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Georgie Gardner’s first outing on Today pulls 256,000 metro viewers

Georgie Gardner’s first episode as co-host of Nine’s Today Show alongside Karl Stefanovic pulled 256,000 viewers across the five capital cities, behind rival Sunrise’s 281,000, according to OzTAM’s overnight preliminary metro ratings.

Gardner debuted as co-host yesterday

Today, however, beat Seven’s Sunrise in Sydney (79,000 viewers compared to 66,000) and Melbourne (66,000 compared to 63,000) and across the key advertising demographics of 16-39s, 18-49s and 25-54s. 

Lisa Wilkinson abruptly left Nine and Today in October last year following a breakdown in contract negotiations. Less than an hour later, she announced she was defecting to Ten to join Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar on The Project. She has subsequently also been announced as the executive editor of Ten Daily.

In the episode immediately following Wilkinson’s shock departure from the program after over a decade, 301,000 Today Show viewers tuned in, giving Today a rare overall win against Sunrise.

Gardner was announced as Wilkinson’s replacement in November last year. She had previously featured on the program, but left in 2014 to spend time with her family.

At the time of her appointment, Gardner told 9Honey when the opportunity to return to the breakfast program presented itself, she had to grab onto it – despite the challenges she may face.

“One could feel somewhat intimidated when I consider the women who have gone before me and the legacy they leave. Lisa, Jessica, Tracy, Liz…all fabulous, strong, intelligent women who I hold in the highest of regard both professionally and personally,” she told 9Honey.

“If I can connect with the Today audience to the same degree they all have, in their unique styles, then I’ll be enormously satisfied.”

Nine Network director of morning television, Mark Calvert, was full of praise, telling 9Honey there’s no better person on Australian TV than Gardner.

“Ever since she left, viewers have been asking me when she’s coming back. Well here she is, and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Sunrise also won yesterday in the earlier time slot, according to OzTAM. Early Sunrise had a metro audience of 155,000, compared to Today’s 147,000.

In overall ratings yesterday, the most-watched non-news program was night eight of the Australian Open on Seven which had 830,000 metro viewers. The tennis also topped the 16-39 and 18-49 demographic. In 25-54s, Nine News at 6:30pm was on top, with the tennis in second.

Seven won the night with a 24.7% audience share, compared to Nine’s 17.8%, Ten’s 13.6%, ABC’s 9.5% and SBS’ 4.8%.

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