Today (Australian TV program)

Today (Australian TV program)
Today Logo Australia.png
Today logo
Also known as The Today Show
Genre Morning television
Directed by Casey Wrigley (2005 - present)
Wayne O'Donnell (1998 - 2005)
Presented by Weekdays
Karl Stefanovic (2005 - present)
Lisa Wilkinson (2007 - present)
Cameron Williams (2009 - present)
Leila McKinnon (2009 - present)
Country of origin Australia
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 27
No. of episodes 6760 (approx)
Executive producer(s) Weekdays
Tom Malone
Alex Thornton
Producer(s) Matthew Mitchell
Gerry Campbell
Location(s) Sydney, New South Wales
Running time Monday - Friday
210 minutes, 5:30 - 9:00am
120 minutes, 7:00 - 9:00am
180 minutes, 7:00 - 10:00am
Original channel Nine Network
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Stereo (1982-1992)
Dolby Surround (1993-2004)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (2005-present)
Original run 28 June 1982 – present
External links

Today and Weekend Today are Australian breakfast television programmes, the show is often referred to as The Today Show. The show has been broadcast live by the Nine Network each morning since 1982. In 2007, the show celebrated its 25th Anniversary with outside broadcasts in five different Australian cities in one week.[1]

On weekdays the programme airs after Nine Early Morning News, and runs from 5.30am through to 9am. On weekends, Weekend Today runs from 7am to 9am on Saturdays and 7am to 10am on Sundays.



Officially launched as The National Today Show,[2] Today is Australia's longest running morning breakfast news program.[3] The show premiered on Monday 28 June 1982 and celebrated 25 years of continuous broadcasting in 2007.[1]

The original hosts, Steve Liebmann and Sue Kellaway, spent four years together before Liebmann left to the present the evening news for Network Ten in Sydney. Former 60 Minutes reporter George Negus took over the male presenting role. After four years, Liebmann returned to the Nine Network, hosting Today with Liz Hayes and Tracy Grimshaw. However, in December 2004, 60-year-old Liebmann suffered a mild heart attack,[4] prompting him to retire from the stresses of breakfast television.[5] In 2005, Nine News presenter Karl Stefanovic took over from Liebmann as co-host. Grimshaw then left Today at the end of 2005 to take over from Ray Martin as host of A Current Affair. While it had been widely speculated in the Australian press that Seven Network news presenter Chris Bath would co-host Today with Stefanovic from January 2006, the position instead went to former Ten News presenter Jessica Rowe.[6]

Rowe had mixed beginnings as the co-host of Today with some viewers and commentators attacking her because of her dress-sense and her apparent over-happiness, citing her constant nervous laughter.[7] Following her court case against Network Ten, Rowe was subjected to comments from the media and viewers that she should be sacked and was not right for the role of Today.[8] Rowe's replacement whilst on maternity leave was Sarah Murdoch[9] and Kellie Connolly, both who saw a significant increases in ratings.[10] They both presented until Rowe's departure from the show, when the Nine Network released a press statement on 5 May 2007 saying Rowe had left the Nine Network to 'take up other opportunities for her career'.[11] As of 28 May 2007, former co-host of Weekend Sunrise, Lisa Wilkinson, took over the female co-hosting duties.

25th Anniversary (2007)

Today celebrated its 25th year of broadcasting on 28 June 2007,[1] by travelling to five different Australian cities in one week, which had never been before attempted by an Australian television show. Former Today presenters and musical guests were involved.[12]

On the official day marking the 25th anniversary, past Today presenters who made an appearance included Ian Ross, Tracy Grimshaw, Monte Dwyer, Liz Hayes, and Helen Dalley. Sami Lukis who replaced Monte Dwyer did not appear, nor did original co-host Sue Kellaway. Original co-host Steve Liebmann was also unable to attend, nor was current weather presenter Steven Jacobs, however video messages from both were aired.[13]

Today on Saturday (1992-2002)

After the initial success of Today, a Saturday edition was produced in the early nineties. Hosted by Tracy Grimshaw, it featured more news, politics and economic reports. Grimshaw was later followed by Tara Brown and Richard Wilkins, before reporter Helen Dalley joined the program in 1996. These hosts were accompanied by news presenters Michael Usher, Anna Coren and Mark Burrows. In 2002 Today on Saturday was cancelled due to budget cuts by the network.

