Today (Australian TV program)

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Today
GenreBreakfast News Program Current Affairs
Presented by
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons33
Production
Executive producer(s)Steven Burling
Production location(s)Sydney, New South Wales
Running time210 minutes (3.5 hours)
Release
Original networkNine Network
Picture format576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release28 June 1982 –
present
Chronology
Related showsWeekend Today
Today Extra
External links
Website

Today is an Australian breakfast television show, currently hosted by Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight. It has been broadcast live on the Nine Network since 1982. The show airs after Nine News: Early Edition and runs from 5:30am to 9:00am before Today Extra. The show is filmed at the Nine Network studio in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales.

History[edit]

Officially launched as The National Today Show,[1] Today is Australia's longest running morning breakfast news program.[2] 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 Steve 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, Steve Liebmann returned to the Nine Network, hosting Today with Liz Hayes and Tracy Grimshaw. However, in December 2004, Steve Liebmann suffered a mild heart attack,[3] prompting him to retire from breakfast television.[4] In 2005, National Nine News reporter Karl Stefanovic replaced Steve Liebmann as co-host. Tracy 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 Karl Stefanovic from January 2006, the position instead went to former Ten News presenter Jessica Rowe.[5]

Jessica 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.[6] 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.[7] Rowe's replacements while on maternity leave were Sarah Murdoch[8] and Kellie Sloane, who both saw a significant increases in ratings.[9] 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 Nine Network to "take up other opportunities for her career".[10] In May 2007, former co-host of Weekend Sunrise, Lisa Wilkinson, took over the female co-hosting duties.

In October 2017, Lisa Wilkinson resigned effective immediately from the network due to contract negotiations failing. She finished on the show on Monday 16 October 2017.[11] It was later announced that Wilkinson would join Network Ten and The Project as a senior host and editor. Deborah Knight temporarily replaced Wilkinson until Georgie Gardner, who previously regularly appeared on the program as its news presenter, was announced as a permanent replacement host. Gardner commenced hosting Today in January 2018.

In December 2018, Karl Stefanovic and Nine Network announced he would not be returning to Today after 14 years as host.[12]

On January 5 2019, the Nine Network announced that Deborah Knight would join Georgie Gardner as co-host replacing Stefanovic. It was also announced that Tom Steinfort would replace Sylvia Jeffreys as news presenter and Tony Jones would replace Tim Gilbert as sports presenter and Brooke Boney would become entertainment presenter, working alongside Richard Wilkins. The new team began on January 14 2019. In February 2019, it was announced that Natalia Cooper would not return to the show after her maternity leave with Steven Jacobs becoming weather presenter once again.

The revamped line-up attracted constant media scrutiny and struggled to attain viewers – at times recording record-low ratings.[13] It has been noted by some commentators however that the viewership gap with Sunrise was actually higher in Wilkinson's first year as co-host in 2007, with the audience building over time to eventually overtake Sunrise.[13] The lower ratings were also contributed to the fact that overall television audiences had decreased in comparison with prior years.[13]

Today Extra: 2016–present[edit]

In January 2016, Nine announced that Mornings would be rebranded as Today Extra to become an extension of the network’s breakfast show Today. The show was moved to the Today studio, while keeping its focus on light entertainment and news updates.[14]

In January 2019, Campbell was announced the new host of Weekend Today. He will continue to host the program on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with Richard Wilkins joining the show as co-host on Thursdays and Fridays.[15]

Weekend Today: 2009–present[edit]

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.[16] 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 Australia, the Nine Network announced through a surprise edition that Today on Saturday Australia 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 Australia. 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 Australia was renamed as Weekend Today.

In September 2012, Weekend Today was extended to three hours on Saturday.

In September 2014, Deborah Knight permanently replaced Leila McKinnon as co-host of the show; following Leila McKinnon's move to the News Department.

In November 2016, Peter Stefanovic announced that he would be moving to 60 Minutes in 2017 as a reporter. Tom Steinfort has been announced as Stefanovic's replacement.[17][18]

In December 2017, Deborah Knight was appointed as host of Nine News Sydney on Friday and Saturday nights. She replaced Georgie Gardner who replaced Lisa Wilkinson on Today. It was later announced that 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon would replace Knight on Weekend Today. Peter Stefanovic also returned as host replacing Tom Steinfort who will become a reporter on 60 Minutes.[19]

In December 2018, it was announced that Peter Stefanovic had parted ways with the Nine Network to pursue other opportunities.[20]. David Campbell was later announced as his replacement.

As of January 2019, David Campbell and Allison Langdon are the co-hosts with the news presented by Jayne Azzopardi, sport presented by Clint Stanaway and weather presented by Tim Davies.

