Today (Australian TV program)
Today logo used since 30 January 2012
|Also known as||The Today Show|
|Genre||Breakfast News Program|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||34|
|No. of episodes||8,012 (as of 30 May 2014)|
|Executive producer(s)||Mark Calvert|
|Location(s)||Willoughby, New South Wales|
|Running time||210 minutes (3.5 hours)|
|Original channel||Nine Network|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original run||28 June 1982 – present|
|Related shows||Weekend Today|
- 1 History
- 2 Format
- 3 Presenters
- 4 Traffic
- 5 Competition with Sunrise
- 6 Broadcasting
- 7 Logos
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Officially launched as The National Today Show, Today is Australia's longest running morning breakfast news program. The show premiered on 28 June 1982 and celebrated 25 years of broadcasting in 2007.
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 suffered a mild heart attack, prompting him to retire from breakfast television. In 2005, National Nine News reporter Karl Stefanovic replaced Liebmann as co-host. 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 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 attacking 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 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.
25th Anniversary: 2007
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.
Today on Saturday: 1992–2002
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. 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 was cancelled due to budget cuts by the network.
Weekend Today: 2009-present
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, the Nine Network announced through a surprise edition that Today on Saturday 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. 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 was renamed as Weekend Today.
In September 2012, Weekend Today was extended to three hours on Saturday.
30th Anniversary: 2012
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 that 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 pre-recorded message.
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 7am to 9am. After dropping Nine Early Morning News, the network moved Today to a 6am 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 5.30am to now "perfect match" breakfast radio stations. This move included an extended news, sport, finance and weather segment prior to the main program at 6am. Weekend Today airs on both Saturday and Sunday from 7am, both concluding at 10am.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2012)|
|Richard Wilkins||Entertainment editor||1987–present|
|Libby Trickett||Health & Lifestyle|
|Ross Greenwood||Finance editor|
|Nikki Gemmell||Mixed Grill|
|Mia Freedman||Mixed Grill|
|Jacinta Tynan||Mixed Grill|
|Melinda Gainsford-Taylor||Mixed Grill|
|Sonia Kruger||Mixed Grill|
|Jo Stanley||Mixed Grill|
|Candice Falzon||Mixed Grill|
|Gretel Killeen||Mixed Grill|
|David Campbell||Mixed Grill|
|Jean Kittson||Mixed Grill|
|Livinia Nixon||Mixed Grill|
|Glenn A. Baker||Music|
|Neil Mitchell||What's Making News|
|Ray Hadley||What's Making News|
The main presenters of Today have included:
- Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson (2007–present)
- Karl Stefanovic and Jessica Rowe (2006)
- Karl Stefanovic and Tracy Grimshaw (2005)
- Steve Liebmann and Tracy Grimshaw (1996–2005)
- Steve Liebmann and Liz Hayes (1990–96)
- George Negus and Liz Hayes (1987–90)
- Steve Liebmann and Liz Hayes (1986-87)
- Steve Liebmann and Patrice Newell (1986)
- Steve Liebmann and Sue Kellaway (1982–85)
Georgie Gardner is the main substitute presenter for Lisa Wilkinson, Ben Fordham or Deborah Knight will sometimes also fill-in for Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson. Substitutes that present usually over summer include; Cameron Williams, Richard Wilkins, Wendy Kingston, Allison Langdon or Alicia Loxley
Substitute presenters in recent years have included Kellie Sloane, Sarah Murdoch, Sharyn Ghidella, Leila McKinnon, Kim Watkins, Helen Dalley, Ellen Fanning, Ali Moore, Michael Pascoe, Peter FitzSimons, Peter Overton, Michael Usher, Ken Sutcliffe, Mark Ferguson, Jennifer Keyte, Garry Lyon, Eddie McGuire, 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.
News presenters have included:
- Eric Walters (1982–90)
- Ian Ross (1991–2000)
- Sharyn Ghidella (2001–06)
- Leila McKinnon (2005)
- Georgie Gardner (2006–14)
- Kellie Sloane (2007)
- Allison Langdon (2007)
- Sylvia Jeffreys (2014–present)
In July 2009, Georgie Gardner was appointed Nine News Sydney presenter on Friday and Saturday nights, she juggled her commitments with Today news presenter. This meant that she was only able to commit to her role on Today 4 days of the week. Therefore, the Weekend Today news presenter would present news on the Monday edition of Today as well. The Monday morning news presenters have included Amber Sherlock (2009-2010), Alicia Loxley (2010-2011) and Deborah Knight (2011-2014). In 2014, Sylvia Jeffreys took over from Gardner as news presenter on Today. 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 5 days per week, meaning the specialised Monday morning news presenting role was no longer needed.
Deborah Knight, Wendy Kingston, Alicia Loxley, and Amelia Adams are the main fill-in news presenters. Vicky Jardim, Majella Wiemers, Kim Watkins, Ben Fordham, Helen Kapalos, Heather Foord, Peter Overton and Mark Ferguson have all among others presented the news on occasions.
