Entertainment TV ‘Quite removed’: Georgie Gardner speaks out about Today sackings

‘Quite removed’: Georgie Gardner speaks out about Today sackings

Deb Knight Georgie Gardner
Deb Knight (left) and Georgie Gardner laugh about a giant lizard on Today on Tuesday. Photo: Twitter
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After seven days on air with Nine’s new Today team, co-host Georgie Gardner has spoken for the first time about all her workmates being sacked from the breakfast show late last year.

“To be honest … it was a very tough week,” Gardner told KIIS 1065’s Kyle & Jackie O show on Tuesday morning of being the last woman standing.

“They were my colleagues and they were my team last year, and, you know, that’s been a tricky transition.”

The new-look show debuted on January 14 with recruits Deb Knight, Brooke Boney and Tony Jones. It has struggled in the ratings despite its novelty factor and being the lead-in to Nine’s high-profile coverage of the Australian Open tennis.

The show is yet to crack the top 20 shows in daily ratings and last week was soundly beaten by Seven rival Sunrise. 

Its debut was seen by an audience of 311,000. On Thursday, it drew 295,000 combined metro and rural viewers, compared to Sunrise’s 461,000.

Gardner was asked if she was “surprised” by the axing of any of her workmates, who included Karl Stefanovic, Sylvia Jeffreys, Richard Wilkins and Tim Gilbert.

“Yes,” she said, without naming names.

The journalist denied there were “secret meetings” she was privy to around Stefanovic’s high-profile December 19 departure.

“I’d actually left town and was quite removed,” she said.

“Obviously I was involved and consulted, I guess out of respect in terms of who would be Karl’s replacement.

“As you would expect, given the importance and the stature of the gig, there was a lot of discussion and consultation,” Gardner said.

Knight, who sat next to Gardner for the radio appearance, laughed off reports in New Idea and Woman’s Day on Monday that she’s already been given marching orders from Today.

Nine slammed the stories as “absolute garbage” and Knight said, “Writing me off in five days might be a little too soon”.

She joked that she flew back to Sydney last weekend to spend time with her young family, and “I did think twice about getting on the flight” home, she admitted.

“They’re heading off on holiday to the south coast of New South Wales and I thought, ‘That would be quite nice’, but I did get on the plane. Don’t worry, I’m here.”

Both hosts defended Today, with Knight saying she and Gardner are still finding their rhythm.

“We play to our strengths. We’re both very different people. We’re finding our banter as a duo,” she said.

“You start to sort of work out who can take the lead on particular areas.”

Gardner said she had been asked by “a lot of people” what the new format show’s first day on air was like.

“More than anything we knew the content was right. We had the right players sitting in the right seats,” she said.

“It was more just a case of the heaviness of that scrutiny. You just can’t hide in TV. Every look, every expression, every side glance obviously goes to air and is analysed and scrutinised.

“And often the analysis of it is actually quite wrong.”

Knight said she has spoken to “great mate” Stefanovic since his axing: “He wished me all the best and I did for him.”