Today on Saturday: 1992–2002[edit]

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. Tracy 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 Australia was cancelled due to budget cuts by the Nine Network.

25th Anniversary: 2007[edit]

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.[21]

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.[22]

30th Anniversary: 2012[edit]

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 which 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 prerecorded message. Video messages were also left by Brian Bury, George Negus & Joan McInnes

Format[edit]

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.

Hosts[edit]

Presenter Role Tenure
Georgie Gardner Co-host 2018–present
Deborah Knight Co-host 2019–present
Tom Steinfort News/Co-host 2019–present
Tony Jones Sport 2019–present
Steven Jacobs Weather 2005–present
Ross Greenwood Finance 2006–present
Richard Wilkins Entertainment 1994–present
Brooke Boney Entertainment 2019–present

Reporters[edit]

Reporter/s City/state
Lara Vella
Gabrielle Boyle
Sydney
Christine Ahern Melbourne
Aislin Kriukelis
Jessica Millward
Brisbane
Tom Maclean Adelaide
Louise Momber Perth (also local news presenter)

Anchors[edit]

The main presenters of Today have included:

Tenure Presenters
1982–1985 Steve Liebmann Sue Kellaway
1986 Patrice Newell
1986–1987 Liz Hayes
1987–1990 George Negus
1990–1996 Steve Liebmann
1996–2005 Tracy Grimshaw
2005 Karl Stefanovic
2006 Jessica Rowe
2007–2017 Lisa Wilkinson
2018 Georgie Gardner
2019–present Deborah Knight

Fill-in presenters[edit]

Allison Langdon, Ben Fordham and Brenton Ragless are main fill-in presenters. Other fill-in presenters include Richard Wilkins, Tony Jones and Alicia Loxley. Substitutes that present usually over summer include; Richard Wilkins, Jayne Azzopardi, Wendy Kingston, Allison Langdon, Ross Greenwood, Tom Steinfort, David Campbell, Chris Uhlmann, Brenton Ragless, Alicia Loxley or Lara Vella.

Substitute presenters in recent years have included Cameron Williams, Kellie Sloane, Tim McMillan, 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.

News[edit]

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 Tenure
Eric Walters 1982-1990
Ian Ross 1991-2001
Sharyn Ghidella 2001-2005, 2005-2006
Leila McKinnon 2005
Georgie Gardner 2006-2014
Sylvia Jeffreys 2014-2018
Tom Steinfort 2019 – present

Perth Today news presenters:

  • Tim McMillan (2014 – 2015)
  • Tracy Vo (2016 – 2017)
  • Louise Momber (2018 – present)

During 2007, Kellie Sloane and Allison Langdon filled in for Georgie Gardner who was on maternity leave.

In July 2009, Georgie Gardner was appointed Nine News Sydney presenter on Friday and Saturday nights, she juggled her commitments with Today and presented the news from Tuesday to Friday. The Weekend Today news presenter would present the news on Monday. These news presenters have included Amber Sherlock (2009-2010), Alicia Loxley (2010-2011) and Deborah Knight (2011-2014).

In 2014, Sylvia Jeffreys was appointed news presenter on Today replacing Gardner. 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 five days per week, meaning the specialised Monday morning news presenting role was no longer needed.

In December 2018, it was announced that Jeffreys would not return to Today in 2019 and move onto other projects.[23][24] In January 2019, Tom Steinfort was announced as Jeffrey’s replacement.

Jayne Azzopardi, Lara Vella, Mark Burrows, Brett McLeod and Brenton Ragless are the main fill-in news presenters.

Amelia Adams, Amber Sherlock, Wendy Kingston, Kim Watkins, Ben Fordham, Peter Stefanovic, Vicky Jardim, Majella Wiemers, Helen Kapalos, Heather Foord, Peter Overton and Mark Ferguson have all among others presented the news on occasions.

Finance[edit]

Ross Greenwood is the Nine Network's business and finance editor and regularly reports throughout the show. Tom Steinfort currently presents the finance news after presenting the news.

Sport[edit]

Tony Jones 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. In January 2019, Tony Jones was announced as Gilbert’s replacement.

Sport Presenters Tenure
Cameron Williams 2006 – 2010
Andrew Voss Tuesday – Thursday, 2009
Georgie Gardner Tuesday – Thursday, 2010
Ben Fordham 2011 – 2014
Tim Gilbert 2014 – 2018
Tony Jones 2019 – present

Weather[edit]

Currently, Today presents weather after each news and sport bulletin, every half-hour. Steven Jacobs is the current weather presenter.

