Nine News boss rejects research claims over Georgie Gardner

Nine’s Director of News & Current Affairs has denied a Daily Telegraph report which claims focus groups have referred to Today‘s Georgie Gardner as an “ice maiden.”

“The dynamic between the hosts is one major issue which came from the research,” a network insider told the newspaper.

“Viewers feel that the banter between the hosts is forced.

“Audiences are not loving Georgie. The data shows she was accepted as a newsreader, then when she returned as host they never warmed to her.

“They find her cold, an ice maiden.”

It claims independent analysts have been commissioned to conduct focus groups and that secret meetings were held by Wick on Tuesday.

“This is one of the most deliberate acts of bullying I’ve ever seen. There are no facts attached to the claims. And the reporter didn’t bother to contact Nine to put the claims to me or anyone else for comment,” Darren Wick said in a statement.

“Nine’s position is that this is an outrageous, false, reckless and defamatory attack on Georgie Gardner and the Today Show. The claim by the Daily Telegraph reporter that Nine has conducted focus groups this year is wrong. We haven’t as yet commissioned any focus groups for the Today Show, let alone held them in 2019.

“The allegations from the article that Georgie Gardner was perceived as an “Ice Maiden” and is somehow responsible for the poor numbers of the show this year is a fabrication and irresponsible reporting.

“Nine conducted a number of focus groups throughout the last six months of 2018, under my supervision, and the feedback from those viewers was overwhelmingly positive about Georgie Gardner. She rated head and shoulders above every other on-air presenter. And that’s consistent with all Today Show focus groups we’ve held during the last seven years, while I’ve been in the National News Director role.”

Today remains under pressure as numbers fall for the show. Monday’s episode was the lowest rated episode of Today ever, using the 7-9am survey standard. Media articles continue to scrutinise its performance, including by Nine-owned and rival-owned newspapers.

“I don’t shy away from the weaker numbers the Today Show has recorded in 2019. But just five weeks into a new team on-air, we’re not about to hit the panic button. We’ve been through this battle before with other programs, where a section of the media is quick to write us off. We’re in for the long haul,” Wick insisted.

Updated: On 2GB radio this morning Wick confirmed the News Corp journalist contacted Nine Publicity yesterday but did not enquire about focus groups.

15 Comments:

  1. carolemorrissey

    Well it’s Murdoch so I think it can be taken with a grain of salt. They always just make stuff up in their ‘newspaper’. Not exactly a reputable source.

  2. Today…its time we broke up. Things have changed between us and I’m not sure if it’s you or me, but things feel different.
    When we used to wake up together, You made me laugh, challenge me and made my life a little better.
    Sure there’s been times I thought about someone else, but I stayed. I used to think we’d always be together, but you’ve become distant and I don’t feel I know you anymore. Its time we both let go.
    I promise it’s for the best. I’ll treasure our memories together but from now on, I can’t wake up with Today.
    I’ll miss you

  3. The journalists that published the criticisms used an anonymous source. Anonymous sources are not as good as sources that are identifiable. The credibility is not there unless the information can be backed up by other identifiable sources, information and documentation.

  4. It’s utter garbage. All networks commission research (some through online opinion groups) about the likeability of hundreds of Australian TV and radio personalities. I’ve done a few over the years, and I recall saying I liked Georgie.

    Of course Nine does this and other focus groups to determine who is on the nose and who is the audience darling, and that’s clearly why Georgie is hosting Today, and will be for some time. If people are tuning out, she’s not the reason.

    The Daily Terrorgraph has a track record of this kind of character assassination, but to pick such a lovely, hardworking professional is unacceptable.

  5. A repeat of MAFS in the morning when the kids are up? also doubt it’s M rating will allow it to air in the Morning.

    Axing Today and handing the Audience to 7 isn’t an option for 9, However if they did dumped the show it would be a good chance for 10 to try and grab those viewers with a new breakfast show of their own.

    My guess is 9 will give them a year to see what happens and possibly hit the refresh button again in 2020. I don’t think Today will ever be the show it once was, They left Karl on the air for way to long and in fact should have pulled him from the show years ago. Today is sadly six feet under and oxygen is running out. I don’t think anything will save it at this point.

    From the bits I’ve seen the on air team where thrown together and I don’t think 9 tested to see how they would work together. I don’t Georgie is an Ice-Maiden I just think she is a very…

    • Sure, I did say —‘eg’ MAFS.– but I agree its not the best example, although it would be the ‘kids’ version, there are many others that would be ale to rate better than Today. As for Georgie, she is lovely in every way. Why do people have to knock her personally when she gets the hosting done as well as anyone else. It should be about the choice of stories, not presenters.

      • A kids version of MAFS? that is a show kids should not be subjected to.

        I agree Georgie is great but I think people forget she is a journalist and has a very professional stance I think. She isn’t a clown like Karl. She actually has respect for the show and the viewers. she isn’t the reason the show is stuffed. Karl is, the Execs who wouldn’t fire Karl are to blame. The show may never recover or be as big as it once was

  6. It is ridiculous to expect Today to suddenly be a ratings success. It has been a month. The Stefenovics were toxic and had to go. Georgie and Deb are a good combination and Stevie’s return is a huge plus. However, Steinfort is terrible and Tony Jones is polarising on the rare occasions he actually appears. Replace both of them and things will improve markedly.

  7. How low do you go before abandoning the news show altogether. An early morning repeat of eg-MAFS, would rate easily better. There are a lot of shift workers out here.

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