Nine boss: ‘An underperforming Karl was unsustainable’
NINE boss Hugh Marks says Karl Stefanovic was underperforming a year ago when he was punted from Nine's flagship morning show Today.
His return to Nine's breakfast show to share the hosting duties with respected 60 Minutes reporter Alison Langdon comes as the program is being comprehensively beaten by Seven rival Sunrise.
"At the time when he came off the show he was burnt and he wasn't performing," Mr Marks said after Nine Entertainment's annual general meeting in Sydney yesterday.
"He would recognise that now. We certainly saw it at the time. It was unsustainable."
Mr Stefanovic parted ways with the show after an ugly public break-up with his wife Cassandra Thorburn and extravagant four-day wedding to shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough.
"If I looked at Karl now, he's ready for the game again. He's fired up and really up for the challenge. And whatever you say, he's a brilliant performer in that format," Mr Marks said.
Mr Marks refused to confirm speculation that his re-signing to the show came with a hefty cut to his previous $2 million salary.
"I am not going to talk about Karl's remuneration," Mr Marks said.
Mr Marks said it was yet to be proven on screen but he believed that Ms Langdon was the right choice, rather than one of the outgoing duo of Deb Knight or Georgie Gardner to share hosting duties with Stefanovic.
"It's the right time, with him in the right place, with the right partner to come back to that show and we can't ask any more."
He said of Ms Langdon: "She's a strong journalist and has a great mood and a great tone for morning television."
He cited Ms Langdon's job hosting the network's live coverage of the bushfires over the past few days as reflecting her strong on-screen skills.
"She's got that performance (skill). Put them together, as performers, on a performance-based show, I think will be a great combination."