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“She gave it a red hot go.” Deb Knight on why Georgie Gardner is no longer on Today.

Following the announcement that Karl Stefanovic would be returning to the Today show next year, the breakfast show’s panel is already looking very different.

Georgie Gardner was nowhere to be seen on Monday’s show, with co-hosts Deb Knight and Tom Steinfort explaining her absence by saying Georgie had given it a “red hot go”.

“We wanted to acknowledge our colleague and friend Georgie Gardner,” Knight said.

“You might have read over the weekend that Georgie has left the Today show. After a really challenging year we want to wish Georgie all the very best.”

Tom continued, describing Georgie as a “committed” and “passionate” member of the team.

“I think particularly when she’s been sharing the stories of everyday Australians who are doing it tough; these are issues that she wanted to focus on. She has always been a woman of strength here, a woman of class, and also who could forget very wicked sense of humour that would just pop up from time to time as well.”

They said Georgie was to spend time with her family and friends… and enjoy the sleep ins.

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Deb Knight and Georgie Gardner. Image: Instagram

Speaking to 9Now on the weekend, Georgie said she was “disappointed” with the decision to replace her and Deb with Karl and 60 Minutes reporter Allison Langdon, but added that she had been involved in the process.

“I was consulted two weeks ago about the future direction of the Today show, and naturally I’m disappointed with the outcome,” she said.

“However, I’m very proud to have been part of an innovative and progressive programming decision – the first female hosting duo in Australian breakfast television.”

The respected journalist and presenter also touched on the immense public backlash she received during her tenure on the Today Show, calling it “daunting and disproportionate”.

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“I have no regrets, even though the scrutiny and public discourse has been daunting and disproportionate. It’s also at times been cruel,” she said.

She will reportedly return to reporting duties on Nine News, news.com.au reported.

The stories speculating for much of 2018 about Karl's looming axing came after his very public and messy divorce with his wife of 20-plus years,  Cassandra Thorburn, which was followed by an equally controversial relationship with his now-wife, Jasmine Stefanovic (née Yarbrough). Then there was the infamous Ubergate of March 2018, in which Karl and Peter Stefanovic were caught ‘complaining’ about his then co-host Georgie as well as their Channel Nine bosses. Dwindling ratings followed.

By the time December 2018 rolled around, Channel Nine announced that after 13 years on the morning show, it was time for the 45-year-old to officially “step off”.

But over the weekend, in an exclusive interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Karl confirmed he will return to the program in early 2020.

“Yes, I am as shocked about this as everyone else,” he said.

“It’s not something that I thought would come up again. I thought my time was up, but then, when I was sounded out about it, it got me thinking.

“It’s a big job with enormous pressures and I know only too well some of those pitfalls, but it is also without question the best live TV job in Australia.”

However, now returning to his old gig, The Australian have reported that Karl will be taking a major cut to his rumoured $2 million-plus former salary.

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