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.