Hugh Marks backs Karl amid media rumours
"We know there’s a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience,” says Nine CEO.
Nine CEO Hugh Marks has defended Today co-host Karl Stefanovic following weekend speculation he was about to be sacked by the network.
News Corp articles drew upon unnamed sources suggesting he would be told this week that he would not be returning in 2019.
“No doubt the constant publicity surrounding issues with his personal life have had an impact on Karl, his colleagues and on the show. We can’t hide from that. And as a result we know there’s a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience,” Marks has since told The Australian.
But Marks also insisted Nine would not be dumping Stefanovic.
“We stick by our people at Nine and we’ve put the challenge on the Today show producers, the presenters and, especially, on Karl to regain the trust and loyalty of our audience. And I have every confidence they will do it.”
He also backed executive producer Mark Calvert after the show fell below 200,000 metro viewers last Tuesday.
Stefanovic is understood to have significant time left on his hefty contract, with Nine seemingly hoping to ride out, rather than pay out, any remaining time. He also fronts This Time Next Year which filmed S2 interviews in March and must return to cameras again next March.
On Instagram yesterday Stefanovic said, “I’m incredibly grateful for the family and friends I have in this world. It’s all that matters really. I’m so proud of them.”