Hosts with the most
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.’’