Stefanovic brothers’ troubled futures
Peter Stefanovic's days as host of Weekend Today are numbered and Brenton Ragless is the frontrunner to replace him, with a view that the latter would eventually replace Karl in the top job on Today.
One industry source said Channel 9's bosses continued to blame Peter for airing the TV network's dirty laundry in a leaked conversation in an Uber in March.
Peter is one of Nine's most recognised foreign correspondents having worked in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. But just because you're a great reporter doesn't mean you are a great host and Nine bosses have noted Peter does not have the same on-air charisma as his brother.
His underwhelming performance on Weekend Today, combined with the fact Nine bosses hold him responsible for the Ubergate disaster, suggests Stefanovic will be sent back to the newsroom next year.
Peter was largely blamed for the leaked Uber call in March after he put the private phone call with his brother Karl on loudspeaker.
Nine denied reports in The Daily Telegraph today that Peter, who has co-hosted the weekend show with Allison Langdon since the start of the year, has been given the flick, but insiders said the move was on the cards.
A source close to the show also suggested South Australian TV identity Brenton Ragless would replace 37-year-old Peter on Weekend Today next year.
The move would cap off a difficult year professionally for Peter and his brother, Karl.
After being busted in March bitching about the network and their colleagues during the infamous Uber call, the two TV stars have been less than popular within the hallways of Nine.
Karl in particular has been plagued by constant speculation that he's going to be moved from Today as the ratings for the once-popular breakfast show continue to slide.
Internal research shows a large chunk of female viewers became disenchanted with the show after Karl separated from his wife and started a new relationship with designer Jasmine Yarbrough.
So what's in store for the controversial TV brothers?
WHO WOULD REPLACE PETER STEFANOVIC ON WEEKEND TODAY?
If Peter Stefanovic gets the boot from Weekend Today, industry insiders say there's only one man likely to replace him.
That man is Brenton Ragless, a Nine news presenter from Adelaide who is currently filling in for Karl Stefanovic on Today.
Nine bosses are clearly grooming Ragless and a stint on Weekend Today would give the volunteer firefighter a chance to build a national fanbase - and the potential to eventually step in to Karl's shoes as host of Today.
In an interview with The Australian yesterday, Ragless said he was not actively pursuing any particular gig.
"I'm not climbing some corporate ladder to be the next big presenter," he told The Australian. "I'm just trying to be the best person in any role that I can be."
KARL'S SAFE, FOR NOW
Karl Stefanovic is expected to remain as co-host of Today alongside Georgie Gardner into the start of 2019, but for how long?
Last week the breakfast show's executive producer, Mark Calvert, stepped down from the role after a year of poor ratings.
A Nine insider told news.com.au at the time, "I presume (Nine announced Calvert had stepped down) because they needed a scapegoat to appease advertisers. To say, 'Look, we've done something. It will get better now.' God help the next executive producer."
The real problem with the show isn't so much what's going on behind the scenes, the insider said, but rather what is now being called the Karl effect.
"If they don't fix the Karl thing, it will never work - regardless of whether they put God in charge as EP. Karl was and is the liability - not Calvert."
After Stefanovic's Mexican wedding to Yarbrough on the weekend, Nine bosses will be hoping female viewers are willing to forgive and forget in 2019 and start to view Karl as a family man once again.
If he's still on the nose with women halfway through the year, network executives will have little choice but to consider replacing the Gold Logie winner.
Even though Brenton Ragless is the favourite to replace Stefanovic, other names have been mentioned.
TV commentator Steve Molk claimed on industry podcast TV Blackbox last week that Nine bosses are looking at pairing Georgie Gardner with Studio 10's Sarah Harris.
According to Molk, Today rival Sunrise is expected to have two female hosts, Natalie Barr and Samantha Armytage, once David Koch leaves the show.
"The Today show needs to do something and if their main point of difference is to beat Seven to the punch and get in ahead where it's a two female hosted breakfast show instead of the Nat and Sam show, which they're basically running this week, there's a point of difference," Molk said.
When asked about the rumour, Sarah Harris told news.com.au, "Hell, I'd dress up as the Casharoo if Nine want to pay me $3 million a year!"
Another name that always gets mentioned when discussing potential hosts is Ben Fordham, but the TV and radio star has made it clear in several interviews that he has absolutely no desire to host the Today show.
Fordham, who used to be Today's sports presenter and often fills in when Stefanovic is on leave, has a young family and a demanding gig on 2GB that would prevent him from hosting the breakfast TV show full-time.
"I have no intentions of going back to Today," Fordham told The Daily Telegraph in October.
"I had a great time on the show with Karl and Georgie (Gardner) and the team for many years but won't be returning any time soon."
The on-air future of Karl and Peter Stefanovic is up in the air but one thing's for sure, if they thought 2018 was bad, the start of 2019 isn't looking too rosy either.