Finance editor Ross Greenwood presents "Money Minute" on weekdays well as financial stories. Amber Sherlock joined as finance reporter in 2007. In 2009, Sherlock presented finance reports from Mondays to Wednesdays.. Currently, Sylvia Jeffreys presents the finance after presenting the news.
Tim Gilbert 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. Cameron Williams presented sport from 2006 until 2010 however left 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.
Sports presenters have included:
- Cameron Williams (2006–10)
- Andrew Voss (2009)
- Georgie Gardner (2010)
- Ben Fordham (2011–14)
- Tim Gilbert (2014–present)
Currently, Today presents weather after each news and sport bulletin, every half-hour. Steven Jacobs is the current weather presenter and he travels the country and occasionally the world, presenting the weather from somewhere new each day or in the studio. Rose Jacobs, Emma Freedman, Natalia Cooper, Sylvia Jeffreys, Giaan Rooney, Gorgi Coghlan, Dave Kirwan, Jaynie Seal, Livinia Nixon and Majella Wiemers have all presented the weather on various occasions.
Weather presenters have included:
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. Joan McInnes filled the role for the shows first seven years.
In July 2009, Jules Lund filled in for Wilkins while he was on a holiday during the 2009/2010 summer period and Tim Ross filled in for Wilkins. During the 2011/2012 summer period Lizzy Lovette filled in for Wilkins.
Entertainment presenters have included:
- Richard Wilkins (1987–present)
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 Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. They are produced and presented by traffic reporters from the Australian Traffic Network.
- Sydney: Anna Pentelow
- Melbourne: Andrew Crook (Fill-in: Jimmy Wirtanen via VicRoads Traffic Management Centre).
Unstable weather mornings results in chopper being grounded. Andrew Crook presents from the VicRoads TMC (only if more than a once-off event).
- Brisbane: Penny Dahl (Fill-in: Jay Lane).
Former traffic reporters
- Melbourne: Jimmy Wirtanen (2003-2005)
- Brisbane: Amelia De Vita (2014, fill-in)
Competition with Sunrise
From 2004-2007, Sunrise won the ratings battle, averaging more than 150,000 more viewers than Today. However, during 2007 Today slightly improved its ratings and made significant gains in audience. With a 9% rise year-on-year[clarification needed] between 7am and 9am, and a 16% increase in the key 6am to 7am news hour. In contrast, Sunrise has fallen 4% year-on-year[clarification needed] in the 7am to 9am timeslot. While in Melbourne (where Today is dominant), Today has won the morning breakfast slot for most weeks since May in the 2007 ratings by a considerable margin[quantify].
In 2009, Today continued to increase its lead over Sunrise more than it had in previous years. On 12 April 2009, Today beat Sunrise, on this occasion rating 279,000 viewers to Sunrise's 275,000 viewers. This had not been achieved by Today in almost five years. They also won Sydney by 107,000 to 96,000, not achieving this since 2004.
Since 2010, Today has had a surge in viewers, as had the whole Nine Network - especially in news and current affairs. Sunrise is still strong overall, ahead of Nine by about 50–80,000 nationwide.
During 2011, Today beat Sunrise by a considerable margin in Australia's biggest and most important markets Melbourne and Sydney, however Sunrise 's audiences in smaller cities Adelaide and Perth are higher than Today 's (as is usually the case for other Nine Network programmes). As a result, Sunrise still receives higher ratings nationally than Today.
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 broadcasts
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 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 Extra, which is titled NBC Today in program listings to avert confusion.
- Weekend Today
- List of Australian television series
- List of programs broadcast by Nine Network
- List of longest-running Australian television series
- National Today Show – National Film and Sound Archive, 7 November 2007
- Longest Breakfast Program – Commonwealth Bank, 31 August 2007.
- Liebmann Heart Attack – Heart Research, 10 May 2005
- "Liebmann leaves Today". The Age. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Malkin, Bonnie (19 December 2005). "Channel Nine bags news star of Ten". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Topham, Gwyn (31 January 2006). "Rowe laughs last and loudest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Murray, Lisa (1 July 2006). "Poison, pay cuts and the plan to sack Jessica Rowe". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Jameson, Julietta (12 November 2006). "Nine turns to a Murdoch to boost ratings". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- "Jessica Rowe leaves Channel 9". The Australian. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- "Nine 'bones' Rowe". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Celebrating 25 years – Today website, 1 June 2007
- Anniversary – Throng, 30 May 2007
- Knox, David (28 January 2009). "Weekend Sunrise wakes up to Today’s alarm". tvtonight.com.au. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
- Richard Wilkins – Mediaman, 7 November 2007
- Improvement of Today Ratings – eBroadcast, 22 May 2007[dead link]
- "Lisa Wilkinson to co-host Today" – Today website, 10 May 2007
- Winning In Melbourne – News Limited, 13 June 2007
- Today Melbourne Success – eBroadcast, 6 June 2007[dead link]
- Live At Five In Queensland – Today Website, 19 October 2007
- Broadcast Locations – Pjreview, 10 September 2004
- Affiliate Agreements – Transdiffusion, 7 November 2007
- Official website
- Today at the Internet Movie Database
- Today and Weekend Today at TV.com
- Today at the National Film and Sound Archive