Nine director of morning television and executive producer of the Today Show Mark Calvert is exiting network.
The news was announced to staff via an email, which cited the battle between Seven’s Sunrise and The Today Show as an ongoing issue.
The email, from Nine national director of news & current affairs Darren Wick wrote: “I know there is no more challenging role in News and Current Affairs than the daily breakfast battle between Today and Sunrise.
“It’s a national ratings race where audience loyalty fluctuates from city to city, and often suburb to suburb.
“And there is no programme on Australian television that is analysed, revised and criticised as much as TODAY.
“The hours are exhausting, the competition is intense and the media coverage – good and bad – is unrelenting.”
Wick went on to thank Calvert who had been at the helm of Today for the past five years and championed his efforts in “rebuilding” the show, re-energising the team and for the “memorable ratings year win in 2016”.
Wick added: “Mark has been a great close colleague and mate of mine for more than a decade. I want to thank him for his passion, commitment and contribution to TODAY and NINE.
“We wish him well for his future.”
Calvert’s exit is also being blamed on the ongoing tension between himself and Today host Karl Stefanovic, though rumours of this have not been confirmed in any way.
It’s not the first time the behind-the-scenes ongoings of Today have made headlines this year.
In late September, Nine CEO Hugh Marks played down media reports Stefanovic was “gone” and would be replaced following plummeting ratings at the breakfast show.
It came after The Sunday Telegraph reported Marks himself was “tipped to move Stefanovic on this week – a move which one insider says has been on the agenda for several weeks.”
Speaking to The Australian at the time, Marks agreed that the ongoing negative press surrounding Stefanovic’s personal life had proven an unwanted distraction.
Marks said it has been a “tough and challenging year” for Stefanovic before adding: “No doubt the constant publicity surrounding issues with his personal life have had an impact on Karl, his colleagues and on the show.
“We can’t hide from that.
“And as a result we know there’s a lot of hard work to be done to win back the audience.
“We stick by our people at Nine and we’ve put the challenge on the Today show producers, the presenters and, especially, on Karl to regain the trust and loyalty of our audience.
“And I have every confidence they will do it,” he told The Oz.