Today (Australian TV program)
Today is an Australian breakfast television program, currently hosted by Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon. It has been broadcast live on the Nine Network since 1982. The show airs after Nine News: Early Edition and runs from 5:30 am to 9:00 am before Today Extra. The show is broadcast from the Nine Network studios in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales.
|Genre||Breakfast news program|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||33|
|Executive producer(s)||Steven Burling|
|Production location(s)||Sydney, New South Wales|
|Running time||210 minutes (3.5 hours)|
|Original network||Nine Network|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||28 June 1982 - present|
|Related shows||Weekend Today|
Officially launched as The National Today Show, Today is Australia's longest running morning breakfast news program. The show premiered on 28 June 1982. The original hosts, Steve Liebmann and Sue Kellaway, spent four years together before Liebmann left to present the evening news for Network Ten in Sydney. Former 60 Minutes reporter George Negus took over the male presenting role. After four years, Liebmann returned to the Nine Network, hosting Today with Liz Hayes and Tracy Grimshaw. However, in December 2004, Liebmann had a mild heart attack, prompting him to retire from breakfast television.
In 2005, National Nine News reporter Karl Stefanovic replaced Liebmann as co-host. Tracy Grimshaw left Today at the end of 2005 to replace Ray Martin as host of A Current Affair. While it had been widely speculated in the Australian press that Seven News presenter Chris Bath would co-host Today with Karl Stefanovic from January 2006, the position instead went to former Ten News presenter Jessica Rowe. Rowe had mixed beginnings as the co-host of Today with some viewers and commentators criticising her because of her dress-sense and her apparent over-happiness, citing her constant nervous laughter. Following her court case against Network Ten, Rowe was subjected to comments from the media and viewers that she should be sacked and was not right for the role of Today. Rowe's replacements while on maternity leave were Sarah Murdoch and Kellie Sloane, who both saw a significant increases in ratings. They both presented until Rowe's departure from the show, when the Nine Network released a press statement on 5 May 2007 saying that Rowe had left the Nine Network to "take up other opportunities for her career".
In May 2007, former co-host of Weekend Sunrise, Lisa Wilkinson, took over the female co-hosting duties. In October 2017, Wilkinson resigned effective immediately from the network due to contract negotiations failing. She finished on the show on 16 October 2017. It was later announced that Wilkinson would join Network Ten and The Project as a senior host and editor. Deborah Knight temporarily replaced Wilkinson until Georgie Gardner, who previously regularly appeared on the program as its news presenter, was announced as a permanent replacement host. Gardner commenced hosting Today in January 2018.
On 5 January 2019, the Nine Network announced that Deborah Knight would join Georgie Gardner as co-host replacing Stefanovic. It was also announced that Tom Steinfort would replace Sylvia Jeffreys as news presenter and Tony Jones would replace Tim Gilbert as sports presenter and Brooke Boney would become entertainment presenter, working alongside Richard Wilkins. The new team began on 14 January 2019. In February 2019 it was announced that Natalia Cooper would not return to the show after her maternity leave, with Steven Jacobs becoming weather presenter once again.
The revamped line-up attracted constant media scrutiny and struggled to attain viewers – at times recording record-low ratings. It has been noted by some commentators however that the viewership gap with Sunrise was actually higher in Wilkinson's first year as co-host in 2007, with the audience building over time to eventually overtake Sunrise. The lower ratings were also contributed to the fact that overall television audiences had decreased in comparison with prior years.
In November 2019, the Nine Network announced that Karl Stefanovic would return to the show as co-host alongside Weekend Today co-host and 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon from January 2020. Both Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight remained with the Nine Network with Gardner leaving the show immediately.
In December 2019, it was announced that Tracy Vo will replace Tom Steinfort as news presenter, Alex Cullen would replace Tony Jones as sports presenter and Tim Davies will replace Steven Jacobs as weather presenter In March 2020, Tracy Vo permanently returned to Perth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alex Cullen now presents both news and sport.
By September 2020, after "three tumultuous years, a dozen line up changes and one sensational backflip" the Today Show had more east coast viewers than Sunrise and had its closest five-city result compared to Sunrise since Lisa Wilkinson was Karl's co-host in 2017, trailing by just 8,000 viewers with media personalities Karl and Ally in the co-host chairs.
