UPDATE @ December 20: TODAY show entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins has bid farewell to his longtime colleague and good friend Karl Stefanovic in an emotional speech on the breakfast show this morning.
During a short segment dedicated to Stefanovic’s shock departure, Wilkins described the 44-year-old as “an intoxicating mix of world’s best broadcaster and naughty school boy.”
“Yes it is true, the headlines in today’s paper aren’t wrong… Karl and the management team here at Nine have agreed that it is time for him to step down from the TODAY Show,” Wilkins said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“Karl Stefanovic has been a co-host of the TODAY Show for 14 years and i’ve had the honour and pleasure of working alongside him almost everyday over that time, and I can tell you from the heart that there’s nobody who has worked harder for this show than Karl.”
Wilkins continued by saying the past year has been a tough one for the journalist, but said he never let the difficult times get in the way of his job.
“He is a fantastic, intuitive and intelligent journalist. There is no secret that the past year or so has been difficult times for Karl but I can say he has walked into the studio every morning with energy and passion bringing ideas to make the show bigger and better,” he said.
“He always strived to deliver the best program he possibly could. Karl says this is the best show on television, and I couldn’t agree more.
“He has also said he thought he would never be good enough to host the Today Show for so long. You better believe it, because you are, and you did. It is a tireless gig and it comes with an enormous amount of scrutiny.”
Wilkins finished by thanking the viewers on behalf of his good mate.
“Karl has asked us to pass on his thanks to you, the viewer, for tuning in,” he said.
“Karl, on behalf of all your friends and colleagues here at Nine and your millions of fans around the country, we wish you all the best.
“Thank you for all the great work. You have notched up a massive number of flying hours. You didn’t just wake up with Today. Today woke up with you. Good luck, mate.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) December 19, 2018
Stefanovic’s former co-host Lisa Wilkinson also joined in on the farewells.
In a short message posted on social media she wrote “Wishing @karlstefanovic_ all the best. Because when it was good, it was great…”
EARLIER @ December 19: TODAY Show host Karl Stefanovic is set to leave the Channel Nine breakfast show after 14 years.
The network confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that Stefanovic will not be returning in 2019.
“Nine and Karl Stefanovic have agreed it is time for him to step off the Today show,” Nine News director Darren Wick said.
“Karl remains on contract with the network and will continue to host This Time Next Year, which records in February.”
Channel Nine said an announcement on the new line-up and format of the Today Show will be made in the coming weeks.
In a statement following the announcement, Stefanovic admitted “it’s been a tough time” but thanked viewers for their support.
“For the last 14 years I’ve co-hosted the best show on television. I can’t thank Nine enough for the opportunity. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be good enough to host this grand show for so long,” he said.
“Thanks to our viewers mostly, you are what matters most. It’s been a tough time. Thanks for hanging in there. I look forward to seeing you in another capacity at this great Network soon.”
Karl is currently overseas honeymooning with his new wife Jasmine Yarbrough.
The pair tied the knot in a stunning ceremony in Mexico earlier this month.