Nine has denied the rumours it’s looking to “poach” Network 10’s Carrie Bickmore to co-host the Today Show with former presenter Karl Stefanovic.
The story, which was posted across News Corp titles over the weekend reported Nine was looking to poach Bickmore in order to ramp up Today‘s ratings.
The article claimed Nine offered $1.5 million to Bickmore to move to Nine.
According to the report, an unnamed source ‘close to the deal’ said: “There’s no question something needs to be done and the attitude is ‘OK we need to go hard or go home’.
“Despite Karl’s patchy history he is still seen as a star who can draw an audience, and Carrie is undoubtedly seen as a legitimate star of the future.
Nine director of news and current affairs Darren Wick labeled the Tele’s report as “completely made up.”
He said: “The story published by News Corporation in its Sunday newspapers and online stating as fact that Nine has approached Carrie Bickmore to join the Network is a lie.
“Nine has not approached, and does not intend to approach, Carrie Bickmore or her representatives about joining Nine as a host of the Today Show, nor in any other role.”
While Wick praised Bickmore’s talent, he said “she does not factor into [Nine’s] plans for the future.”
He added: “The reporter, Amy Harris, who wrote this lie was told yesterday by a Nine spokesperson that her allegation was incorrect. Yet, News Corporation has chosen to publish it regardless without corroborating sources or facts to support this fantasy.”
Since Stefanovic’s departure late last year, there have plenty of rumours he will be returning to Today, which Nine has consistently denied.
However, the breakfast program has suffered a dip in ratings without Stefanovic, often sitting around 180,000 – 200,000 viewers and losing out to its competitor.