Brooke Boney steps up as co-host of the Today show as new anchor Sarah Abo is nowhere to be seen… after she was promoted to newsreader
The Today show’s early-bird viewers woke up to a different line-up on Friday.
Newly promoted newsreader Brooke Boney stepped up to the main desk to co-anchor the program with Karl Stefanovic from 5:30am.
She was filling in for rookie presenter Sarah Abo, who missed the first 45 minutes of the broadcast because of another work commitment.
Abo’s vanishing act was explained by Stefanovic at the start of the show.
He said his co-host, a footy tragic, was ‘preparing for a big interview’ related to the start of the AFL season.
The Today show’s early-bird viewers woke up to a different line-up on Friday, with newly promoted newsreader Brooke Boney (right) stepping up to the main desk to co-anchor the program with Karl Stefanovic (left) from 5:30am
She was filling in for rookie presenter Sarah Abo (right), who missed the first 45 minutes of the broadcast because she was ‘preparing for a big interview’ related to the start of the AFL season
Abo was back on the desk by 6:20am, but wouldn’t give any details about the ‘top secret’ interview she was doing.
It comes after there was a shake-up on Nine’s breakfast program last month when entertainment presenter Boney took over Alex Cullen’s newsreading role, while he stepped back to focus solely on sport.
While the network put out a statement backing Cullen as a key player in the show’s line-up, New Idea reported on Monday the changing roles had caused ‘tension’ between Cullen and Boney.
‘You can cut the air with a knife,’ a source told the magazine.
‘Alex returned from the Australian Open tennis coverage and Brooke was in his chair. [He] has copped it on the chin, but it has made everyone feel on edge.’
There was a shake-up on Today last month when entertainment presenter Boney (pictured) took over Alex Cullen’s newsreading role, while he stepped back to focus solely on sport
While the network has put out a statement backing Cullen (pictured) as a key player in Today’s line-up, New Idea reports the changing roles have caused ‘tension’ between Cullen and Boney
Two weeks ago, a column in The Sunday Telegraph about Cullen being ‘yanked from his news role and replaced by Boney’ prompted the network to clarify he was still part of the Today show line-up, but ‘totally focused on sport’.
The piece by Annette Sharp described the shake-up as a ‘demotion’ for Cullen, who will now only present sports segments after being relieved of his news desk duties.
Sharp also suggested Jim Wilson, who recently exited Nine, would have been a better fit than Cullen for the sports reporter role on Today.
Responding to the article hours later, Nine’s director of morning television Steve Burling was quoted on WWOS as saying: ‘The importance of sport across Nine has led to us shifting focus on our line-up for Today, with Brooke Boney now taking on news and entertainment and Alex Cullen totally focused on sport.
‘Alex has a passion for all things sport, so it is a comfortable fit.’
In recent weeks, Boney has been sitting in the news chair while also juggling her usual entertainment segments.
Boney joined the program in 2019 as an entertainment reporter after working on Triple J as a weekday morning news presenter
Meanwhile, Cullen has taken a back seat to focus on his main role as Today’s sports presenter. He also hosts Nine’s early 5am news bulletin.
Cullen joined Today for its relaunch three years ago. He was initially just the sports man, but took over news when Tracy Vo quit the show and returned to 9News Perth.
Boney joined the program in 2019 as an entertainment reporter after working on Triple J as a weekday morning news presenter.
Nine updated its online bio of the journalist last month to include her news duties in her title, which is now ‘Today news and entertainment reporter’.