With his personal life dragged through the media one too many times, Karl Stefanovic was given the axe from the Today show, which he had anchored for 14 years.
Back in December, when he married his shoe designer girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough in a wildly lavish ceremony in Mexico which became the subject of intense ridicule, it seemed Stefanovic would never return to the highs of his morning television heydays.
But the 44-year-old appears to have managed the beginnings of a total rebrand after attending the Logies last Sunday in high spirits, despite being the butt of all the jokes.
Sitting on the Nine Network’s main table in prime position at the awards at The Star Gold Coast, Stefanovic has managed to come a long way in a short amount of time.
Veteran entertainment reporter Andrew Hornery, who writes for the Sydney Morning Herald, claimed his “resurrection” was nothing short of “a miracle”.
“It truly was a miracle given he had lost his plum gig co-hosting Today after 14 years because his bosses at Nine were completely underwhelmed by all the bad press he was generating,” Hornery wrote in his Private Sydney column.
“After six months off the airwaves, Stefanovic is back and apparently his bosses couldn’t be happier.
“And chatter is rife we could soon see him return to a plum gig on the Nine Network.”
It is already known that Stefanovic is returning with his own show, This Time Next Year, which will premiere later in the year, and that he has shot several stories for 60 Minutes. As to what Hornery speculates the other gig will be is not yet known.
Stefanovic is still costing the network a lot of money and has over a year left on his contract, so it would make sense to find a juicy new role for him.
Rumours he could make a return to Today have been squashed, but it certainly seems as though Channel 9 bosses have softened toward Stefanovic. PS revealed CEO Hugh Marks hugged Stefanovic after the Logies.
It comes after Stefanovic — who split from his wife of 21 years Cassandra Thorburn in 2016 — spoke candidly at a post-Logies brunch on the Gold Coast, revealing he had been struggling when Nine decided to give him the flick.
“It was good to be back (at the Logies). It’s been about six months since I was on the telly, and I needed to have a rest. Towards the end of last year, I was cooked,” Stefanovic said.
“It had taken its toll, a lot of the attention — all the unwarranted attention I thought, and you can’t control any of that, I’m not going to complain too much about that, but what it meant was that in a work capacity I don’t believe for a second I was at my best.
“I think I was struggling towards the end of last year.”
It’s been a woeful year for the Today show in terms of ratings, after Deborah Knight replaced Stefanovic to host alongside Georgie Gardner.
The gap between Channel 7’s Sunrise and Today, which has always been relatively tight, has widened significantly this year.
In a shocking blow, ABC News Breakfast edged out Today in April this year for the first time ever in the all important metro ratings.
Numbers dropped to a substantial low in February, only one month after Today rolled out its new look panel, with only 168,000 metro viewers, a 10 year ratings low for the show.
Today’s mass exodus of talent began with executive producer Mark Calvert stepping down in early December after five years in the role, amid rumours of “tension” with Stefanovic.
Stefanovic was the next to go, with Nine delivering the news of his sacking while he was still on his honeymoon.
The new Today Show suffered its lowest ratings in 13 years after Channel 9 axed Karl Stefanovic from the panel
The shock move came after months of mounting pressure, following the Stefanovic brothers Ubergate scandal, in which both Peter and Karl were reportedly recorded having a secret phone conversation trashing Channel 9.
Then of course there was Stefanovic’s high profile split with Thorburn and subsequent marriage to Yarbrough.
Richard Wilkins stepped back to make way for new entertainment reporter Brooke Boney, Tom Steinfort was announced to take over newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys’ role, and sports presenter Tim Gilbert was dumped, replaced by Melbourne sports journalist Tony Jones.
Peter Stefanovic was dumped from Channel 9 altogether and has since joined Sky News.