Weekend Today (2009-)

In January 2009, head of the Nine Network David Gyngell and former-head of news and current affairs John Westacott, announced that Today will begin broadcasting on Sunday mornings. The program entitled, Today on Sunday, competes in the same timeslot as the Seven Network's Weekend Sunrise, which dominates Sunday morning television.[14] Launched in February 2009, the original team compromised of Cameron Williams and Leila McKinnon with the news presented by Amber Sherlock and the sport was presented by Tim Gilbert on Saturday and Michael Slater on Sunday. In May 2009, after the launch of Today on Sunday, the Nine Network announced via a surprise edition that Today on Saturday would return. The program incorporates the same presenting team as the Sunday edition, being the first Australian breakfast news program to broadcast seven days a week. With the launch of the Saturday version of the program, the Nine Network renamed the programs as Today: Weekend Edition. David Gyngell said the launch of the weekend editions were a part of Nine's plans to strengthen its news and current affairs department and return viewers to its once leading service.

On 25 July 2009, Today: Weekend Edition was renamed as Weekend Today.

As of 2011, Cameron Williams and Leila McKinnon remain as co-hosts with the news presented by Deborah Knight, sport is presented by Tim Gilbert and weather is presented by Emma Freedman.


Today, an offshoot of Nine News, predominantly presents news, sport, weather, entertainment and current affairs, focusing on the first news of the day. However the show also features topics including consumer affairs, health, politics, education, fashion, and the business/finance world. The show has daily feedback and topic segments for viewers to send in their thoughts and opinions via email, text message, and the show's website.

Initially, the program was only a two hour broadcast, airing from 7am until 9am each morning. After dropping Nine Early Morning News, the network moved Today to a 6am start. Again, as part of the 2008-2009 Nine News brand's major expansion in 2008 the show was changed to a three and a half hour format, starting at 5.30am to now "perfect match" Breakfast Radio stations. This move included an exteneded news, sport, finance and weather segment, prior to the main program at 6am. Weekend Today airs on both Saturday and Sunday from 7am. While the Saturday edition is a two hour show concluding at 9am, the Sunday edition broadcasts for three hours ending at 10am.



Presenter Role Tenure
Karl Stefanovic Co-Host 2005-
Lisa Wilkinson Co-Host 2007-
Georgie Gardner News (Tuesday - Friday) 2006-
Ben Fordham Sport 2011-
Deborah Knight News (Monday) 2011-
Steven Jacobs Weather 2005-
Richard Wilkins Entertainment Editor 1994-
Richard Reid Hollywood Gossip 2004-


Presenter Role Tenure
Cameron Williams Co-Host 2009-
Leila McKinnon Co-Host 2009-
Deborah Knight News 2011-
Tim Gilbert Sport 2009-
Emma Freedman Weather 2010-
Michele Mahone Hollywood Gossip 2009-

Today Reporters

Presenter Role
Kristie Carter New South Wales
Mike Dalton New South Wales
Christine Ahern Victoria
Alison Ariotti Queensland
Jade Robran South Australia
Airlie Walsh Weekend Today

Recurring Today Contributors

Presenter Role
Charlie Brown IT
Ross Greenwood Finance Editor
Dr Ric Gordon Health
Dr Joanna McMillan Diet and Nutrition
Michael Ryan Fitness
Jason Akermanis Sports Talk
Wendell Sailor Sports Talk
Darryl Brohman Sports Talk
Dr Stephen Juan Anthropologist
Luke Mangan Cooking
Julie Goodwin Cooking
Trudy Gilbert Relationships
Jo Lamble Psychologist
Henry Roth Fashion
Glenn A. Baker Music
Shannon Lush Cleaning
Mia Freedman What's Making News
Deborah Thomas What's Making News
Neil Breen What's Making News
Helen McCabe What's Making News
Angela Mollard What's Making News
Susie O'Brien What's Making News
Ray Hadley What's Making News
Dianne Butler Mag Watch
Rob Belgiovane Advertising & Marketing

Past Presenters

The principal presenters/hosts of Today have included:

Substitute Presenters

Georgie Gardner is the main substitute presenter of the weekday version, Deborah Knight and Ben Fordham will sometimes also fill-in for Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson. Fill-in presenters for Weekend Today include Deborah Knight, Sarah Harris & Tim Gilbert.

Substitute presenters in recent years have included Alicia Gorey, Cameron Williams, Richard Wilkins, Kellie Connolly, Sarah Murdoch, Sharyn Ghidella, Leila McKinnon, Kim Watkins, Helen Dalley, Ellen Fanning, Ali Moore, Frank Warrick, Michael Pascoe, Amanda Paterson, Peter FitzSimons, Peter Overton, Michael Usher, Ken Sutcliffe, Mark Ferguson, Jennifer Keyte, Garry Lyon, Eddie McGuire, Terry Willesee and even Clive James on one occasion while the show was broadcasting from London. Former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner has presented the show on one occasion.


