Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Notable names floated to replace Georgie Gardner on Today

Two names have raised eyebrows within television circles as Channel Nine prepares to announce a replacement newsreader on its breakfast television program Today following Monday's announcement Georgie Gardner was leaving the post after seven years.

Former Sunrise co-host Melissa Doyle and former Wake Up! co-host Natarsha Belling have both been mentioned  among senior Nine executives as possible replacements for Gardner, setting the stage for what could be one of commercial television's more intriguing chapters.

Doyle's departure from Sunrise caused a storm of controversy but her 7pm news bulletin on 7Two has since been axed, leaving the popular personality in a position to weigh up her options.

It all depends on when she is off-contract with Seven but it would be a masterstroke if they got her, though I doubt she would want to play second fiddle to Lisa [Wilkinson] on the couch given that she was the leading lady for so long on Sunrise," speculated one source close to the situation.

Yet sources within Seven  say Doyle is still under contract with the network until well into 2015, making any early departure impossible.

Natarsha Belling's name has been bandied around the set of Today in recent days, since Channel Ten aired the last episode of its ill-fated breakfast challenger Wake Up! last Friday. Belling, a long-term newsreader on Ten, offered a teary farewell, all the while being considered by Nine as a potential new recruit for Today.

Fairfax Media, however, understands the likely successor to Gardner is Sylvia Jeffreys, originally from Queensland She has been reading Nine's non-primetime news for many months and has been a regular fill-in on Today and its weekend counterpart.

A Nine spokeswoman confirmed a replacement for Gardner would be announced prior to her departure on June 6 but would not be drawn on speculation beyond saying it was an "opportunity for renewal" on Today. Today has suffered a ratings drop compared to last year, particularly away from the eastern seaboard markets, while Sunrise continues to dominate breakfast television nationally.

POST ORIGINATED FROM: http://www.smh.com.au


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