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"It starts with putting Australia and Australians first.” Karl Stefanovic returns to the Today show.

You can keep updated with today’s ‘catastrophic’ bushfires in our earlier post here, updated as they happen.

Going on air a full two days earlier than expected, Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon have started their roles as the new hosts of Today.

Amid jokes of “first day nerves” and minor stumbles, the devastating bushfires affecting large areas of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia were front of mind.

9News captures the PM’s awkward interaction with bushfire victims. Post continues below.

Video by Channel 9

During his long-awaited return, Stefanovic addressed audiences with a direct piece-to-camera, speaking about Scott Morrison’s much-criticised leadership during Australia’s bushfire crisis.

“No matter which way you look at it, Scott Morrison is under the pump on several fronts,” he said.

“Over the past month during this crisis he has shown a lack of ability to lead, to connect with the Australian people who are hurting and who are grieving,” he added.

While Stefanovic acknowledged that the Prime Minister is not at fault for the crisis, he made calls for Morrison to “step up and take control”.

“There are clearly State issues and Federal crossovers that will need to be addressed. But from the public’s point of view the PM has been meandering, lost,” he said.

“Now he is a punching bag for those in pain who want answers or just want something from him that’s real. He needs to step up and take control.

“I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be Prime Minister. But I would imagine it starts with putting Australia and Australians first.”

Cobargo
Residents from fire-stricken Cobargo in Victoria shared their disdain at Scott Morrison's visit. Image: Nine.
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Stefanovic and Langdon were flanked by new additions to the Today team, which included newsreader Tracy Vo and sports presenter Alex Cullen. Although absent from this morning's show, Tim Davies has also joined the program as its weather presenter. Entertainment presenter, Brooke Boney has also stayed on, and is the only original host to return in 2020.

Although the show had its sombre moments, Stefanovic brought his signature banter on-air.

While he made light of his year-long break and joked that "I had so long off last year I had forgotten how to talk,” he was also quick to call out Cullen's rocky start to the show.

“He completely and utterly stuffed up his first sports break on the program but right now Alex Cullen joins us,” he said, laughing.

The sports presenter was quick to quip back, saying: “lucky we started on a Saturday”. Langdon also joined in, adding that “he [Stefanovic] could have let it slide but he has set the standard for the year ahead.”

 

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Despite his much-anticipated return, this time last year Stefanovic had been freshly ousted from the show.

His departure was boiled down to a mix of declining ratings, along with the infamous Ubergate scandal in which the presenter and his brother, Peter Stefanovic were recorded ‘complaining’ about his then co-host, Georgie Gardner, as well as their Channel Nine bosses. Some were also displeased at the reporter's elaborate Cabo wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough (who is currently expecting the couple's first child), which took place in December 2018.

While the father-of-three was replaced by journalists Deborah Knight, Georgie Gardner, and Tom Steinfort on the show, ratings for Channel 9's flagship program continued to dwindle, which partially led to his return.

Stefanovic and Lagndon will continue hosting Today from Monday 5:30am onwards.

Feature Image: Channel 9.

Did you watch Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on Today this morning? What did you think? Tell us in a comment below.

Keep up to date with today's 'catastrophic' bushfires in our earlier post here.

For further information on how you can help those affected by the bushfires, read our post here. 

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