Viewers savage new Today lineup
THE Today show's brand new line-up has debuted on Nine, heralding a new era of the show which lost all but one of its high-profile stars at the end of last year.
Addressing the shake-up at the top of the show on Monday, co-host Georgie Gardner - the only host to survive the 2018 bloodletting - described it as "the very first day of a new era on Nine, with a new-look Today show team".
Deb Knight, who was named as Karl Stefanovic's replacement earlier this month, admitted it felt like "the first day of school".
"Thankfully I'm not the only one on the desk who feels like the first day of school. I have new members of the team - and welcome to Tom Steinfort and Brooke Boney and Tony Jones," she said.
It's hoped the new-look panel will lure viewers back from Channel 7's hit Sunrise program, but early reactions on Today's Facebook page indicate it's going to be an uphill battle.
Many viewers barely gave the team a chance - within an hour of the show starting, Today was criticised about everything from the all-female co-hosts to the uneven gaps between presenters.
Here's a sample:
- "Lost me, just switched off, trying Channel 10. Not happy."
- "So boring, there's no fun there.. again too many woman (sic) men are more fun, crap show."
- "The gap between each person isn't even and the desk is too small."
- "I have been watching Today since Tracey (Grimshaw) was on it, loved Karl and Lisa. Thought I would tune in this morning but omg will not be watching anymore. Loud over bearing (sic)."
- "Yeah... I've already switched off.... wish you well..... you're gunna need it."
- "Don't like the new line up. Deb looks like she is taking over the show."
However, at least one optimistic fan saw the silver lining, writing: "With all these people hating the show, I'll watch to win their cash contest, might have a chance."
The show is currently broadcasting from the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Today's mass exodus began with executive producer Mark Calvert stepping down in early December after five years in the role, amid rumoured "tension" with Stefanovic.
Ironically, Stefanovic was the next to go, with Nine delivering the news of his sacking while he was still on honeymoon with new wife Jasmine Yarbrough. The shock move came after months of mounting pressure due to horror ratings and a steady stream of negative publicity surrounding the high-profile TV presenter
Just days later, long-time entertainment correspondent Richard Wilkins revealed he would be focusing on morning program Today Extra in 2019, clearing a path for former Triple J journalist Brooke Boney to join the Today panel, while Tom Steinfort was announced to take over newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys' role.
Sports reporter Tim Gilbert was the last casualty of new executive producer Steven Burling's refresh, and was replaced by Melbourne sports journalist Tony Jones.