‘I got the arse’: Today’s awkward farewell
Two members of Today's on-air team bid farewell to the show this morning - although one goodbye rather overshadowed the other.
Kruger was treated to a five-minute farewell on Today, complete with highlights package and an emotional hug from Today host Deb Knight. As for Jones? He didn't even appear in-studio during his final day on air, instead appearing via video link as he interviewed boxer Danny Green and telling viewers during his final farewell that he "got the arse".
Crossing live to the studio, Jones sat slumped in mock-exhaustion in the corner of a boxing ring and appeared to joke about Today's difficult 2019 - and signs of on-air tension among the team last week: "It's been a long year. Let me tell you. I feel like I've gone 15 rounds, I'm on the ropes, and despite what they say, I'm in your corner," he said.
The next time the team crossed to Jones, he was again hamming it up - causing entertainment reporter Brooke Boney to ask: "Are you drunk TJ? Look at you - the way you are standing?"
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Jones' response suggested he was well and truly ready to wrap up his final episode, as he imagined the headlines Boney's question could elicit: "I can see it now: 'One last awkward moment as Brooke quizzes surly sports reporter, 'Are you drunk?' Anyway. No. I'm just full of life."
And then it was time for goodbye, the Today hosts telling him: "We cannot let you go TJ without of course marking this as your last day with us here on the Today show. It's been rich, it has been real."
Jones, who'd brought his dog Archie to work, initially addressed his farewell to the canine rather than his co-stars.
"Archie, it's not a great morning. You should have just stayed in bed with mum, shouldn't you, mate? The good news is, Archie has a new two-year contract. I got the arse. It's all going very, very well."
Bidding farewell to his colleagues, Jones promised that he was "not completely going - obviously I'll bob up from time to time when there is about eight people calling in sick next year. I look forward to it, and it has been a very, very fun year," he said.
"Tony, it has been a pleasure. You are one of those people, you always throw to the heart is in the mouth a little bit because where is Tony going to go with this, but that's one of the great joys of live TV. I reckon you are just about the best live TV performer in Australia. A lot better than me. I can't get the words out," Knight said.
Nine this morning posted Today's full five-minute farewell to Kruger on social media, while any mention of Jones' goodbye has not yet appeared on Nine's social accounts:
It's believed that Kruger's departure from Nine, which she announced on-air yesterday, comes after she signed a "seven-figure" deal to return to her former network, Seven, in 2020, nine years after defecting to Nine.
Kruger and Jones's twin departures come during another dramatic end of year for Nine's morning shows: With ratings dropping to new lows, Nine once more announced it would clear the decks on Today in 2020, replacing hosts Gardner and Knight with Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon. The upheaval comes just 12 months after Stefanovic was dramatically ousted.