“He is a sacrificial lamb really,” says the close source. “When they decided to keep Karl on for a little while longer, they need to make a point and make some big changes because they are losing viewers by the day.”
After revealing he hated his job and felt like the role was “sucking the life from him,” it surprised many that the former international correspondent has continued to work alongside the same people he complained about for this long.
But with his contract coming to an end this week and the recent departure of the shows boss Mark Calvert, staffers all knew the Weekend Today host would be the next to go.
And with interstate coverage being planned for mid January and Peter’s name absent from the line up, co-workers were only too aware an announcement was imminent.
“They started the roster for the tennis coverage in Melbourne and Pete was not on the list,” says the source. “No travel or accommodation has been booked for him despite the fact he was currently hosting the show and their grand plan was to broadcast the breakfast television shows live from Victoria so it was obvious.”
And while it’s not known if Pete was offered the opportunity to keep his role in the news department friends say it wouldn’t have worked.
“He couldn’t go back to that,” they say. “He needed to put his home life first. So he jumped but maybe it was before he was pushed?”
Married to co-host Sylvia Jeffreys, whose gruelling 3am starts throughout the year, would leave the couple in an impossible situation.
“That’s what started this whole thing to begin with,” says the friend. “Pete was in the Uber complaining to Karl that he didn’t like that job at news and that he and Sylvia hardly saw each other. He was frustrated and admitted taking it out on her. They have been married a couple of years now and want to start a family but working completely different hours was stressful.”
Following the news of his departure from Nine, Peter claimed he was looking forward to "exploring new opportunities."
In a statement, the young brother of Karl Stefanovic said he had “an amazing time at Nine being a foreign correspondent, news reporter and covering some amazing stories for 60 Minutes."
“I’ll miss my friends at Nine very much, it has been a huge privilege to work alongside so many great people,” he added.
A Nine spokesman confirmed Stefanovic was leaving the network after 15 years, news.com.au reports.
“Nine and reporter Peter Stefanovic have mutually decided to part ways after 15 years,” a Nine spokesperson told the publication.
“Peter has decided to explore new opportunities and is looking forward to spending weekends with his wife.
“He has been a respected member of the Nine News team and Weekend Today, and we wish him all the best for the future.”