Jasmine Yarborough and Karl Stefanovic attend a VIP fashion event with good friend Richard Wilkins. Picture: Toby Zerna
Jasmine Yarborough and Karl Stefanovic attend a VIP fashion event with good friend Richard Wilkins. Picture: Toby Zerna

Today saga could claim another scalp

The turmoil engulfing Channel 9's breakfast show doesn't seem to be taking a break over summer.

Media reports yesterday indicated Karl Stefanovic might not be the only Today personality fighting for his job, with whispers that veteran Richard "Dickie" Wilkins could be dumped.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, the role of the long-serving entertainment correspondent and social scene regular is being reviewed by network executives.

Incoming executive producer Steve Burling, who replaced Mark Calvert after he sensationally resigned, has been tasked with devising a strategy to reverse plummeting ratings.

That includes a potential shake-up of on air personalities, including Burling's close friend Wilkins, the newspaper reported.

"He's had a golden run. He's been at Nine for over 30 years - and he's partied for most of them," it quoted a source as saying.

Although, one senior insider told news.com.au today that ditching "Dickie" would be a shock move.

"I think they've got to cut Karl loose, but you can't dump every familiar face," the source said. "Although, who knows what they're thinking. The problem isn't Dickie - it's Karl".

Wilkins has been a staple of the show for some time, travelling around the world to interview big name stars of film, television and music.

But he could be cut loose in a bid to hit restart on the show's bad publicity and breathe life back into its battered reputation.

Reports suggest that Richard Wilkins could be shown the door at Today, in a bid to rejuvenate the troubled show.
Reports suggest that Richard Wilkins could be shown the door at Today, in a bid to rejuvenate the troubled show.

SHOW IN CRISIS

There was a time not long ago when Today began to narrow the ratings gap with Channel 7's Sunrise, becoming a formidable opponent in the crucial breakfast timeslot.

But just as quickly as the leg-up came, it disappeared again when viewers began abandoning the show when the focus turned away from what happened on-screen.

Internal research found that a large chunk of female viewers became disenchanted with Today after Stefanovic separated from his wife Cassandra Thorburn and started a new relationship with designer Jasmine Yarbrough.

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough with Richard Wilkins at a fashion show. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough with Richard Wilkins at a fashion show. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Things weren't helped when he and brother Peter were caught badmouthing new co-host Georgie Gardner and a number of network executives in the back of an Uber.

Efforts to rehabilitate Stefanovic's image and shift attention back to Today have failed and barely a day goes by when he and his bride aren't making headlines.

Network sources have told news.com.au that sooner or later the co-host will have to go, with a growing sentiment among senior executives that his position is untenable.

Stefanovic and Yarbrough just wed in a star-studded ceremony in Mexico, attracting a horde of publicity and reminding viewers why they have a problem with the star.

UNCERTAIN FUTURES

Channel 9 has repeatedly rubbished reports that Stefanovic is set to be removed, lashing out angrily whenever the line emerges.

It also furiously denied that Calvert left after "tension" with Stefanovic over recent months.

There has also been speculation that Peter Stefanovic’s job is in trouble after the infamous Ubergate scandal.
There has also been speculation that Peter Stefanovic’s job is in trouble after the infamous Ubergate scandal.

Earlier this month, reports emerged that Peter, a respected former foreign correspondent and now co-host of Weekend Today, also faces an uncertain future.

The network strenuously denied the claims.

A request for comment about Wilkins' future has been made.


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