Enough about Tom Gleeson, the real story out of this year’s Logies was the seemingly miraculous resurrection of Karl Stefanovic.
Karl Stefanovic is poised for a major return to television after six months “decompressing”.
Seven months ago, Stefanovic was persona non grata around the corridors of Channel Nine.
But last Sunday, Stefanovic was sitting on the network’s top table under a spotlight and smack bang in the middle of the Logies, his mug getting a healthy airing on Nine’s telecast.
It truly was a miracle given he had lost his plum gig co-hosting Today after 14 years because his bosses at Nine were completely underwhelmed by all the bad press he was generating.
His personal life spiralled into a haze of tabloid headlines and paparazzi chases across Sydney. Nine’s bosses cut him loose just as he embarked on his extravagant but poorly received Mexican wedding to second wife Jasmine Yarbrough.
But after six months off the airwaves, Stefanovic is back and apparently his bosses couldn’t be happier. And chatter is rife we could soon see him return to a plum gig on the Nine Network, which is now owned by the same corporate entity which controls this masthead.
‘‘It’s been about six months since I was on the telly and I needed to have a rest towards the end of last year, I was cooked,’’ Stefanovic said on Monday morning after having a comparatively relaxing night at the Logies. ‘‘It had taken its toll, a lot of the attention at the end of last year … A lot of the unwarranted attention I thought.’’
All is forgiven: Stefanovic is back in the Channel Nine fold.
Stefanovic was disarmingly honest about the toll the past year had taken on him.
‘‘You can’t control any of that and I’m not going to complain too much about all that,’’ he said. ‘‘But what it meant in a work capacity was that I don’t believe for a second I was at my best. I was struggling towards the end of last year.’’
As for losing his Today gig, Stefanovic said: ‘‘It wasn’t a great surprise and it was a relief in many ways that I was taken off the Today show because I just wasn’t at my best, and you can’t be doing that show unless you are at the top of your game.
‘‘You’ve got to be sharp. You’ve got to be witty. You’ve got to be funny. You’ve got to see all the angles, and to be honest, at the end of last year, I wasn't seeing very much.’’
While he did not go into specifics, Stefanovic admitted his mental health had taken a toll, telling PS the months off air had allowed him time to ‘‘decompress’’ and rest.
‘‘It allowed me to think about life in a much clearer way and to know that when I did come back I would be ok … for a while there, to be honest, I don’t think I was OK.’’
Stefanovic is now back at work, finishing the next series of This Time Next Year which will soon go to air, featuring moving individual ambitions over the course of a year.
As for what happens after that, Stefanovic has shot a few stories for 60 Minutes but says he does not want to ‘‘overload’’ himself.
However, as the most expensive talent on Channel Nine and with a year still left on his contract, speculation is rife he could soon return to a major hosting role on the network.
Indeed, he is being embraced, quite literally, by Nine management. PS spotted Nine chief executive officer Hugh Marks hugging Stefanovic at one point on Monday.
While rumours he would return to Today have been previously knocked on the head, PS understands that a spot on breakfast television is currently being discussed by several key players at the network – Today could certainly use a ratings boost.
Peter Stefanovic, Karl’s brother who’s gone on to host First Edition on Sky News after being axed from Nine, was more coy when PS asked about a return to his old job, wryly offering: ‘‘I still wake up with Today.’’
Logies hits, misses and a raw pirate prawn
After spending years being chased around the Nine Logies after-party by publicists trying to boot me out, this year PS was welcomed with open arms now we are all one big (gulp) happy family.
Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore keep an eye on social media before launching on to the Logies red carpet last Sunday.Credit:AAP
But in reality, the age of social media and smartphones means celebrities barely misbehave like they once did, though PS did see one reality TV personality being carried out in the wee hours, looking a little, ahem, tired and emotional.
While everyone was talking about Gleeson’s Gold Logie acceptance speech in the media, in The Star’s ballroom on the Gold Coast most of the talk focused on how Seven and Nine didn’t pick up a single award.
Table mates: Sigrid Thornton, Dan Wyllie and Kerry Armstrong go down to the wire with their Gold Logie votes during the Logies.Credit:Andrew Hornery
There are high hopes for Nine’s reboot of the ABC hit Seachange, and PS sat with the show’s stars Sigrid Thornton, Kerry Armstrong and Dan Wyllie, who appeared to be going down to the wire on their smartphones placing their Gold Logie votes. They also seemed pretty confident about how audiences would respond to their show’s latest incarnation.
Indeed, some of the stars of Married At First Sight could take a lesson or two from the likes of Thornton on how to conduct themselves at the Logies. From badgering their way to free drinks and elbowing poor old David Koch off the red carpet, it would seem some of the MAFS class of 2019 have well and truly used up their 15 minutes.
The ABC’s Costa Georgiadis won the Logie for the Most Popular Lifestyle Program for his show Gardening Australia.Credit:AAP
The look of bemusement was writ large on former Gold Logie winner and The Block host Scott Cam as Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis and his crew collected two gongs. Georgiadis was mobbed on his flight back to Sydney on Monday with fellow passengers getting selfies with him and his Logie.