Today Extra: 2016–presentEdit
In January 2016, Nine announced that Mornings would be rebranded as Today Extra to become an extension of the network's breakfast show Today. The show was moved to the Today studio, while keeping its focus on light entertainment and news updates.
In January 2019, Campbell was announced the new host of Weekend Today. He will continue to host the program on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with Richard Wilkins joining the show as co-host on Thursdays and Fridays.
In December 2019, it was announced that Sylvia Jeffreys will replace Sonia Kruger permanently upon her return from maternity leave in 2020. David Campbell will return to hosting the show each weekday, with Richard Wilkins moving to host Weekend Today.
Weekend Today: 2009–presentEdit
In January 2009, David Gyngell, chief executive of the Nine Network, and John Westacott, former head of news and current affairs, announced that Today would begin broadcasting on Sunday mornings. The program, entitled Today on Sunday, competes in the same timeslot as the Seven Network's Weekend Sunrise, which dominates Sunday morning television. The show launched on 1 February 2009 and the original team consisted of Cameron Williams and Leila McKinnon with the news presented by Amber Sherlock and the sport was presented by Tim Gilbert on Saturday and Michael Slater on Sunday.
On 2 May 2009, after the launch of Today on Sunday Australia, the Nine Network announced through a surprise edition that Today on Saturday Australia would return. The program incorporates the same presenting team as the Sunday edition, being the first Australian breakfast news program to broadcast seven days a week. Due to the launch of the Saturday version of the program, the Nine Network renamed the programs as Today: Weekend Edition Australia. David Gyngell said that the launch of the weekend editions were a part of the Nine Network's plans to strengthen its news and current affairs department and return viewers to its once leading service. In July 2009, Today: Weekend Edition Australia was renamed as Weekend Today. In September 2012, Weekend Today was extended to three hours on Saturday.
In December 2017, Deborah Knight was appointed as host of Nine News Sydney on Friday and Saturday nights. She replaced Georgie Gardner who replaced Lisa Wilkinson on Today. It was later announced that 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon would replace Knight on Weekend Today. Peter Stefanovic also returned as host replacing Tom Steinfort who will become a reporter on 60 Minutes.
In December 2019, Richard Wilkins and Rebecca Maddern were announced as co-hosts of Weekend Today from January 2020 replacing both David Campbell and Allison Langdon. Jayne Azzopardi will continue as news presenter, while Lauren Phillips will join the show as weather presenter.
Today on Saturday: 1992–2002Edit
After the initial success of Today, a Saturday edition was produced in the early nineties. Hosted by Tracy Grimshaw, it featured more news, politics and economic reports. Tracy Grimshaw was later followed by Tara Brown and Richard Wilkins, before reporter Helen Dalley joined the program in 1996. These hosts were accompanied by news presenters Michael Usher, Anna Coren and Mark Burrows. In 2002, Today on Saturday Australia was cancelled due to budget cuts by the Nine Network.
25th anniversary: 2007Edit
Today celebrated its 25th year of broadcasting, on 28 June 2007, by travelling to five different Australian cities in one week, something which had never been before attempted by an Australian television show. Former Today presenters and musical guests were involved.
On the official day marking the 25th anniversary, past Today presenters who made an appearance included Ian Ross, Tracy Grimshaw, Monte Dwyer, Liz Hayes and Helen Dalley. Sami Lukis, who replaced Monte Dwyer, did not appear, nor did original co-host Sue Kellaway. Original co-host Steve Liebmann was also unable to attend, nor was current weather presenter Steven Jacobs, however video messages from both were aired.
30th anniversary: 2012Edit
In 2012, Today celebrated its 30th anniversary. The show began the year by unveiling a new set, logo and graphics.
In September, Today held a week-long celebration which included flashbacks from earlier episodes and live appearances by former hosts such as Steve Liebmann, Sue Kellaway, Tracy Grimshaw, Monte Dwyer and Sarah Murdoch. Liz Hayes was unable to join the show due to being on assignment with 60 Minutes but shared her memories in a prerecorded message. Video messages were also left by Brian Bury, George Negus and Joan McInnes
Today, an offshoot of Nine News, predominantly presents news, sport, weather, entertainment and current affairs, focusing on the first news of the day. However the show also features topics including consumer affairs, health, politics, education, fashion, and the business and finance world. The show has daily feedback and topic segments for viewers to send in their thoughts and opinions via email, text messages and the show's website.
