Today show host Deb Knight has admitted she has been “caught off guard” by the mass of backlash faced since she joined the team on the morning program earlier this year.
The reporter, who was announced as co-host with Georgie Gardner in January, has spoken out about the negative comments received over the past few months, admitting in an interview with The Herald Sun that she is “amazed” by the level scrutiny the show is still facing.
Sharing details of her time with the program since taking over from Karl Stefanovic, Deb said while she’s feeling “happier than ever” in her position the public is taking a while to come to terms with the changes.
“The level of scrutiny on the show has been more than I expected and that has not eased up to be honest, so that has caught me off guard,” she told The Herald Sun.
“If you completely change the line-up of hosts on a show then you have to give the audience time to get used to that.”
Deb added: “The level of scrutiny that the show is still attracting never ceases to amaze me.”
However, despite the flurry of criticism, the 46-year-old journalist said the team has bonded well and the show’s vibe is “great”.
This isn’t the first time Deb has spoken out about the ratings slump on Today with the reporter and her cost-host Georgie hitting back at the slew of cruel comments online in an open radio interview recently.
While Georgie, 48, previously appeared alongside former host Karl Stefanovic, 44, on the show, Deb, joined once he had left at the end of last year. However, it doesn’t mean Georgie has been immune to negativity following the revamp.
Speaking to 2GB, she revealed her lowest moment during her time on the show and insisted they both know ratings have fallen, but it’s only because of the rise of other media platforms offering more choice.
Revealing her hardest time on the show, Georgie said it came after The Daily Telegraph published a false report in February claiming viewers were switching off because of her.
The newspaper later withdrew the comments and issued an apology, accepting the claims were wrong.
“I had an experience earlier this year that was pretty tricky to contend with — it’s no secret, The Daily Telegraph writing outright lies about me,” Georgie told Ben Fordham on the radio show.
“And coming in at four o’clock in the morning and being confronted with that was very tough I’ve got to say, probably one of the lowest times I’ve ever had while being on air.”
Deb insisted while it was a difficult time, it meant a lot of people spoke out in Georgie’s defence too – showing how dedicated Today‘s audience is.
“We do have a really lovely core Today audience that I am greatly appreciative to and you’re right Deb, people do come out in support,” Georgie added to that.
“But there’s no getting around it; the scrutiny is intense, and at times it’s hurtful.”