Hosts with the most

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - ERIN McWHIRTER

IF CHAN­NEL 9 CEO David Gyn­gell has his way, Car­ols by Can­dle­light will be the first of many host­ing projects for To­day’s Karl Ste­fanovic and Lisa Wilkin­son.

It makes sense. Chan­nel 7 has suc­ceeded with Sun­rise hosts Melissa Doyle and David Koch on Where Are They Now?, Bat­tle of the Choirs and The Zoo, so why not Nine with Ste­fanovic and Wilkin­son? The pair have de­vel­oped an easy rap­port since team­ing up 18 months ago and To­day is en­joy­ing its best rat­ings of re­cent years.

‘‘It’s ob­vi­ous to every­one by now that Karl and I love work­ing to­gether,’’ Wilkin­son says. ‘‘You ei­ther re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the fact you are work­ing with a per­son or you don’t. Karl and I feel re­ally lucky to have stum­bled across each other.’’

Wilkin­son had made her mark on Seven’s Week­end Sun­rise when she de­fected to Nine. To­day was in tur­moil. The Ste­fanovic/Jes­sica Rowe com­bi­na­tion was a rat­ings dis­as­ter and Rowe was told she wasn’t needed af­ter ma­ter­nity leave.

Ste­fanovic seemed to be on his last chance af­ter his pair­ing with Tracy Grimshaw failed to fire.

‘‘The show was un­der so much scru­tiny and ev­ery­thing pointed to it be­ing an un­nat­u­ral union,’’ Wilkin­son says. ‘‘ We both just thought: ‘ No mat­ter what hap­pens let’s give it a go’ and on a pro­fes­sional level I couldn’t be hap­pier. The last two weeks of the rat­ings this year were our two big­gest weeks in five years.’’

To­day pulled in more than 40,000 new view­ers in 2008.

‘‘We didn’t change it dra­mat­i­cally, we just im­proved it on a daily ba­sis,’’ Ste­fanovic says. ‘‘In­stead of in the past looking at the en­tire show we are dis­sect­ing it bit by bit.’’

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