Today show slumps to new low
Morning news show Today has suffered its lowest TV ratings for 2020, despite the return of Nine's golden boy Karl Stefanovic.
Yesterday the show slumped to its lowest viewership since Stefanovic returned, and close to its lowest ever.
According to the Tuesday city metro figures, the show brought in 173,000 viewers - beaten by its commercial morning show rival Sunrise at 272,000 with a gap of almost 100,000, and ABC News Breakfast at 178,000.
The ratings mark Today's second day in a row under 200,000 viewers, and are far lower than last year's total average with Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardner.
Stefanovic returned to the Today hosting chair in January, a little more than 12 months after being booted amid a ratings slump.
Media analyst Steve Allen said it was no surprise that Today was still struggling to regain lost ground.
"The majority of the breakfast audience is female, and they were the ones that reacted greatly against Stefanovic's various missteps in 2018," he told news.com.au. "Our knowledge of that audience is that they don't forgive easily. We were never convinced his return after a year and a bit of PR boosting would rebuild the bridge.
"I think the vast majority of people are watching Today on a wait-and-see basis."
Mr Allen said it's likely Nine's executives would have expected Today to fare better than it has.
He noted that while they did receive an "artificial boost" from their coverage of the bushfires, they're still struggling to close the gap with Sunrise.
However, it's unlikely the network would axe the presenter again in the foreseeable future, saying there would have to be a major shake-up at the rival show.
"They certainly wouldn't win again. The next time they make a major change is when Armytage or Kochie don't renew their contract or leave Sunrise.
"Plus, when you've got an expensive star on contract like Stefanovic, you'd much rather use that person than get rid of them."
Today's best national audience with Stefanovic in the chair was 475,000, which it hit in 2016, with 315,000 of those residing in the key five-city metropolitan viewers bracket.
It was in that year, with Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson hosting, that the show came close to rivalling Sunrise for a brief period.
But in the three years since, including while he was still front and centre, viewers have steadily abandoned Today in favour of its Channel 7 foe as well as News Breakfast on ABC.
When Stefanovic was dumped in December last year, it was on the back of months of negative publicity over his personal life, which executives viewed as a key cause of the ratings slump.