AFTER months of speculation, Karl Stefanovic has officially stepped down as co-host of the Today show. The question now is who will replace him?

Whoever it is will have their work cut out for them. The Channel 9 breakfast show is in free fall after a horror year marred by negative publicity surrounding Stefanovic and poor ratings.

Here are the top contenders for the gig.

BRENTON RAGLESS

There have been whispers all year that Ragless was being groomed to host Today. Now it seems he might be about to get the tap on the shoulder.

The 42-year-old, who is married and has two young kids, Edan and James, has filled in for Karl Stefanovic on several occasions throughout the year and is currently co-hosting the breakfast show alongside Deborah Knight.

Who should replace Karl Stefanovic at Today?

This poll ended on 25 September 2019.

Current Results

Ben Fordham

46%

Sarah Harris

12%

David Campbell

28%

Brenton Ragless

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The proud South Australian recently told The Australian that he wasn't gunning for Stefanovic's job, saying, "I'm not climbing some corporate ladder to be the next big presenter".

"I'm just trying to be the best person in any role that I can be," he added.

Brenton Ragless with his wife Hayley and son, James.
Brenton Ragless with his wife Hayley and son, James.

Born in Blackwood in South Australia, Ragless was a bus driver and tour guide before landing a job as an announcer on Christian radio station, Life FM.

He left the radio gig to become the media liaison officer for the CFS (Country Fire Service) and then, in 2008, landed his first full-time TV gig as the Channel 9 Adelaide weather presenter.

"To use a TV analogy, life for me feels like an episode of Mr Squiggle, the character from space who'd use his pencil for a nose to draw a picture from abstract lines, dots, circles and squiggles," Ragless told Rise Magazine in 2015.

"We all thought, 'nah - there's no way he can draw something from that!' But sure enough, at his own leisurely pace he'd draw the big picture!

"Years of growing up around the fire station, tour guiding, attending church, voicing Telstra's weather service, announcing at Life FM, working for the CFS, among so many other life experiences, all seemed to me to be like abstract lines, dots, circles and squiggles. God, the Architect of Life, hand illustrates the bigger picture. Meanwhile I'm just like Blackboard - 'HURRY UP!!!'

"Nothing we do is ever wasted, and God's timing is not our own," Ragless said.

So if he does get the tap on the shoulder that many expect he will, will Ragless accept?

"It would have to sit with what I do for my family from a lifestyle perspective," Ragless told The Australian.

"If it honoured the history I had in South Australia, and if it was fitting for the family and right for them, we would certainly consider it. But we're not chasing it."

DAVID CAMPBELL

The son of Jimmy Barnes is one of the nicest guys on TV and has charmed viewers for years as co-host of Today Extra alongside Sonia Kruger.

Campbell is undeniably a gifted entertainer but whether he has the gravitas to anchor the Today show, which has more of a hard news focus than Today Extra, remains to be seen.

 

Could this be the Today show’s line-up in 2019? Picture: AAP/David Clark
Could this be the Today show’s line-up in 2019? Picture: AAP/David Clark

 

SARAH HARRIS

Could Sarah Harris, who used to be a Today show reporter, leave Studio 10 and head back home to Channel 9?

TV commentator Steve Molk claimed recently on industry podcast TV Blackbox that Nine bosses were considering pairing Georgie Gardner with Harris.

According to Molk, Today rival Sunrise is expected to have two female hosts, Natalie Barr and Samantha Armytage, once David Koch leaves the show.

"The Today show needs to do something and if their main point of difference is to beat Seven to the punch and get in ahead where it's a two female hosted breakfast show instead of the Nat and Sam show … there's a point of difference," Molk said.

When asked about the rumour last week, Sarah Harris told news.com.au: "Hell, I'd dress up as the Casharoo if Nine want to pay me $3 million a year!"

 

Could Sarah Harris be heading back to Channel 9?
Could Sarah Harris be heading back to Channel 9?

 

BEN FORDHAM

Another name that always gets mentioned when discussing potential hosts is Ben Fordham, but the TV and radio star has made it clear on several occasions that he has no desire to host the Today show.

Fordham, who used to be Today's sports presenter and often fills in when Stefanovic is on leave, has a young family and a demanding gig on 2GB that would prevent him from hosting the breakfast TV show full-time.

"I have no intentions of going back to Today," Fordham told The Daily Telegraph in October.

"I had a great time on the show with Karl and Georgie (Gardner) and the team for many years but won't be returning any time soon."

Trust us, there's absolutely no way Ben Fordham will be named as Karl Stefanovic's replacement.

 

Ben Fordham at home with his wife, Jodie Speers. Picture: John Appleyard
Ben Fordham at home with his wife, Jodie Speers. Picture: John Appleyard

 

Who would you like to see replace Karl Stefanovic on Today in 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.



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