As expected, Nine has wielded the axe at its beleaguered Today Show, dumping almost all the 2019 line-up before its much-anticipated Karl Stefanovic breakfast TV revival next year.
And the big takeaway is that women newsreaders are back, including Sylvia Jeffreys, who was collateral damage when her brother-in-law Karl fell out of favour with viewers.
Stefanovic and his co-host Allison Langdon will be joined by Tracy Vo as newsreader, Alex Cullen as sports presenter and Tim Davies as weather presenter.
The only member of the embattled existing team to survive the cull is entertainment reporter Brooke Boney.
The show will relaunch with its new line-up on January 6.
“Their hands were tied. Given the disaster of this year, it was inevitable there would be a mass exodus,” a commercial TV source told The New Daily.
“There will be a tonne of pressure on this team but Karl will revel in that. He’s back in his wheelhouse.”
Vo has 12 years with Nine under her belt and has been presenter of the network’s Perth Live since 2018.
She replaces Tom Steinfort, who left 60 Minutes to join Today this year, and will return to the flagship current affairs program.
Cullen jumped ship from Seven, where he was a presenter on now-defunct Sunday Night, in November.
He was announced as a fill-in for summer but now has the permanent sports gig.
His predecessor Tony Jones had a colourful end to his Today show stint in November, having a sarcastic crack at fellow presenters, including Deb Knight and Georgie Gardner, then announcing on his last day, “I got the arse”.
Sydney reporter Davies takes over from veteran Stevie Jacobs, who is leaving “to pursue other interests, though we hope to work together on other projects soon,” a Nine statement said.
“We’ve brought together a team that Australia will love waking up with in 2020,” said Steve Burling, Nine’s director of morning television.
Fan favourite Jeffreys is returning to morning TV as co-host of Today Extra with David Campbell.
She is expecting her first child with journalist husband Peter Stefanovic – who parted ways with the network in its last reshuffle after his role in ‘Ubergate’ – and her maternity leave will be covered by Belinda Russell.
The chair was vacated last month by Sonia Kruger, who is heading back to her old employer Seven, where she will host Mega Mini Golf.
Richard Wilkins, until now regarded as something of a protected species because of his close friendship with Nine bosses, has been moved to Weekend Today.
His co-host will be Rebecca Maddern, the former Seven news reporter who has hosted Victoria’s The Footy Show and Ninja Warrior Australia.
The Maddern-Wilkins weekend duo will be joined by Jayne Azzopardi as newsreader and Lauren Phillips as weather presenter.
The sweeping changes come 12 months after Nine’s last major morning revamp, when Knight and Gardner were named Australian commercial TV’s first female breakfast hosting team.
Both have new roles since their departure from Today after Karl’s return was announced: Knight will host Afternoons on Sydney radio’s 2GB/4BC, and Gardner will present Nine’s weekend news.