More than three years after moving on from the Today show, Georgie Gardner has finally opened up about why it didn’t work out.
The Nine presenter replaced Lisa Wilkinson in 2018, following Wilkinson’s abrupt departure from the breakfast hosting gig alongside Karl Stefanovic.
In the months that followed, her co-host generated plenty of headlines as his very public divorce from Cass Thorburn and new relationship with now-wife Jasmine Yarbrough played out.
According to Gardner, 53, the endless scrutiny took its toll on their working environment.
“Unfortunately things that were out of my control meant that it was a short-lived stint,” she told the It’s All Her podcast.
“I had a year hosting with Karl, which was a lot of fun. But it was also a period in his personal life where there was a lot going on. And there was a lot of noise.
“We were never sort of able to get traction because there was always so much speculation about his private life. It was really tough for him. And it was tough for us.”
Amid mounting pressure later that year, Nine eventually announced it was removing Stefanovic from the high-profile role, with plenty of speculation that there’d also been growing tension between he and Gardner.
But in her recent interview, Gardner – who previously worked alongside Stefanovic for years as Today’s newsreader – set the record straight on the state of their relationship.
“We really got on well and really liked each other and had, it was a great chemistry actually,” she continued.
“Anyway, one thing led to another, he was moved off the show. In fact, they moved everyone off, which was very, very tricky for me.”
After Stefanovic was removed, Nine journalist Deb Knight was brought in as his replacement, with Brooke Boney also taking over entertainment from Richard Wilkins, Tony Jones replacing Tim Gilbert, and Tom Steinfort named as newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys’ replacement.
It was a bold shake-up – but one that never really found its footing with viewers, with Today regularly trumped in the ratings by its rival breakfast shows.
“It got to a point where I could see it just wasn’t going to work. So I just gracefully exited stage left and just continued on with my news, which is what I’m still doing today,” Gardner told It’s All Her host Jordy Lucas.
In late 2019, amid dwindling ratings, it was announced that Stefanovic would be making his big Today comeback with popular Weekend Today and 60 Minutes journalist Allison Langdon as co-host.
Two years on, Langdon was replaced by Sarah Abo after the former was announced as Tracy Grimshaw’s successor helming A Current Affair.