Nine throws Karl surprise lifeline
CHANNEL Nine looks to have thrown its embattled star Karl Stefanovic a lifeline.
The network announced its programming line-up for 2019 today, with a slew of new and returning shows due to hit airwaves in the new year.
Despite recent speculation about Stefanovic's future as the co-host of breakfast show Today, which has struggled in the ratings this year, his other television project has been reconfirmed.
This Time Next Year follows a group of everyday people planning on achieving monumental and challenging goals.
It films "before segments" with them before checking in a year later to see how they travelled and reveal the often life-changing results.
As host, Stefanovic recorded those starter episodes and there were whispers that should be dumped from Today, Nine might shelve This Time Next Year.
However, it was part of Wednesday's gala showcase of shows, attended by advertising executives, network stars and members of the media.
The show was a modest ratings performer during its first season.
Late last month, The Sunday Telegraph reported that senior executives were preparing to remove Stefanovic from Today in a bid to protect its future.
A series of high-profile and distracting controversies in his personal life as well as tumbling ratings were said to be behind the decision.
The tide of public support seemed to begin to turn with the breakdown of Stefanovic's marriage and rebound with a new partner, before culminating with his public trashing of co-host Georgie Gardner.
Stefanovic, who is on contract with the network until the end of 2019, was once one of television's most bankable stars.
"No doubt the constant publicity surrounding issues with his personal life have had an impact on Karl, his colleagues and on the show," Nine boss Hugh Marks told The Australian in the wake of the claims.
"We can't hide from that. And as a result we know there's a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience.
"We stick by our people at Nine and we've put the challenge on the Today show producers, the presenters and, especially, on Karl to regain the trust and loyalty of our audience. And I have every confidence they will do it."