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Today Show EP and Nine’s director of morning TV, Mark Calvert, steps down

Mark Calvert has stepped down as executive producer of Nine’s Today Show and the station’s director of morning television.

Darren Wick, Nine’s national director of news and current affairs, announced the move to staff saying: “He rebuilt the programme, re-energised the team and led them to a memorable ratings year win in 2016. The first ratings year win over Sunrise in a decade and a half.”

Outgoing Today Show EP, Mark Calvert: “I’m looking forward to a bit of sleep. And then I’m looking forward to the next big challenge”

Calvert became EP of the Today Show in 2013 and stepped into the morning television role on in December 2016.

Today’s fortunes have varied under Calvert’s watch. Since long standing co-host Lisa Wilkinson was replaced by Georgie Gardner last year, the show’s ratings have lagged rival Seven program, Sunrise.

In September, the Today Show’s metro ratings dipped below the 200,000 mark, with only 199,000 viewers tuning in against Sunrise’s 268,000. Nationally the shows attracted audiences 320,000 and 445,000 respectively on that day.

The Today Show’s fortunes have not been helped by co-host Karl Stefanovic’s high profile marital woes and continual absences which have led to speculation, particularly in News Corp outlets, about the presenter’s future.

Competition between Nine and Seven in the breakfast spot is fierce with the two networks going to court in 2016 in a dispute over which show had won the ratings year.

At the time, the two shows were in a close rating race with Today overtaking Sunrise in metro audiences for the first time since 2004.

Wick acknowledged the challenges facing Calvert as the show’s EP, telling staff: “There is no programme on Australian television that is analysed, revised and criticised as much as TODAY. The hours are exhausting, the competition is intense and the media coverage – good and bad – is unrelenting.

“But that’s the game and, nonetheless, it’s still a great programme to work on. You’re there in the driving seat when history is being made.

In a staff email Calvert said he would be finishing up in a few days and left his future at the network open: “I’m looking forward to a bit of sleep. And then I’m looking forward to the next big challenge, whether that’s at Nine, or elsewhere. 2019 is going to be a huge year for the show, and for the newly expanded company.”

“I wish the amazing team at Today, and all the brilliant people at Nine, nothing but success.

“I’ll be around for a few days, so I’ll come and say thanks to as many of you as I can.”

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