Why is gender to blame for Today?

Can Today really fix its problems with a quick gender switcheroo?

Nine yesterday pointed the finger at gender as the reason behind its failed 2019 season of Today.

“We took a bold decision to try something new with two women hosting the Today Show this year and regrettably that has not worked for the audience,” said Nine News boss Darren Wick.

Meanwhile Sam Armytage and Natalie Barr have happily co-hosted Sunrise together when David Koch is absent.

The Circle ran on 10 for three seasons, from an 8:30 start, with various hosts Chrissie Swan, Gorgi Coghlan, Yumi Stynes, Denise Drysdale and later Colin Lane as guest host.

But while it’s fair to say while TV is almost universally presented with two genders where there is a duo, it’s also arguable chemistry outweighs gender. And that’s where Today had an uphill battle. Three hours of Live telly allows for nowhere to hide.

It’s also why teams like Karl & Lisa, Kochie & Mel, Larry & Kylie, Michael Rowland & Virginia Trioli, Steve Liebmann & Liz Hayes, Gordon Elliott and Kerri-Anne Kennerley enjoyed years together -and Sunrise twice with Kochie & Sam.

Footage of the Today team, first highlighted by news.com.au, in which a live cross with Tony Jones fell flat, preceded Nine’s about face. Did TJ ever gel with this team assembled over summer? And how could he when he was “linking it in” due to clear Melbourne commitments? Friday was not his finest moment…

The current team, assembled after Karl Stefanovic was dumped due to negative headlines and friction with Georgie Gardner, tried all year to find the magic. They were under immense media scrutiny, including by newspapers that have not been favourable to Nine of late.

But breakfast TV is, like all TV, a collaborative work in progress. Changing to Karl Stefanovic & Allison Langdon should at least enable for viewers to reconsider Today.

But Nine will also need to look deeper under the hood than a quick change of gender.

25 Responses

  1. I think it’s wrong to blame gender. They did a massive revamp and it didn’t work out. Simple as that.

    When Sam and Nat do Sunrise it just flows with them. Maybe it’s the team around them. I mean Beretts you would never have a problem with and whoever reads the news just fits right in. Compare that to Tony Jones and he does have a habit of making things awkward.

    I suspect when Karl come back the ratings will hugely increase as people will be curious.

  2. For me gender is not the issue with Today, it’s chemistry and Karl is definitely not the solution. Nine are silly to bring him back. There was a reason he was dropped from the show in the first place. The group as a whole just didn’t gel. I think as individuals Deb and Georgie are great but they just didn’t have chemistry that’s all. As for Tony Jones imo he shouldn’t have even been there. They got it so wrong. The newsreader too. I certainly won’t be watching today with Karl back. I’ll stick to ABC.

  3. I’m not a fan of two female presenters when it happens on the ABC, but it is usually only random shows. I’m also not a fan of two males either. What I find is that the viewpoints don’t gel together well. Instead of being complimentary, and offering points from varying points of view, often they sound like an echo chamber. This especially happens with females when they bring every story back to being all about female empowerment.

    I like the balance of sexes in a presenting pair, or in a presenting team.

  4. It’s amazing nine is trying to shift the blame off themselves to the viewers for not embracing their so called bold decision…take a hard look in the mirror guys and own up to your massive stuff up …Georgie has zero charisma. Deb knight is more down to earth but Tom had all the presence of a dime store Indian. But if they reckon Karl is the answer then it proves nine management are grasping at straws.

  5. There needs to be the right chemistry between the hosts / panel on any show. Obviously the chemistry on “Today” wasn’t right and wasn’t popular. There needs to be the right “feel” to the show and the right mix of hosts / panel is the most important thing to make a show work.

  6. More to do with a lack of chemistry they have zero personality.one needs presenters that are quick witted fun outgoing can have a laugh crack a joke .its breakfast TV .they are newsreaders after all says it all

  7. None of those presenters seemed to like TJ male or female. And no comeraderie at all. Yes, you don’t eat Skippy. There just seemed a lot of bitchieness. Nine was right to look for better hosts. It’s both a chemistry and a gender thing.

  8. The Sad fact is, people who watch 7 or Nine want a man in the main chair when it comes to news. Yesterday I heard someone say, why is there a women hosting the races, switch to racing.com channel.
    Ten has women news readers……look at the ratings.

  9. I don’t think it’s gender per se that is the issue. I agree with others who consider it a chemistry thing. And as David points out with 3 hours 5 days a week it is really amplified if there’s issues, whatever is not working. I think it’s a myriad of factors at play. Admittedly I have only watched ABC News Breakfast for about 6 years since switching from 9. I have never liked 7s tone or choices. When Virginia co hosted with Del or Lisa I really enjoyed it. It is for me about the pairing. Some guest hosts on News Breakfast haven’t worked for me but for an ep or two it’s fine. But a whole year or more? Gotta get it sorted. If nothing else returning Karl will bring in more eyeballs and media scrutiny. At least for a while. But not I.

    1. I think you make some really good points…I also watch ABC and yes sometimes not altogether happy with the parings but it does pass quickly….Today…right now …Miriam Corowa and Kirsten Aiken are rocking it…admittedly not 3×5 weekly..but I agree a lot more than just gender issues on 9…

  10. I don’t think Deb and Georgie where the issue, they both have a history with the Today show and I believe they each filled in for Karl working alongside Lisa and in fact I am pretty sure both Deb and Georgie had hosted together before they became permanent host’s together.

    The biggest issues where the lack of chemistry, they obviously didn’t do much work together before they went to air together for the first time. The other issue was Tom, Brook and Tony, three almost unknown people joining the show. they should have left everyone in their roles and just replaced Karl.

  11. Morning shows are a bit of a media game in my opinion, both Nine and Seven use hype to promote brand predominance and follow trends commonly seen on American news shows to achieve that aim, especially promoting photogenic alpha male and female hosts who also like to be seen as serious journalists. Pretence and status is usually what causes a breakdown in team harmony first, the success of Sunrise has a lot to do with everyone knowing their place, perhaps Today should think about that.

      1. That’s right, if dull and not a cohesive team then viewers notice and switch away, more like poor management decision making than anything else, but blaming the viewers for not supporting such a dull lot.

  12. Since Nine bought Fairfax their coverage in the News Limited papers has been highly one sided.
    It’s just what News Limited do…. they pick a side (usually one that benefits themselves) and they hammer their point of view.
    A lot of the criticism of presenters has been personal and uncalled for. The network picked the wrong people for the job, but they were pushed by the public. Karl was on the nose at the time. We will see if he has changed and the public will embrace him again. For Deborah Knight to be unconfirmed in a role at the moment is ridiculous.. she is one of the hardest working people at the network. Hopefully something is being lined up for her.

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