Karl Stefanovic may have only been dumped from Channel Nine’s Today show on Wednesday – but his fate at the network was already sealed long before.
In April 2017, as the school holidays kicked off, the father-of-three found himself at the centre of a PR disaster that ultimately led to his demise.
Because it was in that month, the women of Australia finally saw Karl’s marriage split for what it was – and they never forgave him.
During the Easter break, paparazzi photos captured two very different scenes which appeared to perfectly sum up how Karl and his then-estranged wife Cassandra Thorburn were coping in the aftermath of their marriage split six months before.
Karl was pictured enjoying an emotional reunion at Los Angeles International Airport with his new girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough – a woman he had only known since December 2016.
Jasmine, a shoe designer nine years younger than Karl, passionately leaped into the Today host’s arms as they kissed in the middle of a busy parking lot.
Their fledgling romance had been public knowledge since February, when they were pictured canoodling on a yacht in Sydney Harbour.
The LAX photos were first published by New Idea magazine, which is owned by Nine’s commercial rivals Seven West Media, and were accompanied by the headline ‘The moment she said yes!’
Meanwhile, pictures taken that same month offered a sad glimpse of how Cassandra’s life had changed since Karl walked out on their 21-year marriage.
She was pictured looking downcast while packing up the couple’s family home – which was no doubt full of painful memories after her husband’s departure.
The house, in Lindfield in Sydney’s upper north shore, was sold for $3.8million in November 2016, following the bitter break-up.
Cassandra now lives 10km away in Cremorne with her three children: Jackson, 19, River, 12, and Ava, 13.
After the two sets of photos were splashed across the tabloids, there was nothing Channel Nine’s PR machine could do to save their golden boy.
Ratings for the Today show plummeted and market research would later confirm that female viewers had turned their backs on Karl.
In September this year, the Today show’s viewership plunged to a 12-year low and Karl was publicly criticised by Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks.
The embattled breakfast TV star apparently believed that by marrying Jasmine, viewers would gradually forgive him and return to the program.
Channel Nine management had other ideas, however, and unceremoniously sacked Karl while the newlyweds were on their honeymoon in Aspen, Colorado.
The extravagance of the four-day festivities in Los Cabos, Mexico was reportedly the ‘last straw’ which made executives finally decide to pull the trigger.
In an official network statement announcing his departure from Today on Wednesday, Karl said: ‘For the last 14 years I’ve co-hosted the best show on television. I can’t thank Nine enough for the opportunity.
‘I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be good enough to host this grand show for so long.
‘Thanks to our viewers mostly, you are what matters most. It’s been a tough time. Thanks for hanging in there. I look forward to seeing you in another capacity at this great network soon.’
It comes after Channel Nine sources claimed on Wednesday that executives were ‘horrified’ by the coverage of Karl and Jasmine’s wedding.
Senior management figures were particularly outraged by the fact ‘exclusive’ photos from the ceremony had been supplied to Who magazine.
While it’s understood there was no paid deal with the publication, higher-ups were upset that a rival outlet had been prioritised over Nine.