The idea of providing the latest news has been critical to the function of the program. Under the current format, seven main bulletins are delivered, once every half-hour.

News presenters have included:

Weekend Today

Deborah Knight and Sarah Harris are the main fill-in news presenters. Wendy Kingston, Amelia Adams, Sylvia Jeffreys, Tim McMillan, Sophie Walsh, Davina Smith, Christine Ahern, Majella Wiemers, Kim Watkins, Ben Fordham, Helen Kapalos, Heather Foord, Peter Overton, Mark Ferguson and Chris Smith have all among others presented the news on occasions.


Finance editor Ross Greenwood presents Money Minute weekdays on Today as well as financial stories. In 2007, Amber Sherlock joined as finance reporter. Since 2008, Sherlock presented business news and overnight market update at 5.30 timeslot. In 2009, Sherlock presented Finance reports from Monday to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were presented by Kristie Carter. Currently, Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner now present the Finance news after presenting the news.

Finance presenters have included:


Before 2006, the Today news presenter presented the sports report. However in 2006, the show introduced a separate sports presenter and bulletin. Ben Fordham presents live and current sports news after the news bulletin every half-hour. In addition to the sports bulletins, Today each day presents a segment named Best of the Back Pages referring to the sports news in a newspaper, where Fordham is joined by a sporting expert to discuss and analyse sports news. Cameron Williams previously presented sport from 2006 until 2010 he is now focusing on co-hosting Weekend Today. On Weekend Today, Tim Gilbert presents sport. The current weekday fill-in presenter is either Tim Gilbert or the news presenter. On weekends, Ben Damon & Roz Kelly are the main fill-in presenters.

Sports presenters have included:

Weekend Today

  • Michael Slater (Sunday. 2009 – 2010)
  • Tim Gilbert (2009 – present)


Currently, Today presents weather after each news and sport bulletin, every half-hour. Steven Jacobs is the current weather presenter and he travels the country and occasionally the world, presenting the weather from somewhere new each day or in the studio. Kelly Landry, Emma Freedman, Felicity Whelan Giaan Rooney, Shura Taft, Gorgi Coghlan, Dave Kirwan, Jaynie Seal, Livinia Nixon, Majella Wiemers, Joseph May have all presented the weather on various occasions too.

Weather presenters have included:

Weekend Today
In December 2009, Felicity Whelan began presenting the weather on 'Weekend Today' after she was chosen through the 'Weekend Weather Presenter' competition. Felicity also filled-in for Steven Jacobs on Today weather. However in April 2010, main fill-in weather presenter, Emma Freedman replaced Felicity who joined Network Ten. Rose Jacobs is now a fill-in weather presenter for Freedman.

  • Felicity Whelan (2009 – 2010)
  • Emma Freedman (2010 – present)


Today's entertainment presenter, Richard Wilkins (Nine Network entertainment editor), presents daily features, interviews, movie and television reviews, and reports, from right across the world of showbiz.[15] Joan McInnes filled the role for the shows first 7 years.

Additionally, Richard Reid is the show's Hollywood Entertainment Reporter. He delivers daily reports live from the studio or somewhere new each day around the country or occasionally in Hollywood. twice each day, along with his own "Hollywood Minute" where he is timed to get all his news in within 1 minute if he fails to do so they cut him off and continue with the rest of the show. Other things he does are "Best Dressed of the Week", Ask Richard and Spray of the Day segments.[16] In July 2009, Jules Lund filled in for Wilkins whilst he was on a holiday whilst during the 2009/2010 summer period Tim Ross filled in for Wilkins.

Entertainment presenters have included:

  • Joan McInnes (1981 – 1988)
  • Richard Wilkins (1994 – present)
  • Richard Reid (2004 – present)

Weekend Today

  • Michele Mahone (2009 – present)

Battle With Sunrise

Since 2004, Sunrise has won the ratings battle, averaging more than 150,000 more viewers than Today.[17] However, during 2007 Today has slightly improved its ratings and made significant gains in audience. With a 9% rise year-on-year between 7 and 9am, and a 16% hike in the key 6 to 7am newshour.[18] In contrast, Sunrise has slumped four per cent year-on-year in the 7 to 9am timeslot. While, in Melbourne (where Today is the most dominant) alone Today has won the morning breakfast slot for most weeks since May in the 2007 ratings by a large and considerable margin.[19][20]

In 2009, Today continued to gain more of lead over Sunrise's than it did in previous years. On Friday 12 April 2009, Today beat the Seven Network's Sunrise. Today rated 279,000 viewers to Sunrise's 275,000 viewers. This had not been achieved by Today in almost 5 years. They also won Sydney 107,000 to 96,000, not achieving this since 2004.

