Karl’s resurrection to cost $1m bonus
REBIRTHED television host Karl Stefanovic is taking as much as a $1 million pay cut to return to his old job at Today.
Nine network insiders say the recalled breakfast anchor will forfeit one third of his $3 million package for one last ride in television’s toughest rodeo.
Stefanovic’s last contract, negotiated in December 2015 with Nine’s then new CEO Hugh Marks, included a $1 million dollar “image bonus” part of — or all of which — could be withheld by bosses should Stefanovic fail to achieve standards expected of him, well-placed sources claim.
Given the breakfast show anchor was sacked last year from the program he was contracted to host for five years, it’s now believed his bosses used this clause to slash his lucrative contract.
Sources yesterday denied Stefanovic had been offered a new or extended contract and maintained he remained on contract only until the end of 2020.
As word broke yesterday that the groundwork had been laid for Stefanovic’s incredible comeback — one that will see him return for his 15th year as brekkie anchor alongside 60 Minutes’ reporter Allison Langdon — Georgie Gardner, having told bosses she wouldn’t be returning to air following the announcement, was enjoying her first day’s retirement from Today at home on Sydney’s north shore.
A spot alongside David Campbell on the Today Extra program is understood to be open to Gardner should she want it with Campbell’s co-host, Sonia Kruger, in talks with Seven to jump ship when her current contract with Nine lapses in December.
Seven yesterday denied Kruger has already signed with the network but Nine is believed to have made only a token offer to keep the presenter, who also hosts The Voice for it.
Gardner has indicated she hopes to return to news reading duties, although not in the foreseeable future with her Today show co-host Deb Knight, holding on to the prime time weekend news bulletins for the time being.
A competent broadcaster, Knight could be expected to move into a radio role on Nine’s newly acquired Macquarie Radio network next year, a move that would free up the weekend bulletins for Gardner’s return.
Gardner has said she is “disappointed” to be dumped from Today after just two years in the role as host, one alongside Stefanovic, the other with Knight, with whom there were on-screen tensions involving who would conduct interviews and who took precedence in the hair-andr and wardrobe department.
Nine is yet to decide de which Today cast mem- bers will remain with the show next year with the roles of Tom Steinfort, Brooke Boney, Richard Wilkins, Steve Jacobs and d Tony Jones under review.
“There is time to recast ast the rest of the program but it became a priority to announce the main hosts for next year as the speculation became wearing on the current hosting duo,” said a Nine insider yesterday.
“We took a bold decision to try something new with two women hosting the Today show this year and regrettably that has not worked for the audience,” Nine’s news boss Darren Wick said.
Georgie Gardner at her home in Mosman yesterday and (inset) with co-host Deb Knight. Main picture: Adam Yip