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Today Show lineup Karl Stefanovic returns alongside Allison Langdon as Georgie Gardner turns to news

Karl Stefanovic will make a comeback to breakfast television in 2020, returning to co-host Today alongside 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon.

The format refresh will see Stefanovic and Langdon step into the shoes of Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight, who have been hosting the show together since January 2019.

New Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon promise the new show will be anything but boring. (Louise Kennerley for Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald)

Gardner said while she was disappointed with the decision, she was proud to have broken new ground with her co-host.

“I was consulted two weeks ago about the future direction of the Today Show, and naturally I’m disappointed with the outcome,” said Gardner.

“However I’m very proud to have been part of an innovative and progressive programming decision – the first female hosting duo in Australian breakfast television.”

The veteran journalist described morning television as “daunting” and “cruel”, but leaves the format with no regrets.

Georgie Gardner says she has no regrets in making the move to breakfast television. (AAP)

“It was a privilege to work on the Today Show for nine years, I learned a lot. I have no regrets, even though the scrutiny and public discourse has been daunting and disproportionate. It’s also at times been cruel,” said Gardner.

“My plan now is to return to my first love, news, and to catch up on some sleep! I am grateful for the support and friendship offered by my Today Show colleagues on-air and behind the scenes and I am humbled by the unwavering loyalty and kindness of viewers.

“They have made my job more rewarding than they will ever know.

“I leave with fond memories and wish the new team every success. See you on a TV screen in 2020.”

Darren Wick, Director of News at Nine, said the network broke new ground in appointing two female hosts which regrettably has not been reflected in ratings.

“Georgie is a person of great integrity who has given everything for the past two years in hosting one of the most demanding and high profile shows on television. She’s loved and admired by her colleagues and she cares passionately about the stories she tells,” said Wick.

“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.”

Knight will stay on with the network and will be in the co-host chair on Monday morning while Gardner, who has been a co-host since January 2018, will no longer work the 5.30am to 9am timeslot.

The remaining Today Show team members, including newsreader Tom Steinfort and entertainment reporters Richard Wilkins and Brooke Boney, will remain with Nine with Wick saying the full line up of Today in 2020 “will be announced in due course”.

The appointment of Stefanovic to Today marks a return to a winning recipe for the Nine Network, which reaped more than a decade of strong ratings with the 45-year-old.

During his 14-year tenure, Stefanovic set a new standard for morning television personalities, winning the Gold Logie for most popular personality in 2011. He made international headlines for his fight against the entrenched sexism in TV, where female presenters are constantly judged by and berated for their appearance, by wearing the same suit on-air for a year to see if anyone noticed. (They didn’t.)

Speaking on his return, Stefanovic said he never anticipated returning to what he describes as “the best live job in Australia”.

Allison Langdon and Karl Stefanovic in London, where they hosted coverage of the 2018 Royal Wedding. (Instagram/Allison Langdon)

“Going back to the Today Show is not something that I thought would come up again. I thought my time was up but then when I was sounded out about it, it got me thinking. It’s a big job with enormous pressures and I know only too well some of those pitfalls, but it is also without question the best live job in Australia,” said Stefanovic.

“I’ve loved 60 Minutes and the team there who have been so generous and supported me, but for me the best way to use the skills I have is the live show format and I missed the Today Show, I missed it a lot.”

His partnership with Langdon is one that Stefanovic is wholeheartedly embracing – and he promises it’ll be anything but bland.

“The show and the audience make me feel alive. I’m up for the fight and I want to fight for our audience. Ally is her own confident, capable woman and I will be there to help her any step of the way but we are equals in this fight and I feel confident in our partnership,” said Stefanovic. 

“We’re both good journalists and we both love a laugh.”

(L-R) 60 Minutes presenters and journalists Karl Stefanovic, Charles Wooley, Liz Hayes, Sarah Abo, Allison Langdon and Tara Brown are seen during the Channel Nine Upfront event at Fox Studios in Sydney, Wednesday, October 16, 2019. (AAP)

Langdon, who joins Today after a stint on flagship current affairs program 60 Minutes as well as hosting Weekend Today, agreed with Stefanovic that audiences should expect a lively partnership from the two.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead but I can tell you one thing, it’s not going to be boring! I love the unpredictability of live TV… and Karl,” said Langdon.

“Wind him up and let him go! I’m sure we’ll butt heads, but we’ll do it with a smile on our face. I just want to help our viewers get their day off to a good, fun start.”


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