HE’S fronted Channel Nine’s Today for more than a decade and it seems Karl Stefanovic — Australia’s highest-paid TV host — isn’t going anywhere.
Opening up to Stellar magazine in what is his frankest interview yet, a repentant Stefanovic says he regrets alienating female viewers of the breakfast chat show in the wake of his highly publicised separation from wife of 21 years Cassandra Thorburn.
He also says that despite previously hinting he had his sights on a more serious gig on 60 Minutes, he has since come full circle on his position at Today and jokes he will only leave the show “in a coffin”.
“I’ve never enjoyed doing the Today show more, because it’s been a constant for me during this whole process,” Stefanovic says, referring to his well-publicised marriage breakdown and new relationship with shoe designer Jasmine Yarbrough.
“My colleagues have been an amazing support and I just love it more than ever. There’s always speculation about where I’m going to go, what I’m going to do and I’ll stay on that show for as long as they’ll have me.
“I’m telling you, they’ll have to put me in a coffin before I leave the Today show.
“I might do some prime-time stuff or whatever — I don’t have the ultimate say on that, the people at Nine do — but I’ve never enjoyed that show (Today) more.
“Going through this life experience with that as a constant has helped and it has made me a better journalist … It has made me a better journalist, this experience.”
Stefanovic leaves no topic untouched in the revealing sit-down interview in which he also addresses his dip in popularity among women viewers after ending his marriage.
“I know … maybe there are some women out there who are angry with me, but I’ve never tried to be anything other than myself and I have to hope that the audience, and particularly females if that is true, that one day they’re OK and they come back and say ‘I’m giving him another go’,” he tells Stellar.
He also talks about his new partner Yarbrough, saying of the five-month-old relationship: “I met her on a boat in Sydney. We have a really lovely relationship but it’s got to be slow for a number of reasons.”
The father-of-three is to also appear in a new role as host of Channel Nine’s new show This Time Next Year — a big-budget transformation series which is carrying big ratings hopes for the network.
It comes as Channel Nine is enjoying a purple patch in popularity thanks to the raging success of Ninja Warrior — hosted by Ben Fordham, Stefanovic’s occasional fill-in host on the Today show.
Read his full chat in The Sunday Telegraph’s Stellar magazine.