Karl feud overshadows relaunch
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.