"They haven't let him off and he's been like a hostage."

Karl Stefanovic leaving the Channel 9 Studio after co-host Lisa Wilkinson quit the show. Picture: Danny Aarons
Karl Stefanovic leaving the Channel 9 Studio after co-host Lisa Wilkinson quit the show. Picture: Danny Aarons

KARL'S EX-WIFE BREAKS SILENCE

OCTOBER 23, 2017: Karl's ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn opened up about the "dark days" she experienced following their split. She told Woman's Day magazine she grieved the end of her relationship and that Stefanovic, 43, is now "dead" to her. "I realised I was going through stages of grief, and to me it was like someone had died," she told the magazine. "The children still have a father but I don't have a husband. He really is dead to me and no, we won't ever be friends again."

Cassandra Thorburn wife of Karl Stefanovic. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Cassandra Thorburn wife of Karl Stefanovic. Picture: Jonathan Ng

A NEW, SLIGHTLY AWKWARD CO-HOST

NOVEMBER 23, 2017: Georgie Gardner is announced as Lisa Wilkinson's replacement on the Today Show. Gardner held her new co-host's shoulder and said: "Nothing's changed. Are you still predictably unpredictable?" Gardner told Karl that she respected him as she took on the role. "Jokes aside you know how much respect I have for you. There's been interesting, a bit of conjecture over the last few weeks about how much we feel about each other," she said.

"We've had our bumps, we've had our laughs, it is a very open and honest relationship. It is robust. Strap yourselves in everyone because anything could happen. It is going to be great, I hope."

JANUARY 10, 2018: Nine reveals that Peter Stefanovic and Allison Langdon are the new hosts of Weekend Today. Peter told Nine.com.au that he still calls his brother for advice.

"He's a great mentor for me, Karl, he tells me things to work on or things I can do better or things that might not be working or how to move to different levels. He's a good brother and a good man …" he said.

Today group shot: Sylvia Jeffreys, Richard Wilkins, Georgie Gardner, Karl Stefanovic, Tim Gilbert and Natalia Cooper. Picture: Supplied
Today group shot: Sylvia Jeffreys, Richard Wilkins, Georgie Gardner, Karl Stefanovic, Tim Gilbert and Natalia Cooper. Picture: Supplied

JANUARY 23-24, 2018: Karl and Gardner failed to take advantage of its novelty factor on their first day on air together - with Seven's Sunrise winning both five-city and national ratings on January 23. They were beaten by market leaders, Sam Armytage and David Koch, who won the national battle 480,000 viewers to Today's 378,000 people. While the ratings took a hit, they steadied in 2017.

Georgie Gardner at her first day back at work with co-host Karl Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys. Picture: Instagram
Georgie Gardner at her first day back at work with co-host Karl Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys. Picture: Instagram

JANUARY 27, 2018: Karl and Jasmine celebrate her 34th birthday in style.

Karl Stefanovic and his partner Jasmine Yarbrough celebrate her 34th birthday. Picture Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and his partner Jasmine Yarbrough celebrate her 34th birthday. Picture Instagram

GEORGIE ADMITS THEY'RE NOT BESTIES

FEBRUARY 18: Gardner appears in a Stellar magazine interview where she addresses the talk of her having good chemistry with Karl. "Good chemistry doesn't necessarily equate to being best friends," Gardner says. "Good chemistry, to me, is interaction and respect and knowing when to let one shine [or] pull back. Drawing out people's strength, having their back. Making each other laugh, finding the humour. Relationships by their very nature are often complex, and when it's in those hosting chairs on national TV, you're exposed. But that's interesting."

The Logies 2018 Picture: Karl Stefanovic, and Georgie Gardener. Picture: Supplied
The Logies 2018 Picture: Karl Stefanovic, and Georgie Gardener. Picture: Supplied

KARL AND JASMINE GET ENGAGED

FEBRUARY 6 2018: Karl and Jasmine get engaged after meeting in 2016. The pair went public with their engagement after she flashed her enormous ring at the Harper's Bazaar Australia's 20th anniversary party in Sydney. The Daily Telegraph later confirmed the high profile couple were engaged, according to a friend who spilt the news. "They are very happy and enjoying this special time together," they friend said, adding that the proposal was "very new".

MARCH 10-11, 2018: Karl and Jasmine held a commitment ceremony in Palm Beach. While not legally binding, it was held at a private house. He told The Sunday Telegraph afterwards: "We are very much in love. We clicked right from the start. It's a commitment ceremony. It was lovely." Among the guests were Stefanovic's youngest children Ava, 13, and River, 11, who were surprised by the ceremony. Karl's eldest son Jackson, 18, did not attend. His brother Peter and wife Syvlia Jeffreys also attended the event.

