While the network went into a publicity frenzy, trying to dampen the effects of the leaked conversation its star presenter had with brother Peter Stefanovic on loudspeaker in an Uber, the host’s candid confessions are still echoing through the halls at Willoughby.
News.com.au understands Stefanovic has spent some time doing the rounds of the network, apologising to staff — including those on the 60 Minutes team — over parts of the speakerphone chat. In the Uber conversation, it’s reported Stefanovic slammed Nine’s flagship current affairs show — saying it has “lost relevance and lost viewers” before claiming Nine bosses “didn’t know anything and ... are out of touch”.
But it seems an apology might not be enough for 60 Minutes boss Kirsty Thomson. The Daily Telegraph reports the executive producer is furious at the slap down and has shelved several of Stefanovic’s interviews produced for the show.
A source told the publication Thomson would like to cut Stefanovic from the program entirely but the host’s contract prevents this.
“Kirsty is not happy. She really feels thrown under the bus by Karl,” the insider told The Daily Telegraph.
“She doesn’t want him to be part of her show.”
News.com.au has contacted Nine for comment on the claims.
New Idea reported the details of the Uber conversation last month, with the driver telling the magazine the brothers launched an extraordinary 45-minute attack on colleagues including Richard Wilkins, Georgie Gardner, Mark Burrows and Nine bosses.
“60 Minutes is not what it was a couple of years ago — it has lost relevance and lost viewers. It’s often on at 8:45pm — you draw your own conclusion on how it is going,” the Uber driver told New Idea, quoting the host.
Coincidentally, seven days after the conversation was leaked, Stefanovic was labelled “creepy” by viewers after his 60 Minutes interview with Kylie Minogue raised eyebrows. Among a series of oddities in the segment, the most awkward moment came when Stefanovic told the singer: “Well, you’re doing very well. It helps obviously that you’re a hot 50-year-old.”
Minogue was caught off-guard by the comment and replied: “Well, thanks. Um, yeah, we try. I don’t know what to say to that.”