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Channel Nine defends Georgie Gardner in the aftermath of fevered backlash

In an unprecedented move, the Nine Network have spoken out.
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It’s no secret that the Today Show ratings have dropped in recent months, but after an article claiming that Georgie Gardner and her “Ice Maiden” demeanour is responsible, Channel Nine have stepped in.

Darren Wick, the director of news and current affairs at the Nine Network, has made the unprecedented move to call out the publication and described it as “one of the most deliberate acts of bullying” he’d ever seen.

The article published by News Corp claimed that independent analysts were commissioned to conduct focus groups to try and see why Today‘s ratings were so low, with viewers supposedly finding the banter between Georgie and her co-host Deb Knight to be forced.

“The data shows she was accepted as a newsreader, then when she returned as host they never warmed to her,” the article read.

“They find her cold, an ice maiden.”

Deb and Georgie aren’t going anywhere. (Image: Instagram @deborah_knight)

However, Channel Nine responded by claiming this “a fabrication and irresponsible reporting.”

“NINE conducted a number of focus groups throughout the last six months of 2018, under my supervision, and the feedback from those viewers was overwhelmingly positive about Georgie Gardner,” Wick revealed in an official statement.

“She rated head and shoulders above every other on-air presenter. And that’s consistent with all Today Show focus groups we’ve held during the last seven years, while I’ve been in the National News Director role.”

He added that although the numbers have undoubtedly dropped, it has only been five weeks and that the team aren’t “about to hit the panic button.”

“We’ve been through this battle before with other programs, where a section of the media is quick to write us off. We’re in for the long haul.”

WATCH: Brooke Boney advocates for Australia Day date to be changed on Today Show. Post continues…

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Georgie has been part of the Today Show family since 2002 and famously replaced Lisa Wilkinson on the desk in 2017.

But the renowned journalist has spoken candidly about her concerns when it comes to such a high-profile job.

Speaking exclusively to The Daily Telegraph in 2018, shortly after she joined Karl Stefanovic as co-host, she confessed, “There’s a part of me that feels wary because we live in a time now where there is just so much scrutiny, we live in this very weird era of clickbait and I just hope with that I don’t lose my spontaneity.”

“I figure we’re all at risk of saying something that we might… regret or feel ‘oh gosh I wish I didn’t say that.’ But I hope that doesn’t override the genuine side of me and my authenticity.”

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