Karl feud over­shad­ows re­launch

The Australian - - THE NATION - EMILY RITCHIE

Nine’s bid to re­launch the To­day show with an all-fe­male lineup has been over­shad­owed again by the feud be­tween for­mer host Karl Ste­fanovic and his for­mer wife Cas­san­dra Thor­burn who are un­der­stood to be ask­ing pointed ques­tions about their re­spec­tive re­la­tion­ships with the pa­parazzi.

The Aus­tralian un­der­stands Ste­fanovic is try­ing to as­cer­tain whether any pay­ment was ex­changed be­tween Ms Thor­burn and jour­nal­ist Jonathan Mar­shall after she was al­legedly recorded crit­i­cis­ing Ste­fanovic in a pub­lic tirade on the day of his wed­ding to Jas­mine Yar­brough last month.

Their re­la­tion­ship has gone from ugly to worse, with Ms Thor­burn ask­ing whether Ste­fanovic or Ms Yar­brough have had any cor­re­spon­dence with pho­toa­gency Di­imex from Sep­tem­ber 2016, par­tic­u­larly re­lat­ing to con­tracts or pay­ment for pho­tos. Di­imex is an on­line dig­i­tal me­dia ex­change com­pany that sells sto­ries.

Sources close to the sit­u­a­tion say the two-year pe­riod could in­volve hun­dreds of text mes­sages.

Ste­fanovic is un­der­stood to want to see any agree­ment for pay­ment of money be­tween Ms Thor­burn and Mar­shall, as well as all com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the pair, in­clud­ing the raw au­dio of an al­leged con­ver­sa­tion at Syd­ney Air­port on the day of Ste­fanovic’s Mex­i­can wed­ding.

In that in­ter­view, Ms Thor­burn al­legedly told Mar­shall, who sold the story to New Idea mag­a­zine, that the fa­ther of her three chil­dren was “fake” and a nar­cis­sist.

“He’s thrown three wed­dings, for good­ness sake. Who needs three wed­dings in a year? Give us a break,” Ms Thor­burn was re­ported to have said. The mag­a­zine also quoted her ques­tion­ing whether Ste­fanovic’s fa­mous sex­ism ex­per­i­ment was gen­uine.

Mar­shall al­legedly sold the in­ter­view to New Idea, owned by Pa­cific Mag­a­zines, for $15,000.

In a later TV ap­pear­ance, Ms Thor­burn in­sisted she had not given an in­ter­view and said the re­marks at­trib­uted to her were made up.

Ste­fanovic is un­der­stood to want raw au­dio of the al­leged con­ver­sa­tion to dis­cern whether its con­tents breach an agree­ment be­tween the di­vorced cou­ple wherein both promised not to say neg­a­tive things about each other in pub­lic.

It is un­der­stood the two are try­ing to de­ci­pher how each has used the pa­parazzi and the me­dia to their ad­van­tage and/or to dis­ad­van­tage the other party, and to dis­cern if ei­ther has gar­nered pay­ment or ben­e­fit for pub­li­ca­tion.

News of the dis­pute comes as the Nine Net­work yes­ter­day morn­ing de­buted its “new-look”, all-fe­male To­day show lineup, led by Deb­o­rah Knight and Ge­orgie Gard­ner, after sev­eral for­mer hosts were moved or sacked.

Ste­fanovic was axed from the show after 15 years fol­low­ing a slew of per­sonal trou­bles that the net­work pointed to for dwin­dling rat­ings, par­tic­u­larly among fe­male view­ers. To­day was beaten in the rat­ings last year by the Seven Net­work’s Sun­rise, which av­er­aged 454,000 na­tional view­ers com­pared with To­day’s 347,000.

Thor­burn

Ste­fanovic

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