The breakfast TV ratings war took a surprise turn earlier this month when Today defeated Sunrise for the first time in three years – leaving Seven bosses blindsided.
And Sunrise executives are now holding ‘crisis talks’ at the network’s Sydney headquarters as they plan a series of ‘drastic measures’ to reclaim the ratings crown.
Nine’s Today show had claimed victory on September 15 after pulling in 248,000 metro viewers, while Sunrise lagged behind with 237,000.
Panic mode: Sunrise executives are said to be holding ‘crisis talks’ at Channel Seven’s Sydney headquarters after Nine’s Today show won the breakfast TV ratings earlier this month for the first time in three years. Pictured: Sunrise hosts: Natalie Barr and David ‘Kochie’ Koch
It was program’s first ratings victory over Sunrise since Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon teamed up as co-anchors early last year.
The loss was particularly painful for Seven, as Sunrise had aired a highly publicised interview with Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle Snr, on the same day.
The network had actually paid Markle for the interview, only to apologise the following day after he made defamatory claims live on air.
‘The gap has been narrowing for a while, and while Seven relaxed and dropped their guard, Nine came along and pipped them at the post!’ an insider told Woman’s Day.
Winners are grinners! Today had claimed victory on September 15 after pulling in 248,000 metro viewers, while Sunrise lagged behind with 237,000. It was show’s first ratings victory since Karl Stefanovic (left) and Allison Langdon (right) teamed up as co-anchors early last year
‘No one saw this coming, least of all Nat and Kochie who thought they were cruising to their fourth year in a row as number one,’ they added.
Seven are apparently hoping to beat Today at its own game by airing more interesting and edgy content that will spark conversation on social media – a tactic for which Ally and Karl are well known.
The future of Sunrise co-host David ‘Kochie’ Koch has also reportedly been called into question, an insider claiming the 65-year-old ‘hit a wall’ two weeks ago and could be poised to resign.
Blindsided: ‘No one saw this coming, least of all Nat and Kochie who thought they were cruising to their fourth year in a row as number one,’ a Woman’s Day magazine insider said on Monday
Just last week, Kochie’s co-host Natalie Barr, 53, was forced to open the show by herself at 5:30am after Kochie misread the time and walked off set to record a voice package, not realising the pair were live on air.
Today has slowly been gaining on Sunrise in recent months.
In June, Karl and Ally told TV Week that beginning their tenure during the catastrophic Australian bushfires – followed by the Covid pandemic – was ‘the best thing’ for the relaunched show.
Plan of attack: Seven are apparently hoping to beat Today at its own game by airing more interesting and edgy content that will spark conversation on social media – a tactic for which Ally and Karl are well known
‘The focus was the story, as opposed to us and our relationship,’ Allison said.
Karl, meanwhile, described the timing as ‘probably the best thing for us to try to cement what we were going to be to the Australian public’.
The veteran journalist then explained he wanted to be serious first, and entertaining second.
However, the duo conceded that despite making some inroads, they were still trailing their Channel Seven rival Sunrise in the ratings.
Karl, who is already on his second go-around on the breakfast show, admitted if they didn’t start winning the ratings battle, he’d ‘be off the show again’.
Gaining: Today has slowly been gaining on Sunrise in recent weeks
Nine had sacked Stefanovic shortly after his ‘lavish’ second wedding in Mexico amid speculation female viewers didn’t like him leaving his first wife for a younger woman.
The news anchor had been married to journalist Cassandra Thorburn for 21 years and he has three children aged 13 to 20 with the 50-year-old.
The couple split in 2016 and in 2018 he married shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough, 37.
Team: In June, Karl and Allison admitted that beginning their tenure during the catastrophic Australian bushfires – followed by the pandemic – was ‘the best thing’ for the relaunched show
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