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The question TODAY Show viewers would like answered: Where the bloody hell is Karl?

He’s the co-host of the Nine Network’s flagship breakfast program, TODAY, and yet Karl Stefanovic has been notably absent for 11 weeks of presenting since November.

It’s curious, if not eyebrow-raising, given this is the channel’s “two million dollar man“, and a precarious time when the show’s ratings are consistently dropping below those of arch-nemesis Sunrise. While a handful of weeks have been pencilled down to conflicting work agreements, including filming of the 43-year-old’s time-lapse reality show This Time Next Year, and holidays with designer fiancée Jasmine Yarbrough, others have gone unexplained.

This week is another of the TODAY Show, sans its leading man.

Regardless of the reasons, for a “co-host”, Stefanovic is rarely beside new presenter Georgie Gardner – who filled Lisa Wilkinson’s seat late last year – prompting viewers to ask, well… what the hell is going on?

Could it have anything to do with that Uber speakerphone call? The Out Loud team discuss why it wasn’t a clever call to make. Post continues.

In light of whispers that the presenter is ready to move on, and leaked Uber conversations that suggest Stefanovic isn’t all that happy with the performances of his co-stars, it’s not wild to speculate that perhaps a big change is coming to the network.

“Karl has been begging to get off there forever and surprise, surprise, the joint has imploded because they never listened to this bloke,” the Daily Telegraph claimed a Channel Nine executive told them in October.

“They haven’t let him off and he’s been like a hostage,” the (rather dramatic) source added, suggesting a move to the hosting role of A Current Affair, currently held by veteran Tracy Grimshaw, is most likely.

For a man whose public image has been tarnished – rightly or wrongly – by his marriage breakdown from Cassandra Thorburn in late 2016 and subsequent relationship, some are all too keen to speculate who might replace the man who has steered the show for some 12 years.

Reportedly, the father-of-three’s contract is up at the end of the year, with negotiations to take place in the interim. If he does indeed decide to depart TODAY, it appears Nine has a fan-favourite fit to fill his spot in Ben Fordham; the presenter has taken the reins this week, and brought with him a gentle ratings boost.

If Fordham isn’t the man for the job, South Australian newsreader Brenton Ragless, who filled in over the summer non-ratings period, is tipped to fill the spot.

As to whether or not there is actually a spot to fill is anyone’s guess.

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