The former breakfast show host is widely believed to be in talks to return in 2020 alongside Weekend Today host and 60 Minutes presenter, Allison Langdon.
It would represent a major comeback for Stefanovic, who was axed by Nine late last year while on his honeymoon after months of negative publicity around the breakdown of his first marriage.
However, according to The Australian, the move can only happen if Nine’s biggest star agrees to sacrifice a large chunk of his contract, which is reportedly worth more than $2 million per year.
Today, with its current line-up of Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight, has struggled in the ratings since his departure and last Friday suffered its worst result for the year, attracting just 155,000 viewers in five capital cities.
Stefanovic has done nothing to hose down reports of his big return, even joking about it with Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa after taking part in their annual charity cricket match last week.
“When I messaged Karl to say thanks for being part of the team, he wrote back: ‘Haven’t lost one mate’,” Wippa said on-air.
“So mate, you’re the lucky charm?”
Stefanovic joked: “Well, that’s what I keep trying to tell Channel 9, that I’m the lucky charm. If they want to pad me up and send me in I’m ready to go in and we’ll have a win.”
Meanwhile, radio host Kyle Sandilands has also publicly campaigned for his friend’s return to the show, telling news.com.au at a recent event that “everything is fixed” if Stefanovic is reinstated.
“If they put Karl back in there as the main host with those two female co-anchors, that thing would kick a**e, everyone knows it.
“It’s as if they (Channel 9 executives) won’t do it because they’ll look stupid. But you don’t need to be a great programmer to realise that if you put Karl back, everything is fixed.”
The news of Stefanovic’s potential pay cut and Today return comes amid reports Today Extra host Sonia Kruger is leaving Nine for its rival Seven.
According to TV Blackbox and Daily Mail, Kruger agreed to a “seven-figure” deal to return to her former network in 2020, nine years after first defecting to Nine.
It’s understood Nine had initially presented the 54-year-old presenter a new three-year contract worth over $1.5 million, but negotiations had broken down and she had accepted Seven’s offer.
While it’s clearly a major blow for Nine, Kruger’s defection does open up the Today Extra hosting role – which would make a potential Today host reshuffle a little easier.