Since 2010, Today has had a surge in viewers, as had the whole Nine Network- especially in News & Current Affairs. Sunrise is still strong overall, ahead of Nine by about 50-80,000 nationwide.

During 2011, Today has enjoyed quite a few national wins over Sunrise. Today usually beats Sunrise by a considerable margin in Australia's biggest and most important markets Melbourne and Sydney, however Sunrise's audiences in smaller cities Adelaide and Perth are higher than Today's. As a result Sunrise still receives higher ratings than Today nationally.


Due to the fact that Australia has more than one time zone, Today is not broadcast live to the entire nation. New South Wales (including ACT), Victoria and Tasmania have Today aired live all year round. However, during daylight saving time, Queensland receives Today delayed by one hour. However, in 2007 Today began a trial and aired live into Queensland between 5:00 - 8.30am, with an extra Queensland-only half an hour.[21] This was unsuccessful and in 2008 returned to its previous delayed telecast. However, in the case of major breaking news (e.g. Cyclone), the program goes live into the state, to help provide residents with up-to-date information. Additionally, the Northern Territory, has Today delayed thirty minutes during winter and one-and-half hours during daylight saving time. Some parts of South Australia are also delayed by thirty minutes and in Western Australia the program is delayed by two hours during winter, and three hours during daylight saving time.

Other National and International Broadcasts

Imparja and WIN Television air Today between 5.30 and 9am on the eastern coast of Australia. They also air the show weekdays between 5.00 and 8.30am local time in other Australian locations. In addition to Australia, Today is broadcast in Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Papua New Guinea on EMTV, and in Fiji on Fiji Television.[22]

International Connections

Even though the name of the show is the same as America's NBC Today Show, it has no link to its American namesake. But ironically, Today airs Good Morning America between 4.00 and 5.00am due to affiliate agreements.[23] However, its rival on the Seven Network, Sunrise, follows the American NBC Today Show format, including a streetside studio. The Seven Network airs a condensed version of the American programme between 4.00 and 5.00am, preceding Sunrise Extra, which is titled NBC Today in programme listings to avert confusion.

See also


  1. ^ a b c History - Nine Network, 28 June 2007
  2. ^ National Today Show - National Film and Sound Archive, 7 November 2007
  3. ^ Longest Breakfast Program - Commonwealth Bank, 31 August 2007.
  4. ^ Liebmann Heart Attack - Heart Research, 10 May 2005
  5. ^ "Liebmann leaves Today". The Age. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  6. ^ Malkin, Bonnie (19 December 2005). "Channel Nine bags news star of Ten". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  7. ^ Topham, Gwyn (31 January 2006). "Rowe laughs last and loudest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  8. ^ Murray, Lisa (1 July 2006). "Poison, pay cuts and the plan to sack Jessica Rowe". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  9. ^ Jameson, Julietta (12 November 2006). "Nine turns to a Murdoch to boost ratings". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  10. ^ "Jessica Rowe leaves Channel 9". The Australian. 6 May 2007.,20867,21680535-1702,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  11. ^ "Nine 'bones' Rowe". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  12. ^ Celebrating 25 years - Today Website, 1 June 2007
  13. ^ Anniversary - Throng, 30 May 2007
  14. ^ Knox, David (28 January 2009). "Weekend Sunrise wakes up to Today’s alarm". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  15. ^ Richard Wilkins - Mediaman, 7 November 2007
  16. ^ Richard Reid - eBroadcast, 30 October 2007
  17. ^ Improvement of Today Ratings - eBroadcast, 22 May 2007
  18. ^ Lisa Wilkinson to co-host TODAY - Today Website, 10 May 2007
  19. ^ Winning In Melbourne - News Limited, 13 June 2007
  20. ^ Today Melbourne Success - eBroadcast, 6 June 2007
  21. ^ Live At Five In Queensland - Today Website, 19 October 2007
  22. ^ Broadcast Locations - Pjreview, 10 September 2004
  23. ^ Affiliate Agreements - Transdiffusion, 7 November 2007

External links

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