Despite plummeting ratings and his headline-grabbing personal life, embattled Today host Karl Stefanovic will be keeping his job on breakfast television.
The unexpected decision was announced last week at Channel Nine’s annual Upfront event, sending shockwaves through the industry. However, insiders reveal that Karl’s bosses have been advised that giving the 44-year-old the boot is not in their best interests.
Having worked on Today for more than 13 years, Karl has barely taken any holidays until recent times or any sick leave.
Now, the network has taken heed of a serious legal loophole, which could cost them millions.
“There is every chance Karl has a solid case against them,” says our industry insider.
“He has a profile because of the job and while no-one realised how harsh the public backlash would be around his bitter divorce, the executives have been warned that the long hours and sometimes weeks on the road for filming could have contributed to the breakdown in his relationship with Cassandra and it could end up costing them $20 million.”
Standing by the star and hoping to avoid a costly court battle, Nine has instead decided to ramp up the “Karl’s Comeback” publicity campaign in the hope of winning back viewers.
“Karl is also going to front This Time Next Year again in 2019, and it is hoped that the feel good show, which is often a tearjerker, will start to change people’s perceptions of him,” says the source.
“There are lots of other new projects and segments on the Today show planned, too.”
But while Karl is undoubtedly relieved that his job is safe for the time being, his second chance has come at a cost.
"Karl will take a long break over summer and will come back a married man. Then they are going to pull out all the stops in promoting him.”
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.