Loyal viewers of The Today Show tuned into the breakfast program this morning waiting to hear what they had to say about former co-host Karl Stefanovic’s shock departure.
This morning, fill-in hosts Deborah Knight and Brenton Ragless eventually addressed the elephant in the room as they and the rest of Karl’s former work mates paid tribute to his work no the show.
Following months of speculation, Nine announced on Wednesday that Stefanovic would be stepping down as co-host of The Today Show following a year of bad press and poor ratings.
Off the back of his exit, other presenters on the show admitted on Thursday morning that it had been “a big 24 hours for us here”.
Long time entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins gave a particularly emotional tribute to his colleague and friend, whom he had worked alongside for more than 10 years.
“Karl Stefanovic has been a co-host of this great show for 14 years and I’ve had the honour and pleasure, and pressure, sometimes of working alongside him almost every day over that time, and I can tell you from the heart that there is nobody who has worked harder for this show than Karl,” he said.
“He is a fantastic, intuitive and intelligent journalist. I describe him as an intoxicating mix of world’s best broadcaster and naughty schoolboy.
“There is no secret that the past year or so has been difficult times for Karl but I can say he has walked into the studio every morning with energy and passion bringing ideas to make the show bigger and better.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) December 19, 2018
“He always strived to deliver the best program he possibly could. It is a tireless gig and it comes with an enormous amount of scrutiny.
“Karl has asked us to pass on his thanks to you, the viewer, for tuning in, and Karl, on behalf of all your friends and colleagues here at Nine and your millions of fans around the country, we wish you all the best.
“Karl, thank you for all the great work. You have notched up a massive number of flying hours. You didn’t just wake up with Today. Today woke up with you. Good luck, mate.”
Wilkins concluded by reiterating what a statement from Nine said yesterday, that Karl would not be leaving Nine altogether and would still be working on his show This Time Next Year.
Knight, who has co-hosted the show with Karl on countless occasions following Lisa Wilkinson’s departure, reiterated Wilkin’s kind words, saying that he had made a “huge impact” on the program.
The network announced that Stefanovic would not be returning to the show in 2019 in a statement from news director Darren Wick yesterday.
“Nine and Karl Stefanovic have agreed it is time for him to step off the Today show,” the statement read.
This announcement came just a day after it was announced that his brother Peter Stefanovic would be leaving the Nine Network altogether.
It also comes just two weeks after Karl married Jasmin Yarbrough in Mexico and while the pair are currently on their honeymoon in the United States.
In the past year Stefanovic has been embroiled in negative publicity following the split from his ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn in 2016.
In a statement following the news of his departure, Karl admitted that it has been a “tough” year.
“Thanks to our viewers mostly, you are what matters,” he said.
“It’s been a tough time. Thanks for hanging in there. I look forward to seeing you in another capacity at this great network soon.”