The Australian entertainment industry – indeed, a large swathe of the nation’s public – is today mourning the passing of Karl Stefanovic’s morning-television career. It was only 14.
A family spokesperson said the untimely death yesterday was due to acute naughtboyitis, aggravated by very low ratings pressure.
Tributes for a career cut short so tragically have begun to flow from Network Nine executives, his current and past co-hosts on the Today show, and the Australian liquor industry.
Network Nine’s news director, Chase Ratings, described Stefanovic as the quintessential news hound who could sniff a good yarn miles and miles from whatever late-night bar he was using to rehearse his impromptu quips for the next morning’s show.
Mr Ratings said the Nine Network would naturally pay tribute to a Stella career in an appropriate way, including through its new on-air station identity for 2019 (pictured).
Other station executives also mourned the passing of the star’s career but one added, on the basis of anonymity, that the money saved on Stefanovic’s salary would mean some 105 planned journalist redundancies across the former Fairfax mastheads of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review “might now not go ahead, at least not in the short-term”.
A leading trauma psychotherapist, Dr Harris Rolfe, has encouraged Australians to seek professional assistance or counselling in the wake of the nation losing two Stefanovics in two days.
“It is bad enough finding out that Peter Stefanovic has vanished suddenly from our lives, but to find out Karl has gone too may just be too much to bear for some people,” Dr Rolfe said.
“There is a limit to how much individuals and the nation as a whole can take when it comes to this sort of trauma.”
When asked by The Bug if the double loss could be likened to the attack on the twin towers in New York for its emotional and psychological impact, Dr Rolfe was very direct in his assessment.
“No,” he said.
Stefanovic’s morning TV career might now be dead but he certainly scored some high and low points.
- At the height of his popularity, it was estimated that one in every three people in Australia with the surname Stefanovic was tuned in to see him perform.
- At the height of his popularity, it was estimated that one in every three people in Australia with the surname Stefanovic was employed by Network Nine.
- Three years in a row, Stefanovic won the coveted bronze Logie for the celebrity still the most giggly-girl pissed a full 24 hours after the Logies telecast.
- His career suffered a setback when long-time co-host Lisa Wilkinson left the show. One critic cruelly wrote that Wilkinson had for many years been the fizzy Berocca to Stefanovic’s overpriced but bland mini-bar bottled water.
- His ratings slide quickened when he split from his wife of more than two decades.
- Former loyal fans were further dismayed by the gaudiness, shallowness and pretentiousness of some of his recent behaviour. Then, of course, there was that wedding.
Full details of funeral arrangements had not been made as this story was being prepared for publication.
But shortly after releasing news of Stefanovic’s demise, the Nine Network issued a statement saying it had arranged a special train to transport his Gold Logie from Melbourne to the network’s Sydney headquarters (pictured).
Head of the network’s publicity department, Fifi Flak, said: “Karl lost the Logie in Melbourne after ’emotional celebrations’ that followed his win that year.
“Now that we have finally located it, and as we have legal advice that the Logie actually belongs to the network, it is only logical it is returned in a dignified and solemn manner given the current circumstances.
“The special Logie train is a way average viewers can pay their respects as it passes through their communities,” Ms Flak said.
The Bug followed the train as it travelled through southern New South Wales and witnessed the outpouring of grief by crowds almost one deep in parts.
Melanie Pimball, 19, (pictured) was distraught when The Bug approached her standing at the side of the tracks as the train passed through Wangaratta.
Through uncontrollable sobbing she said: ” He’s gone. He’s never coming back.”
When asked what she would remember most about Karl she replied: “Who? I’m here looking for my fuckwit of a dog. He’s run off again, the little shit.”