How Karl Stefanovic partnered with News Corp for one night only

Karl Stefanovic

Plus Stefanovic’s advice for a good Logies speech

Earlier this month at Advertising Week APAC, attendees at News Corp’s exclusive Elevate Dinner witnessed a rare sight, Karl Stefanovic working with News Corp. This was despite Stefanovic having worked for News Corp’s biggest competition, Nine Entertainment Co, for 23 years.

The night featured a free-wheeling chat with News Corp Australia CEO, Michael Miller, which started off with Miller skewering Stefanovic with a large printout of the Daily Telegraph’s famous “SEX AND OUT” headline.

Karl Stefanovic daily tele

The night carried on from there with an entertaining tone as Stefanovic and Miller had an open and honest exchange about the inner workings of Australia’s biggest news network. Including the time that Stefanovic met Rupert Murdoch and said ‘Mr Murdoch. Your ex-wife is so hot, why did you stuff that up so badly?’

Read More: The night Karl Stefanovic met Rupert Murdoch…and asked him a cheeky question

During the evening Mediaweek caught up with Stefanovic to discuss how this unique pairing came about, his legacy, and his advice for a good Logies speech.

When asked what made him want to be involved with what some people would describe as “the enemy”, Stefanovic said that he didn’t see it that way and pointed to one person in particular for why he was there, News Corp’s managing director, national sales, Lou Barrett.

“Lou Barrett is a is a long time friend of mine and I have a great love for her. She asked me, and I’m fascinated by News Limited as a company. I’ve met Michael (Miller) a few times and as a journalist and as a person who’s generally fascinated about life, the ability for me to sit down and ask whatever I want to someone who’s controlling a very large company is quite fascinating and interesting.

Stefanovic confirmed that not only was he on stage for News Corp, but he was doing it for free.

I’m here and I’m not getting paid, am I stupid? I am a sucker for work. I love it. ”

When asked what his own employer, CEO of Nine Entertainment Co, Mike Sneesby, thought of the interview, Stefanovic said he was supportive and even gave him some advice.

“Mike’s not one of those guys who gets uptight about this kind of thing. When I said to him, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go interview Michael Miller, he was like ‘Mate make sure you give him a bit of a grilling’. We’re all very comfortable, and Mike knows that I am all about trying to get the best out of people and find things out.”

Stefanovic even pointed out that with a room full of advertisers, he might be able to moonlight on the side for Nine on the night as a salesman,

“Advertising is really important. Over the years, it’s become increasingly important. I really respect that side of the business and I’ll always do whatever I can, in my capacity to look after that side of the business as well. So if I can poach some advertising out of this speech from News Corp, I’ll be delighted to do so if you can filter the word through.”

That Daily Telegraph headline

When asked about his willingness to discuss the coverage of the incident in the park in January this year with Michael Clarke, Stefanovic said that there was a line that he was willing to toe but not cross when discussing the story.

“I’m very open. I’ll talk about most things. I won’t talk about the actual night, but I can talk about the coverage. There are lines in the sand there, even for me. I am also genuinely interested in how this stuff gets done. There’s been a lot of pages and they’ve made a lot of money out of me over the years.

The Karl Stefanovic legacy

Karl Stefanovic has had a career defined by his range, a career that has spanned breakfast TV, current affairs, Logie speeches, and even hosting a speaking tour with John Cena. When asked if he thinks he is acknowledged enough for the more serious journalism that he does on programs like 60 Minutes, he said that he doesn’t think about it.

“I don’t think about what impact I’m having or what kind of legacy or reputation I have. I’m all about just executing whatever I’m doing at the moment. That could be nights like tonight, a 60 Minutes interview, the Prime Minister tomorrow morning, or it could be an outrageously successful Logies speech. I only think about that as I’m doing it. Journalism is in my blood, it’s what I was trained to do, I love journalism. If I don’t get recognition for that, then that’s not up to me, I can’t control that. 

As I get older, all I can really control is what I do and what I say. Sometimes it’s gonna go well, and sometimes it’s not. At the end of the day for me, it’s about the audience that I have. It’s not about the newspaper audience. It’s not about the radio audience. It’s about the audience that’s watching me. They know that I perform in certain ways and I have certain skills, it’s a variety of things on any given day. I think I’ve proven over time that I can do things at a reasonable level for them.”

The key to a good Logies speech

Stefanovic is known for his memorable Logies speeches, including when he won Gold, and he said that he felt like he was in fine form for the evening’s proceedings after once again making headlines at the Logies, this time making a comment about former breakfast TV rival, David Koch

When asked about his advice for a Logies speech, Stefanovic said to remember you are not a comedian.

“If you get up in front of everyone, and you’re thinking about saying something that’s incredibly funny to you. Remember that you’re not Sam Pang. I will never change a thing. I swear to you. There’s something weird gene that I have that will always just throw it out there.”

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