Entertainment

Today’s big shake-up amid ratings woes

The Daily Telegraph reports that executive producer of the Channel 9 morning show James Birtles is heading to Sky News, with weekend executive Kendall Bora stepping up to the plate in his place.It’s not the only behind-the-scenes shift, with Today’s supervising producer switching to Michael Kersnovkse while Lesa De Re is on maternity leave. Steve Burling continues as director of morning television at the network.It comes as ABC News Breakfast upstaged the breakfast show every day last week, in an embarrassing upset that hasn’t occurred in 13 years.The results saw Sunrise draw an average of 241,000 metro viewers for the week, ahead of ABC at 195,000 and leaving Today at 176,000.This is after reports Today co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon were told to “shape up or ship out” after a disappointing 2021 spent struggling to keep up with competitors.In January, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Nine executives were planning to throw “everything but the kitchen sink” at the Today show in 2022 to boost ratings and catch up to Sunrise.Meanwhile, Sunrise, hosted by David “Kochie” Koch and Natalie Barr, has been dominating in the ratings game, making the gap with Today even wider, and the likelihood of another successful year for Channel 7 stronger.Last year, Channel 7 won the ratings war overall, with Sunrise securing top breakfast show for the 18th year running, despite Today chasing hot on its tail during some weeks of the year.Speaking to news.com.au about the year of wins, Channel 7 CEO James Warburton said it came as no surprise that Sunrise, with Natalie Barr as Samantha Armytage’s replacement, maintained its top position. “It wasn’t a surprise that she’s as strong in terms of research in the market compared to any other host in that breakfast television area. We knew that refreshing from that perspective would achieve that result.”

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