Today host Georgie Gardner has revealed how difficult it was to farewell her former colleagues from the breakfast program this year as Channel Nine launched its new team of presenters.
The 48-year-old, who was one of few hosts to remain with the show, spoke openly about the whirlwind start to the year this week, describing it as a “very tough” time.
Sharing details of the changeover on radio station KIIS on Tuesday morning, Gardner claimed it was not easy to see Karl Stefanovic, his brother Peter, sister-in-law Sylvia Jeffreys and sports presenter Tim Gilbert make a shock exit.
When asked if she was surprised to see so many of her colleagues leave, the mother-of-two said: “Well I mean, to be honest, it was a very tough week, they were my colleagues, they were my team last year. That’s been a tricky transition”.
The journalist also revealed on The Kyle and Jack O Show that she wasn’t involved in any “secret” meetings during the hiring process which saw Deborah Knight, Brooke Boney and Tony Jones join the team.
Gardner claimed she was actually out of town when decisions were made, however, was “thrilled” when she discovered Knight was added to the main lineup.
“No secret meetings. I had actually left town and was quite removed,” she explained. “Obviously I was involved and consulted with out of respect in terms of who would be Karl’s replacement.
“It was as you expect, given the importance and stature of the gig. There was a lot of discussion and consultation and it came down to the person with the right credentials who was already very well loved by the Today Show audience and when they said it was Deb I was as thrilled as anyone.”
As for Knight, the 46-year-old said there is no bad blood between herself and Karl following the change, claiming they are actually friends.
When asked if she has spoken to the former host, the journalist replied: “I have, he’s a great mate of mine, we were in LA when I was a reporter for Channel 10 and he was a correspondent for Channel Nine so we go way back”.
She added: “He wished me all the best and I did to him as well.”
Gardner and Knight’s comments come just a week after the new lineup was revealed to Australia. Unfortunately for the presenters, Aussies weren’t too pleased with the panel labelling the team “boring” and “awkward” following the first show last week
Many viewers took to social media to express their views on the revamped team, with some claiming they no longer wanted to watch the show and that they weren’t fans of the new panel.
“This once dedicated viewer has switched to seven! Boring personalities! How to fix what wasn’t broken!” one outraged person wrote Today’s Facebook page.
Another added: “The new team is terrible. Hopefully Channel Nine read the feedback and sort it out. Scrap the lot and start fresh.”
A third comment read: “Channel Nine shot themselves in the foot… should not be political… should be entertaining… and it’s not!”
However, there were some positive comments, with a handful of people backing the new team and showing their support for the presenters who have only just stepped into the new positions.
“Everyone looks great and doing a great job, love the new line up… people don’t like change in all walks of life… so ignore the negativity,” one person commented.
Another wrote: “About time… breath of fresh air, well and truely overdue for a change!”