CELEBRITY

Radio cover up! Karl Stefanovic’s fight for Ben Fordham’s job

The Today star has never been more eager to jump ship to radio.
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August 31st – that’s the day everything could change for co-workers and good mates, Karl Stefanovic and Ben Fordham.

The date brings in the next round of radio survey results for Nine’s 2GB. And if Ben’s breakfast show numbers slip once again, insiders reckon Karl will be ready to strike!

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Despite Today picking up ratings over the last few weeks, insiders claim co-host Karl will “stop at nothing” to save himself from any looming cuts and has quietly been eyeing off Ben’s chair as part of a possible exit strategy from TV.

“What a lot of people don’t know is he’s had an axe to grind with Ben for years – not in a nasty way, but he sees Ben as the picture-perfect package,” explains the source, who adds that Karl has often admired Ben as a “huge mover and shaker in the media industry”.

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Apparently, Karl has had an axe to grind with Ben for many years now. (Credit: Getty)

In June, Ben, 44, took on the unenviable task of replacing the polarising, but popular, Alan Jones. But he hasn’t always proven to be a hit with 2GB listeners.

With Ben at the helm, market share dropped from 17.9% in Alan’s final survey to 13.3 per cent in the most recent survey, with KIIS FM rivals Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson surging 2.6 points to 15.5 per cent, winning the top spot earlier this year.

“The pressure is on Ben, and he knows it – plus, Karl swooping in wouldn’t make things any easier. Karl sees Ben’s job as a possible escape plan from the cutthroat world of brekkie TV,” explains the source.

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“Karl sees Ben’s job as a possible escape plan from the cutthroat world of brekkie TV,” explained a source. (Credit: Getty)

Despite Karl’s dreams of taking over one day, he could face a battle convincing his Nine Network bosses.

Meanwhile, it’s believed Nine’s radio bigwig, Tom Malone, is in fact one of Ben’s best mates, with the pair formerly attending the same high school, Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview, in Sydney.

“There’s a running joke that 2GB has become ‘Radio Riverview’. Karl will never break that bond.”

Another ironic twist is said to be that because Ben is so favoured at the network, those in charge consider him “a frontrunner” to replace Karl, 47, on Today one day. 

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“The truth is, Ben is rightly worried about the next radio survey – but, he’s been assured by everyone at Nine that they are backing him up and whatever happens, he will always have a primetime gig,” says the insider.

“Karl can see his radio dreams slipping away every day, so he’s also looking at other timeslots – but there’s not one opening available,” the source adds.

With rumours swirling that Ben’s 2GB colleague and former Today co-host, Deborah Knight, might be on the out, as her radio contract is set to expire, the source maintains Deb’s job has no interest for Karl.

“He wants the big bucks, and that’s Ben’s seat,” the source says, jokingly. “It’s Ben or bust at this stage!”

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