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarborough got engaged this year. Picture: Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarborough got engaged this year. Picture: Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough relaxing together. Picture: Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough relaxing together. Picture: Instagram

KARL AND PETE'S UBERGATE SCANDAL ERUPTS

MARCH 11, 2018: News emerged that a taxi driver was trying to sell a recording of a private phone conversation between brothers Karl and Peter Stefanovic, according to veteran Australian entertainment reporter Peter Ford. Ford made the allegations on the Kyle and Jackie O Show, after teasing the story on Twitter. He told the radio hosts the private phone call happened when Peter was in the back of an Uber late at night, speaking to his brother and fellow Nine Network celebrity Karl on speakerphone. Karl was said to have been discussing ongoing problems about his working relationship with Gardner, his new co-anchor.

MARCH 12, 2018: More details came to light about the nature of the phone conversation, as inside sources claimed to The Daily Telegraph that Nine's senior management held extraordinary talks with executives in an attempt to manage the mounting crisis.

Nine News and Current Affairs boss Darren Wick, the executive producer of Today Mark Calvert and executive producer of 60 Minutes Kirsty Thomson were said to have been notified by executives to prepare themselves as they allegedly were named by the Stefanovic siblings in the conversation.

Karl Stefanovic and brother Peter Stefanovic. Picture: Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and brother Peter Stefanovic. Picture: Instagram

MARCH 14, 2018: A Nine spokeswoman said the siblings would not be made to offer a formal apology to Georgie Gardner, and also denied the Network had bought the 'secret tape'.

"We have not bought it," Nine publicity boss Victoria Buchan said. She further denied whispers Wick and Calvert were seen exchanging heated words in Calvert's office earlier in the week.

MARCH 16: 2018: Entertainment reporter Peter Ford claimed on an on-air segment on 3AW that New Idea would run explosive details in their upcoming Monday issue. However, he said there was no secret tape as previously reported, and that the reports of a scandalous discussion between Karl and Peter were just memorised by the anonymous Uber driver. "New Idea have got the Stefanovic tapes - now, what they're saying in the story is there are no tapes. The driver in the car says he's remembered all the details of the conversation. He must have an extraordinary memory," Ford said.

MARCH 17: 2018: Both brothers broke their silence and publicly apologised in an interview with News Corp's Sunday Telegraph. "We talk a hundred times a day and hardly ever about work," Karl said. "But we did, and the conversation was recorded. And we are sorry. I was angry with myself at first that I could be so stupid." Peter also apologised for the conversation. A spokesman for Nine said: "Clearly it was school behaviour between brothers but that's no excuse."

Karl Stefanovic and brother Peter Stefanovic. Picture: Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and brother Peter Stefanovic. Picture: Instagram

MARCH 19, 2018: Details of the widely talked about phone call finally emerged as Nine sent Peter Stefanovic out to cover the bushfires for the Today show. Sylvia Jeffreys was also not in her usual newsreader chair. In the Uber call, Karl reportedly declared Gardner needed to "step up" if she "wanted to stay on the show."

And viewers tuning in to Today witnessed first signs of tension between the anchors, with a number of awkward moments. Gardner snapped, saying on live TV: "Well, that's right. That's coming up, don't you worry about that," after Channel 9 newsreader Deborah Knight suggested: "You've got to face your fears, Karl."

"Well, it's probably about now I should call you pathetic," Gardner told Karl.

Karl reportedly also went into detail on the phone call about what was wrong with 60 Minutes - which he claimed was suffering poor ratings - before pointing out that Nine bosses "didn't know anything and … are out of touch." During the trip, Peter, who was with his wife Sylvia, said he "hated his job", according to the driver, and Karl told him to demand $60,000 and "not to take no for an answer." Jessica Rowe later blasted Karl, as she defended Gardner against the Stefanovic brothers.

NINE IN DAMAGE CONTROL

MARCH 20, 2018: Karl appears on Today with Deborah Knight. Georgie is sent out to cover the bushfires at Tathra in NSW. He removal from the desk at Nine's Sydney HQ comes after she called out Karl for being "pathetic" yesterday. Knight's appearance on the Today Show comes after she revealed she had hopes of getting Wilkinson's job after she left. Karl's brother Peter, who was involved in the controversial Uber phone call is still out reporting from the bushfires in Bega, NSW.