Weather Presenters Tenure
Brian Bury 1982-1991
Monte Dwyer 1991-2002
Sami Lukis 2002-2004
Natalia Cooper[25] 2016-2018
Steven Jacobs 2005-2016; 2019 – present

Abby Coleman, Julie Snook, Rose Jacobs, Emma Freedman, Amelia Adams, Sylvia Jeffreys, Giaan Rooney, Gorgi Coghlan, Dave Kirwan, Jaynie Seal, Livinia Nixon and Majella Wiemers have all presented the weather on various occasions.

Entertainment[edit]

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.[26] In December 2018, it was announced that Brooke Boney would join Today as an entertainment reporter and will work alongside Wilkins.[27]

Entertainment Presenters Tenure
Joan McInnes 1982 – 1988
Richard Wilkins 1994 – present
Richard Reid 2006 – 2015
Brooke Boney 2019 – present

Traffic[edit]

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 Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. They are produced and presented by traffic reporters from the Australian Traffic Network.

Competition with Sunrise[edit]

From 2004-2007, Sunrise won the ratings battle, averaging more than 150,000 more viewers than Today.[28] 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.[29] 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].[30][31]

Broadcasting[edit]

Due to the fact that Australia has more than one time zone, Today is not broadcast live to the entire nation.

New South Wales (including ACT), Victoria and Tasmania have Today aired live all year round.

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.[32] This was unsuccessful, and in 2008 the show returned to its previous delayed telecast.

Additionally, the Northern Territory has Today delayed thirty minutes during winter and one-and-a-half hours during daylight saving time.

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[edit]

Southern Cross Nine & Imparja air Today across regional Australia.

In addition to Australia, Today is broadcast in Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

Papua New Guinea on EMTV, and in Fiji on Fiji Television.[33]

International connections[edit]

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 ABC's Good Morning America, one of the American program's chief competitors, between 4.00 and 5.00am.[34] 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, which is titled NBC Today in program listings to avert confusion.

Logos[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Today Show – National Film and Sound Archive, 7 November 2007
  2. ^ Longest Breakfast Program – Commonwealth Bank, 31 August 2007.
  3. ^ Liebmann Heart Attack – Heart Research, 10 May 2005
  4. ^ "Liebmann leaves Today". The Age. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  5. ^ Malkin, Bonnie (19 December 2005). "Channel Nine bags news star of Ten". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  6. ^ Topham, Gwyn (31 January 2006). "Rowe laughs last and loudest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  7. ^ Murray, Lisa (1 July 2006). "Poison, pay cuts and the plan to sack Jessica Rowe". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  8. ^ Jameson, Julietta (12 November 2006). "Nine turns to a Murdoch to boost ratings". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  9. ^ "Jessica Rowe leaves Channel 9". The Australian. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  10. ^ "Nine 'bones' Rowe". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  11. ^ "Lisa Wilkinson quits Today Show". NewsComAu. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  12. ^ https://tvtonight.com.au/2018/12/nine-dumps-karl-stefanovic-from-today.html
  13. ^ a b c Knox, David (24 February 2019). "The hidden clue in Today's former ratings". TV Tonight. Retrieved 24 February 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ Knox, David (23 January 2016). "Mornings To Rebrand As Today Extra". TV Tonight. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  15. ^ Knox, David (5 January 2019). "Deb Knight, Tom Steinfort Join Georgie on Today". TV Tonight. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  16. ^ Knox, David (28 January 2009). "Weekend Sunrise wakes up to Today's alarm". tvtonight.com.au. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Peter Stefanovic gets 60 Mins gig". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Nine News promotes team with new appointments". TV Tonight. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Nine announces new Weekend Today hosts". NewsComAu. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Peter Stefanovic and Nine part ways". celebrity.nine.com.au. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  21. ^ Celebrating 25 years – Today website, 1 June 2007
  22. ^ Anniversary – Throng, 30 May 2007
  23. ^ "Sylvia Jeffreys has announced she will not return to the 'TODAY' show in 2019". celebrity.nine.com.au. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Sylvia Jeffreys gone from Today". TV Tonight. 22 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Weather presenter Natalia Cooper won't return to Today". The Courier Mail. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  26. ^ Richard Wilkins – Mediaman, 7 November 2007
  27. ^ "Brooke Boney speaks out for the first time after landing new role on 'TODAY'". celebrity.nine.com.au. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  28. ^ Improvement of Today Ratings – eBroadcast, 22 May 2007 Archived 24 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Lisa Wilkinson to co-host Today"Today website, 10 May 2007
  30. ^ Winning In Melbourne – News Limited, 13 June 2007
  31. ^ Today Melbourne Success – eBroadcast, 6 June 2007 Archived 11 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Live At Five In Queensland – Today Website, 19 October 2007
  33. ^ Broadcast Locations – Pjreview, 10 September 2004
  34. ^ Affiliate Agreements – Transdiffusion, 7 November 2007

External links[edit]