Mark Calvert has resigned as the Executive Producer of Today and the Director of Morning Television at Nine after 5 years.
The timing of his exit, after a ratings loss to Sunrise, comes on the cusp of Karl Stefanovic’s high-profile wedding in Mexico. Calvert is understood to not be in attendance.
Calvert was appointed 5 years ago following the departure of Neil Breen. Despite a win in 2016, it has hit had a troubled two years, including the exit of Lisa Wilkinson, headlines surrounding Karl Stefanovic’s personal life, and hitting ratings lows of more than a decade.
Editorials, gossip and paparazzi have hounded the show with ongoing commentary around the chemistry between Stefanovic and co-host Georgie Gardner.
Nine’s Director of News & Current Affairs said in a note to staff, “From personal experience, I know there is no more challenging role in News and Current Affairs than the daily breakfast battle between Today and Sunrise. It’s a national ratings race where audience loyalty fluctuates from city to city, and often suburb to suburb.
“And there is no programme on Australian television that is analysed, revised and criticised as much as Today. The hours are exhausting, the competition is intense and the media coverage – good and bad – is unrelenting.
“But that’s the game and, nonetheless, it’s still a great programme to work on. You’re there in the driving seat when history is being made.”
Wick acknowledged Calvert’s creativity in this year’s Drought Relief event “We Love Australia” broadcasts and international news coverage.
“Mark has given it everything he’s got every day for the past five years. He rebuilt the programme, re-energised the team and led them to a memorable ratings year win in 2016. The first ratings year win over Sunrise in a decade and a half.”
He added, “Mark has been a great close colleague and mate of mine for more than a decade. I want to thank him for his passion, commitment and contribution to Today and Nine. We wish him well for his future.”
In 2012 he resigned as Head of News and Current Affairs, replaced by then-Sydney News Director Darren Wick.
“It’s been an enormous privilege to lead Today over five roller coaster years,” Calvert said in a note.
We’ve had some great times. We’ve been through some tough times, too. Throughout it all, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been surrounded by committed and loyal people. You’ve made going to work, every day before dawn, an absolute pleasure.
“I’m looking forward to a bit of sleep. And then I’m looking forward to the next big challenge, whether that’s at Nine, or elsewhere. 2019 is going to be a huge year for the show, and for the newly expanded company. I wish the amazing team at Today, and all the brilliant people at Nine, nothing but success.”