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Pressure mounts for Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo amid ratings battle

The hosts are beginning to feel the strain.
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While they appear cool as cucumbers when the cameras are rolling, it seems behind the scenes things aren’t so rosy for Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo.

Everything is allegedly not as smooth sailing as it appears.

(Image: Instagram)

A well-placed source has lifted the lid on the “pressure” currently mounting among the cast and crew, with Karl, 48, and Sarah, 37, finding it the hardest to put on a smile for the cameras as the ratings roll in.

“You can definitely tell they’re feeling it. Their banter isn’t as seamless as it was.”

The source says it’s Sarah who’s under the most pressure, with the stress of wanting to deliver proving to be too much, despite Karl’s best efforts to reassure her that she’s doing a good job.

It became apparent during a recent taping of the show, where a strained Sarah seemed noticeably agitated in between takes.

“It’s her first major gig – she’s wanted this for so long and she understands how it all works. When things aren’t working, top bosses always look at the new talent,” the insider adds.

WATCH: Today Show’s Sarah Abo takes a swipe at Karl Stefanovic. Article continues after video.

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The rumblings follow reports that the show’s constant line-up changes have deterred viewers, with Today averaging an average metro audience of 181,000 viewers compared to rival Sunrise’s 213,000.

Most recently, longtime news journalist Alex Cullen was delegated to presenting sports, while entertainment presenter Brooke Boney stepped into news.

Earlier this year, much-loved co-host Allison Langdon announced she’d be leaving the show to front A Current Affair, where she’s helped steer the program to strong ratings success.

Ally was just the latest in a long line of co-hosts who’ve shared the couch with Karl since 2005, with everyone from Tracy Grimshaw, Jessica Rowe, Lisa Wilkinson, Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight appearing then disappearing through the studio’s revolving door.

Allison Langdon recently left Today to take over from Tracey Grimshaw on A Current Affair.

(Image: Instagram)


TV ratings show that Today has remained behind Sunrise this year, with the latter winning the majority of the ratings period so far.

However, a defiant Nine has shut down media reports, saying they are a “distortion of the old-fashioned and out-of-date overnight ratings system”.

“Our team is working brilliantly together and our audience response to the line-up couldn’t be more positive,” says Nine’s director of morning TV Steve Burling.

Its main competitor, Seven, however thinks differently, with a spokesperson claiming “the [ratings] numbers don’t lie”.

While they acknowledged Today was ahead in Brisbane, Sunrise – which is hosted by David Koch and Natalie Barr – “has been number one for 19 years and is number one again this year, across the capital cities and nationally”.

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