TV

Today Show overtaken by ABC News Breakfast in ratings

Despite debuting a shiny new lineup earlier this year, the show has suffered a massive ratings blow.

By Rebecca Sullivan
2019 has not been a great year for the Today Show, despite the debut of its heavily-publicised new lineup in January.
Following the departure of former hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson last year, Today unveiled its new presenters, including longtime Nine hosts Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight, as well as newsreader Tom Steinfort, entertainment reporter Brooke Boney and sports commentator Tony Jones.
But despite the shiny makeover, it seems the show has not been able to gain any new ground, with Today unable to hit the 400,000 viewer mark at all this year, flailing behind its Channel Seven rival Sunrise.
And now Today has suffered a further blow, as it was beaten this week by ABC's News Breakfast, hosted by Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland.
While Sunrise took out the top spot with 447,000 viewers, News Breakfast pulled in 265,000 viewers across both the ABC and ABC News channels, 1000 viewers ahead of Today's 264,000.
That means Today has now slumped to a new low of third place in the breakfast TV ratings.
Trioli and Rowland have hosted ABC News Breakfast for 10 years and the pair have gained a loyal audience who say they love their humour and commitment to unbiased, balanced news.
Hosts Deb Knight, Georgie Gardner and Brooke Boney. (Image: Getty)
Tom Steinfort, Georgie and Deb were unveiled as the new hosts earlier this year. (Image: Getty)
But Channel Nine has angrily disputed these new ratings, arguing the figures are skewed because ABC News Breakfast screens across two channels, unlike Today, which only airs on Channel Nine.
"Today won nationally against ABC Breakfast (combined five City Metro and Regional 264,000 to 193,000) as well as five City Metro,," a spokesman told Crikey.
This isn't the first time Today has suffered a massive ratings blow. Less than 200,000 people tuned in for its debut in January and less than a month later they dropped even further, with just 177,000 people tuning in on February 6.
At the time, Nine's director of morning television, Steve Burling, remained upbeat despite the bad numbers.
"It's very early days and rating figures will continue to fluctuate, but I'm absolutely thrilled with the dynamic between Georgie, Deb, Tom and the entire on-air team," he told news.com.au.
"And, I'm confident that the audience will be turning to us in the weeks and months ahead."
Michael Rowland and Virginia Trioli have been hosting News Breakfast together for 10 years. (Image: ABC)
The show's new executive producer, Steve Burling, who took over from former EP Mark Calvert following his and Stefanovic's departure last year, also defended his new show.
"It will be different, any students of Today will certainly notice some changes like fresh graphics and we have a fresh soft set with an open lounge setting," Burling told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"There are small little things but at the end of the day they aren't things that are critical to the direction of the program."
WATCH BELOW: Karl Stefanovic and Georgie Gardner in archival Today Show footage
Host Deb Knight also dismissed the ratings criticism earlier this year.
"That is for others to work at and worry about, my job is just turning up and being me,' Knight told The Daily Telegraph.
"I try to limit the impact that the chatter and the white noise has on me. You've just got to focus on the job at hand.
"I am trying to focus on getting this right and enjoy the ride as much as I can rather than be intimidated by it," she said.