Telling difference in Georgie’s send-off
The Today show's farewell to Georgie Gardner this morning could not have been more different to the "completely OTT" goodbye she received five years ago on the program.
When Channel 9 announced on the weekend that Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon would front the Today show in 2020, Gardner made it clear she had no interest in seeing out the rest of the year on air.
"I was consulted two weeks ago about the future direction of the Today show, and naturally I'm disappointed with the outcome," she told The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.
Gardner was nowhere to be seen this morning as Knight and newsreader Tom Steinfort, who filled her seat, bid the co-host a quick farewell on the breakfast show just before 6am.
"We wanted to acknowledge our colleague and friend Georgie Gardner," Knight told viewers.
"You might have read over the weekend that Georgie has left the Today show. After a really challenging year we want to wish Georgie all the very best."
Knight than awkwardly summed up her co-presenter's contribution to the program, saying, "She gave it a red hot go."
Gardner's farewell after two years as a Today co-host came and went with barely a whimper this morning, and was in stark contrast to the send-off she received in 2014.
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After seven years as Today's newsreader, Gardner announced in May 2014 that she had decided to leave the show to spend more time with her husband and two kids.
"We all know that this show, the hours are gruelling, you have to be extremely committed," she said on air when announcing her intention to leave.
"You're all family but I feel that I actually need to give back to my own family a bit more, so that's really want I've based the decision on … I feel it's time for Tim and the kids to have present mummy as opposed to grumpy mummy."
A couple of weeks later on June 6, Gardner was given an epic farewell which was described as "horrifically OTT" by The Daily Telegraph's David Campbell (not to be confused with the David Campbell who hosts Today Extra).
"The whole process was - in a word - sickening," Campbell wrote.
"Montages. Well wishes from staff, fellow presenters, former presenters and fans. Even a personal message from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
"I'm not saying the better part of a decade in one job is a small thing but surely a five-minute thanks for the memories segment at the end of the show would have sufficed. Followed by the obligatory studio party behind closed doors of course.
"But no, Channel 9's flagship breakfast show pulled out all the stops - and then some - to dedicate the entire program to Gardner's departure."
During her final show, Gardner broke down in tears after watching a tribute from legendary news anchor Brian Henderson who described her as "one of the finest newsreaders in the country".
"You know how to make a girl cry … that means a lot coming from you Brian Henderson," Gardner said.
She was also joined by her replacement, Sylvia Jeffreys, who told Gardner it was "quite literally terrifying following you, someone who I admire so much".
As the show came to a close, Gardner was embraced in a group hug by Karl Stefanovic, Ben Fordham, Lisa Wilkinson and Richard Wilkins.
This morning, after Gardner had left the show once again, there was no such hug, just a quick shout out to the host for giving it "a red hot go".
While her on-air goodbye may have been much more subdued this time around, it appeared Gardner was marking the occasion off-air - she was photographed enjoying a champagne during lunch with friends on Sunday: