Women take helm at To­day

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - AMY HAR­RIS

IT was the Chan­nel 9 flag­ship bat­tered by PR storms be­fore fi­nally be­ing sunk by a Mex­i­can wed­ding ice­berg.

Now a sal­vage op­er­a­tion is un­der way at To­day, headed by an all-fe­male crew.

In a move never seen be­fore on Aus­tralian break­fast tele­vi­sion, Deb­o­rah Knight will re­place Karl Ste­fanovic as Georgie Gard­ner’s morn­ing show co-host as Nine at­tempts to win over some of the fe­male view­ers who aban­doned the show last year.

Knight, a 46-year-old mother of three who has served as a fill-in and Week­end To­day host since join­ing the net­work in 2011, was cho­sen over a string of ru­moured male re­place­ments for Ste­fanovic, in­clud­ing South Aus­tralian out­sider Bren­ton Ra­g­less and Ben Ford­ham.

In an­other gen­der turn­around, Nine has ap­pointed up-and-comer Tom Ste­in­fort in the news read­ing role pre­vi­ously held by Sylvia Jef- freys. Knight’s ap­point­ment, which fol­lows that of former ABC re­porter Brooke Boney to re­place en­ter­tain­ment ed­i­tor Richard Wilkins, ki­boshed ru­mours that Gard­ner was to be joined by Ali­son Lang­don in the host­ing chair.

Lang­don, who is due to re­turn from ma­ter­nity leave around April, will co-host Week­end To­day along­side David Camp­bell.

The To­day show has seen rat­ings plunge af­ter Ste­fanovic left his wife Cas­san­dra Thor­burn for shoe de­signer Jas­mine Yar­brough.

Fol­low­ing the in­fa­mous Uber tapes, in which Ste­fanovic and his jour­nal­ist brother Peter were recorded crit­i­cis­ing their col­leagues at Nine, the show’s for­tunes fell even fur­ther on the back of Ste­fanovic’s flashy Mex­i­can nup­tials last month.

To­day ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Steve Burl­ing wants to see Knight and Gard­ner help lift their rat­ings within six months and sur­pass Chan­nel 7’s all-con­quer­ing Sun­rise.

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