Initially, the program was only a two-hour broadcast, airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. After dropping Nine Early Morning News, the network moved Today to a 6:00 am start. Again, as part of the 2008–2009 Nine News brand's major expansion, in 2008 the show was changed to a three and a half-hour format, starting at 5.30 am to now "perfect match" breakfast radio stations. This move included an extended news, sport, finance and weather segment prior to the main program at 6:00 am. Weekend Today airs on both Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.
|Karl Stefanovic||Co-host||2005–2018; 2020–present|
|Alex Cullen||News & Sport||2020–present|
The main presenters of Today have included:
|1982–1985||Steve Liebmann||Sue Kellaway|
|2020–present||Karl Stefanovic||Allison Langdon|
David Campbell, Deborah Knight, Lara Vella and Brenton Ragless are main fill-in presenters. Substitutes that present usually over summer include; Richard Wilkins, Jayne Azzopardi, Wendy Kingston, Tom Steinfort, David Campbell, Chris Uhlmann, Brenton Ragless, Alicia Loxley or Lara Vella.
Substitute presenters in recent years have included Ben Fordham, Cameron Williams, Kellie Sloane, Tim McMillan, Sarah Murdoch, Sharyn Ghidella, Leila McKinnon, Kim Watkins, Helen Dalley, Ellen Fanning, Ali Moore, Michael Pascoe, Peter FitzSimons, Peter Overton, Ross Greenwood, Michael Usher, Ken Sutcliffe, Mark Ferguson, Jennifer Keyte, Garry Lyon, Eddie McGuire, Allison Langdon and even Clive James on one occasion while the show was broadcasting from London. The former Premier of Victoria, Joan Kirner, presented the show on one occasion.
The idea of providing the latest news has been critical to the function of the program. Under the current format, seven main bulletins are delivered, once every half-hour.
|Sharyn Ghidella||2001–2005, 2005–2006|
|Leila McKinnon||February 2005 – June 2005|
|Tracy Vo||January 2020 – March 2020|
|Alex Cullen||March 2020 – present|
Today Perth news presenters:
- Tim McMillan (2014 – 2015)
- Tracy Vo (2016 – 2017)
- Louise Momber (2018 – 2019)
- Michael Genovese (2020)
In July 2009, Georgie Gardner was appointed Nine News Sydney presenter on Friday and Saturday nights, she juggled her commitments with Today and presented the news from Tuesday to Friday. The Weekend Today news presenter would present the news on Monday. These news presenters have included Amber Sherlock (2009-2010), Alicia Loxley (2010-2011) and Deborah Knight (2011-2014).
In 2014, Sylvia Jeffreys was appointed news presenter on Today replacing Gardner. Given that Sylvia would not be required to balance her role with any additional roles within the network, she was able to commit to the program five days per week, meaning the specialised Monday morning news presenting role was no longer needed.
Today Perth local news inserts were introduced in March 2014, but were axed in May 2020.
Jayne Azzopardi, Lara Vella, Mark Burrows, Brett McLeod, Charles Croucher, and Brenton Ragless are the main fill-in news presenters.
Amelia Adams, Amber Sherlock, Wendy Kingston, Kim Watkins, Ben Fordham, Peter Stefanovic, Vicky Jardim, Majella Wiemers, Helen Kapalos, Heather Foord, Peter Overton, Aislin Kriukelis, Allison Langdon, Alex Cullen and Mark Ferguson have all among others presented the news on occasions.
Alex Cullen currently presents the finance news after presenting the news.
