Viewers rage: ‘Drop Karl’ instead
ANGRY viewers have lashed out at Channel 9 over news Peter Stefanovic has left the network after 15 years, declaring that the "wrong brother" had been shown the door.
The announcement was made on Tuesday night, following days of speculation that he was set to be dropped from his Weekend Today hosting role.
There was a swift reaction on social media, with many frustrated users quick to point out that Peter's brother - embattled Today host Karl Stefanovic - should have been cut loose instead.
"Pete's taken one for the team", "Would prefer Pete over Karl anyday (sic)", "Keep Pete and get rid of Karl", and "Take your brother with you" were just some of the comments posted on Facebook.
Another wrote: "The wrong brother has left the building … The Nine Network really need to pay attention to the water cooler talk happening in the nation … Australia is over Karl. It's time for a new look Today."
The bombshell announcement came just days after Nine denied a Daily Telegraph report that Peter was being replaced on Weekend Today due to a lacklustre performance.
It's understood Nine bosses still largely blame Peter for Ubergate, which saw the network's dirty laundry aired thanks to a leaked phone call between the Stefanovic brothers.
While travelling in an Uber with his wife, Today newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys, Peter was busted having a speakerphone conversation with Karl, complaining about Nine and their colleagues.
According to The Australian, Nine insiders were "in shock" over the news, describing Peter as a "decent fellow" and a "bloody good reporter".
''Everyone is in shock, but it's Ubergate that's done him in," one Nine insider told the publication.
"Today has been spiralling out of control. And they bone people."
In a statement released on Tuesday evening, a Nine spokesman confirmed the younger brother of Karl Stefanovic was leaving the network after 15 years.
"Nine and reporter Peter Stefanovic have mutually decided to part ways after 15 years," the spokesman told news.com.au.
"Peter has decided to explore new opportunities and is looking forward to spending weekends with his wife.
"He has been a respected member of the Nine News team and Weekend Today, and we wish him all the best for the future."
Meanwhile, Peter said he had "an amazing time at Nine being a foreign correspondent, news reporter and covering some amazing stories for 60 Minutes" - but strangely didn't mention his latest gig on Weekend Today.
"I'll miss my friends at Nine very much. It has been a huge privilege to work alongside so many great people," he said.
Peter's departure from Nine comes just a fortnight after Today's executive producer Mark Calvert stepped down following a year of bad ratings.
A network insider told news.com.au at the time, "I presume (Nine announced Calvert had stepped down) because they needed a scapegoat to appease advertisers. To say, 'Look, we've done something. It will get better now.' God help the next executive producer."