Georgie Gardner has been officially announced as Lisa Wilkinson’s replacement on The Today Show.
On Thursday morning’s program, Gardner said it’s an “honour” to be back, three years after leaving her helm as the show’s newsreader.
“It’s an enormous privilege. The response from [my family] was hilarious. Bronte my 12-year-old said straightaway, ‘Great mum. You’ll have to brush up on social media. You might get more followers.’ And [it was a] standard response from 10-year-old Gus: ‘Great… You’ll be so tired you won’t have to cook dinner and get take away.'”
After presenting the news on Today from 2007 to 2014, Gardner stepped away from the program to spend more time with her children, Bronte, 12, and Angus, 10, and husband Tim.
Now making a comeback, the 46-year-old said there is “no bigger, better gig in Australian TV”, but added she is “acutely” aware of how much “love and respect there has been for Lisa”.
Gardner gave thanks to fellow presenter Deb Knight, who has been filling the role for the last few weeks in the aftermath of Wilkinson’s sudden departure last month.
“You have slipped into this chair with such poise, such professionalism. It can’t have been easy at the time. You are an absolute class act. It’s rare in this game to call someone a colleague and a friend. You are that.”
In announcing the news, Karl Stefanovic praised his new co-host, saying she is “committed” to ensuring information is correct in “a day and age where it’s not”.
“She’s connected to what other mums are going through out there and feels for them. The best thing about her is her heart. Viewers will know that she cares. She’s also going to bring a wicked sense of humour – she’s a funny woman. I like to think that she likes me, but have been times where I thought maybe she doesn’t. I’m only joking, it is great to have you back,” Stefanovic.
Gardner also candidly acknowledged reports of the last few weeks suggesting the two do not get along, admitting their relationship has been “robust” in the past.
“You’re alright Karl. I’m assuming with you we pick up where we left off,” she said.
“Jokes aside you know how much respect I’ve had for you. There’s been a bit of conjecture over last few weeks about how we feel about each other. You know, we have had our bumps, we’ve had our laughs.”
Welcome back, Georgie!
Listen: Mia Freedman interviews Georgie Gardner for No Filter.