Alex Cullen currently presents sports news after the news bulletin every half-hour. In 2006, Cameron Williams was appointed as the inaugural sports presenter previously the news presenter would present sport headlines. Williams presented sport from 2006 until 2010, leaving the role to focus on co-hosting Weekend Today and Nine News. Ben Fordham presented sport from 2011 until 2014. He left to focus on his family and 2GB radio show. In January 2019, Tony Jones was announced as Gilbert's replacement. Jones remained in the position until his resignation in November 2019. In December 2019, it was announced that Alex Cullen will replace Tony Jones as sport presenter permanently from January 2020.
|Andrew Voss||Tuesday – Thursday, 2009|
|Georgie Gardner||Tuesday – Thursday, 2010|
Tim Davies currently presents the weather after each news and sport bulletin, every half-hour.
|Steven Jacobs||2005–2016; 2019|
Lauren Phillips, Alex Heinke, Abby Coleman, Julie Snook, Rose Jacobs, Emma Freedman, Amelia Adams, Sylvia Jeffreys, Giaan Rooney, Gorgi Coghlan, Dave Kirwan, Jaynie Seal, Livinia Nixon and Majella Wiemers have all presented the weather on various occasions.
Today's entertainment presenter, Richard Wilkins (Nine Network's entertainment editor), presents daily features, interviews, movie and television reviews from across the world of show business. In December 2018, it was announced that Brooke Boney would join Today as an entertainment reporter and will work alongside Wilkins. In December 2019, it was announced that Boney would remain as entertainment reporter with Richard Wilkins moving across to co-host Weekend Today
Traffic reports are shown at regular intervals during the show, and are presented in some cities from a local helicopter. Traffic reports only air into the metropolitan regions of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. They are produced and presented by traffic reporters from the Australian Traffic Network.
From 2004 to 2007, Sunrise won the ratings battle, defeating Today by 62% between January and May 2007. However, during 2007, Today slightly improved its ratings and made audience gains, and made a 9% rise from 2006 between 7am and 9am, and a 16% increase in the key 6am to 7am news hour. In contrast, Sunrise fell 4% year-on-year in the 7am to 9am timeslot. Since Lisa Wilkinson joined Today in May 2007, the program constistingly defeated Sunrise in Melbourne.
On Good Friday 2009, Today defeated Sunrise for the first time in five years. Over the next four years, Today continued to make inroads on Sunrise, defeating them for a weekly win in June 2011 for the first time in seven years, and winning Sydney in 2012. However, upon Samantha Armytage's appointment as host of Sunrise in August 2013, Today's rating slipped for the next two years.
After Sunrise reclaimed the ratings crown in 2017, the program's ratings slipped significantly in 2018, due to negative headlines surrounding co-host Karl Stefanovic. After Stefanovic was axed at the end of that year, the ratings for Today slipped even further in 2019, often posing record low ratings.
Due to the fact that Australia has more than one time zone, Today is not broadcast live to the entire nation.
During daylight saving time, Queensland receives Today delayed by one hour. However, in 2007, Today began a trial and aired live into Queensland between 5:00 – 8.30am, with an extra Queensland-only half-hour. This was unsuccessful, and in 2008 the show returned to its previous delayed telecast.
Some parts of South Australia are also delayed by thirty minutes, and in Western Australia, the program is delayed by two hours during winter and three hours during daylight saving time.
In the case of major breaking news (e.g. cyclone), the program goes live into the state to help provide residents with up-to-date information.
Other national and international broadcastsEdit
Even though the name of the show is the same as America's NBC Today Show, it has no link to its American namesake; in fact, due to affiliate agreements, Nine airs ABC's Good Morning America, one of the American program's chief competitors, between 4.00 and 5.00am. Today's rival on the Seven Network, Sunrise, follows the American NBC Today Show format, including a streetside studio. The Seven Network airs a condensed version of the American programme between 4.00 and 5.00am, preceding Sunrise, which is titled NBC Today in program listings to avert confusion.
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- Longest Breakfast Program – Commonwealth Bank, 31 August 2007.
- Liebmann Heart Attack – Heart Research, 10 May 2005
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- Anniversary – Throng, 30 May 2007
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- Knox, David (13 October 2015). "House Husbands Finale Strong Buts Seven Wins Monday". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
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- Knox, David (24 September 2018). "Hugh Marks Backs Karl Amid Media Rumours". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
- Live At Five In Queensland – Today Website, 19 October 2007
- Broadcast Locations – Pjreview, 10 September 2004
- Affiliate Agreements – Transdiffusion, 7 November 2007