Deborah Knight and Karl Stefanovic have been on-air together a few times this year. Picture: Kylie Else
Deborah Knight and Karl Stefanovic have been on-air together a few times this year. Picture: Kylie Else

KARL GOES M.I.A AGAIN

MAY, 2018: As Karl went on a week's leave stand-in host Ben Fordham came back to sit by Georgie's side. Fordham announced via Instagram: "I'm hosting @TheTodayShow this week with this awesome human. Tune in." with a picture of himself and Georgie Gardner.

KARL GETS ROASTED AT THE LOGIES

JULY 1, 2018: Logies host Dave Hughes has a crack at Karl in his opening monologue.

"You shouldn't have been bitching about your work colleagues. You shouldn't have," he said.

"I'm sure Georgie is very happy, isn't she there. Still on the fence Georgie or did you take a pale off it and hit him in the head with it?" Hughesy went on, referencing when Stefanovic accused his colleague of "sitting on the fence".

Karl Stefanovic during Dave Hughes monologue. Picture: Channel 9
Karl Stefanovic during Dave Hughes monologue. Picture: Channel 9
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough’s love remains strong. Picture: Instagram
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough’s love remains strong. Picture: Instagram

KARL AND GEORGIE ADMIT TO FRICTION

JULY, 2018: The Today Show co-hosts were guests on the Hit Network's Hughesy & Kate show and were grilled about their relationship.

"There's a fraction of friction between you two," Kate Langbroek said to them.

"A fraction too much friction," replied Gardner.

"Is there too much?" asked Langbroek.

"Occasionally," Gardner admitted.

KARL'S WEDDING LOCKED IN

AUGUST 26, 2018: Karl and Jasmine's wedding details emerge - and reports that his son Jackson will not be attending the big event. His two youngest children Ava, 13, and River, 11, are set fly to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for the December 8 nuptials.

But Confidential revealed that Stefanovic's 18-year-old son, who is currently travelling around Europe, has chosen to miss the ceremony.

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough at the Logies. Picture: Instagram/@elliotgarnaut
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough at the Logies. Picture: Instagram/@elliotgarnaut

KARL HIT WITH HEALTH BATTLE

AUGUST 28, 2018: Karl was forced to take leave from his hosting duties after being diagnosed with pneumonia. But after copping public criticism he returned to sit next to Deborah Knight again after Georgie Gardner had also taken leave to get over a mystery illness.

"Look, I wanted to spread that love!" he quipped, adding that pneumonia was spreading "like the black lung" on set.

"It is very sharing and caring of you," Deborah teased back.

Karl Stefanovic was criticised while he was off on sick leave. Picture: Supplied.
Karl Stefanovic was criticised while he was off on sick leave. Picture: Supplied.

TODAY'S RATINGS PLUMMET IN NEW LOW

SEPTEMBER 19, 2018: The Today show sunk to its lowest ratings mark in more than a decade, continuing the breakfast program's embattled year.

Overnight figures in the breakfast TV wars show Seven's Sunrise averaging 268,000 people across the five-city metropolitan markets, while Channel 9's Today plunged to 199,000 viewers - a shock drop under the critical 200,000 mark.

The gap between the shows was even more pronounced when regional figures were factored in, with Sunrise pulling an audience of 445,000 people nationally to Today's 320,000 viewers. The last time Today sunk so low was in 2006 when it drew just 187,000 viewers. Sunrise has already claimed this year in weekly wins, after notching up 21 weekly wins over Today in July.

Today Show co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Georgie Gardner. Picture Julie Kiriacoudis
Today Show co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Georgie Gardner. Picture Julie Kiriacoudis

KARL WILL BE SACKED: REPORTS

SEPTEMBER 23, 2018: Top-level sources at Nine say Karl is officially "gone" and likely to be replaced in the new year.

Media analyst Steve Allen told Sunday Confidential that Karl's antics have cost Today many female viewers who, as Allen bluntly puts it: "basically now think he is an arsehole". Stefanovic's manager Sharon Finnigan denied he was a goner and would not comment.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks has spoken about karl for the first time. Picture: Supplied
Nine CEO Hugh Marks has spoken about karl for the first time. Picture: Supplied

NINE CEO'S ADMISSION ABOUT KARL

SEPTEMBER 24, 2018: Nine's chief executive Hugh Marks revealed to The Australian's Media section that Karl Stefanovic's ongoing negative publicity had taken its toll.

He also challenged Today to lift its game as the ratings had sunk to a new low.

"Clearly, it's been a tough and challenging year for Karl and Today," Marks told Media.

"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. And as a result we know there's a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience."



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