Georgie ‘hates’ Karl, wanted him gone
IT HAS been just over a year since a senior Channel 9 executive reportedly made a bold promise to Georgie Gardner about her co-host - and it now seems strangely accurate.
Lisa Wilkinson had left Today and her successor had stepped into the hot seat after she appeared as the newsreader on the breakfast show from 2006 to 2014.
But it wasn't long before rumours turned into reports of an ugly stoush between Gardner and her co-host Karl Stefanovic.
Some believed the partnership was doomed from the beginning after it was reported Gardner quit her role as the Today newsreader in 2014 in part due to Stefanovic's blokey on-air antics.
And now a new insider revalation suggests that Gardner "can't stand" Stevanovic and had wanted him gone for a long time.
A year ago, The Sunday Telegraph talked to inside sources at the breakfast TV show who reportedly claimed the pair could not stand one another - with Stefanovic taking the view Gardner was "humourless".
It was then the senior executive detailed a promise that was reportedly made to Gardner.
"She signed on to the show after having been assured she would only have to do one year with Karl," they reportedly told the newspaper.
"After that, he's gone and Nine will recast and she will get to work with someone else."
And, lo and behold, just over a year after that article surfaced the most talked about breakfast show host in the country has been booted from his perch.
Not only that, Gardner recently met with Nine bosses and asked for her co-host to be dumped because of poor ratings and embarrassing headlines, according to The Daily Telegraph
"Georgie simply demanded she won't work with Karl anymore," a Channel 9 executive told the Telegraph.
"She hates Karl and has done for a long time. They didn't like each other before she joined the show. Then the Uber thing tipped it over the edge. And then the wedding, she didn't go when she was invited. You'd think your co-host would support you by being there but Georgie can't stand Karl and has been waiting for this moment for a long time."
About a year ago, soon after reports of a rift emerged and when Gardner was announced as the new co-host, she commented on the rumoured tension during a segment of the show.
"There's been a lot of conjecture over the last few weeks about how we feel about each other," she said to Stefanovic on-air. "We've had our bumps, we've had our laughs, we have a very open and honest relationship. Strap yourself in everyone, because anything could happen."
When they were both guests on the Hit Network's Hughesy & Kate show in July, they confirmed there was friction between the two of them.
"There's a fraction of friction between you two," Kate Langbroek said to the Channel 9 stars.
"A fraction too much friction," replied Gardner.
"Is there too much?" asked Langbroek.
"Occasionally," Gardner said.
The pair were asked what they last fought about and Gardner said: "There was a bit of tension on our thoughts on Donald Trump.
"And then there was the time that you got a bit narky that I had a slightly bigger dressing room," Gardner said to Stefanovic.
"I had a full meltdown," Stefanovic joked.
But according to an insider who spoke to news.com.au at the beginning of this year, there was not much truth the rumours the co-hosts didn't get on.
"The perceived tension between Karl and Georgie is overplayed," he said. "If she didn't like the guy, she wouldn't have taken the job.
"Chemistry is important at breakfast and it comes in many forms. She does have a different personality from him and that's a great thing. Producers may well be exploiting the perception as a playful thing. It becomes a talking point and something viewers can get some fun out of."
However, in October, there was awkward laughter on the set of Today as Gardner teased Stefanovic about rumours he'd been sacked.
They had just finished interviewing a beauty salon owner when Stefanovic asked Gardner if she thought he should get his eyebrows done.
"I've never looked that closely but now that you bring it up, yes, there are a few stray eyebrows there that could be waxed, and in fact, I might be your woman for the job," she replied.
Stefanovic suggested that Gardner should wax him live on TV, saying: "Who's not gonna watch that on Monday morning?"
"If you want to see that … Georgie wax Karl, send us an email," he said.
She joked that she'd misunderstood and made a hitting motion at Stefanovic as she said, "Oh, wax as in 'whacks'?"
"Not axe," Stefanovic replied, taking the joke further.
As the co-hosts giggled, Gardner said, "Apparently you've already been axed!"
Crew members could be heard laughing awkwardly in the background as Karl laughed.
"Gone," he said referencing reports of his impending sacking. "A couple of weeks ago."
Those reports, which came out in late September, claimed that Channel 9 bosses were preparing to let go of him after two years of unending negative publicity and a horror slump in the breakfast show's ratings.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks then publicly issued a challenge to the star, describing 2018 as a "tough and challenging year for Karl and Today," and demanding the breakfast show lift its game.
"No doubt the constant publicity surrounding issues with his personal life have had an impact on Karl, his colleagues and on the show. We can't hide from that. And as a result we know there's a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience," he told The Australian.
At the time he insisted that Nine would not drop Stefanovic.
"We stick by our people at Nine and we've put the challenge on the Today show producers, the presenters and, especially, on Karl to regain the trust and loyalty of our audience. And I have every confidence they will do it."