But it was on the pre-awards red carpet where the Logies pecking order was best played out.
This year’s slowest star on the ruby pile was undoubtedly Channel Ten’s Lisa Wilkinson, who ensured every camera was graced and every quote given, though somehow she missed PS.
Pardon? The giant rubber prawn not answering questions on the Logies red carpet.Credit:AAP
Not to worry, instead I had Osher Gunsberg to entertain me, along with a huge rubber prawn wearing a Madonna-style eye patch. Apparently, they are part of some new singing show, but when a publicist informed me the prawn – who was holding a microphone – ‘‘will not be answering questions’’, there seemed little point in engaging any further.
Sadly missing from this year’s Logies was the table of golden oldies, which over the years has included the likes of Tony Barber, Bert and Patti Newton, Ernie Sigley and Rowena Wallace.
A Gold Logie means you are invited to the Logies for life, but perhaps the trip to the Gold Coast was a bridge too far as PS only spotted one of the veterans, Hazel Phillips. She won back in 1967 and has barely missed a Logies since. She’s now 89!
Anasta back on set
You’ve got to feel a tiny bit sorry for Neighbours star Jodi Anasta. It's almost 10 years to the day since she was embroiled in a headline-making Kings Cross all-nighter with bikie figure Mark Judge – which ultimately led to the breakdown of her relationship with media heir Ryan Stokes, who filed a missing person’s report when she didn’t come home.
Exhausted: Jodi Anasta.Credit:Stefan Postles
The spectre of that scandal is something the 34-year-old single mother and divorcee has had to live with since, as she discovered three weeks ago when she suddenly took leave from production of Neighbours citing ‘‘exhaustion’’. This fuelled another round of speculation in the gossip magazines amid claims she was forgetting her lines.
But Anasta returned to work on Thursday. Her manager Sean Anderson assured PS she was fully rested and denied she had forgotten her lines … well, it’s hardly Shakespeare.
Yet a veil of secrecy remains around Anasta, with little detail offered about what led to her exhaustion amid reports her Neighbours bosses had ‘‘forced’’ her to take leave, throwing production into chaos as her character Elly Conway is at the centre of a key love triangle storyline.
There were hopes that Anasta had rested up enough to walk the red carpet last Sunday at the Logies, and her face and name were included in the ‘‘talent sheet’’ distributed to the media before the event. However, she was a no-show.
Anasta was photographed on the streets of Bondi on Tuesday but little has been revealed about what the exact cause of her exhaustion was, given she recently posted on her Instagram feed about how rejuvenated she was from her recent holidays, which included a trip to the Coachella festival in April.
Packer denies engagement
Reclusive billionaire James Packer has been soaking up the sea air off Capri, Italy, over the past few weeks hosting his right-hand man Ben Tilley and spending quality time with his girlfriend of two years, American socialite Kylie Lim.
James Packer’s new superyacht.
However, Packer told PS that reports in the Daily Telegraph suggesting he had become engaged to Lim, who was sporting a huge diamond ring on her wedding finger, were not correct.
‘‘There’s nothing to announce,’’ Packer assured PS. ‘‘I give you my word I will tell you if there is something.’’
Packer and his posse have been aboard the $40 million 52-metre superyacht Mischief, owned by Sydney moneybags and Dial A Dump founder Ian Malouf, which Packer has had to charter as he awaits the eventual launch of his floating palace, the 108-metre ‘‘gigayacht’’ that PS has previously revealed has cost him more than $200 million and taken four years to build.
Kylie Lim, James Packer’s girlfriend.Credit:Facebook
While Packer awaits delivery, he has to make do with a cap emblazoned with the new yacht’s name, IJE, the initials of his three children Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle.
Indeed, it could rank as the world’s most expensive cap, however, PS hears the new boat will be ready before the European summer season finishes, with a crew of Packer’s extended friends from across the world due to help launch her in August.
Carpenter, busker, Bomber out of this world
It's not easy having a Miss World pageant in 2019, but you have to give the organiser's of Sunday's NSW Miss World titles props for trying to bring the concept into the 21st Century.
Miss World contestants Darian Lenton, Tijana Bundalo and Sarah Marschke.Credit:Mish Mish Photography.
Not only have they ditched the bikini, but among those women competing at The Star for one of the five spots in the national Miss World finals are three ladies with most unusual credentials when it comes to beauty pageants.
There's Tijana Bundalo. She's a carpenter and has worked for her family’s construction company since she was 15 and is more interested in the nails she hammers than the ones she paints.
Bexley's Sarah Marschke is in the midst of launching her AFL career playing for her university team the Sydney Bombers and has high hopes of being drafted to the Sydney Swans.
Darian Lenton is a Sutherland Shire local who grew up in foster care from the age of 8. She left the foster care system at 16 and has supported herself by busking to pay for school fees. Today she is tutoring kids in foster care.
Who needs a swimsuit section?
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