Peter Stefanovic appears on The Front Page with Peter Gleeson

Former Channel 9 foreign correspondent Peter Stefanovic says he is resetting after spending 15 years at the network.

Stefanovic, who abruptly quit Nine in December after speculation bosses were going to give him the boot, appeared on Sky News’ The Front Page with Peter Gleeson last night.

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Stefanovic told Gleeson he was using his time off to “reset”.

When asked how he had been coping, Stefanovic said, “Well, you know, it hasn’t been without its challenges, that’s for sure.

“Believe it or not, I’m usually quite a shy sort of person, so seeing so much negativity play out in the press for weeks and months on end does have its challenges and can be difficult to deal with at times.”

It was widely reported that Nine’s bosses blamed Stefanovic for airing the TV network’s dirty laundry in a leaked conversation in an Uber in March last year.

Stefanovic was busted bitching to his brother Karl about Nine and their colleagues while on speakerphone in the back of an Uber with his wife, former Today newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys.

A Nine insider said the scandal was to blame for his demise at the network.

Stefanovic told Gleeson he was now just trying to focus on work.

“It’s what I’ve always done,” he said. “I had 15 wonderful years at Channel 9 now this a great opportunity to kind of reset and try new projects, which is very exciting.

”You’ve sort of got to put things into perspective as well: look at the difficulties that the people of Tasmania are going through at the moment, or even the people of Townsville as well, so my problems are very small compared to theirs. A lot of people don’t have their homes anymore, which is awfully tragic. So, I’ve had some difficulties but it’s a good time now.”

Stefanovic has covered wars in the Middle East, the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Barack Obama’s election and the trial of Oscar Pistorius. But when it came to US President Donald Trump, he had plenty to say.

“I’ve definitely watched with interest, as most people have, the campaign … and (Donald Trump’s) a bit like Teflon: he’s a president who just keeps on battling on,” he said in his Sky News interview.

“I’m just amazed that the fact that he got past that audio tape of grabbing women in certain areas, the fact that he got past that, um, I guess meant that he was going to get past anything, you know?

“And I just feel he’s probably going to get the wall up and it’s a win-win for him anyway.

“Even if he doesn’t get the wall up, he can blame it on the Democrats and say, ‘Well, I argued for it, but they’re the ones who blocked me.’

“I just think he’s going to win the election and go on and be a two-term president.”

Exactly a month before the 2016 election, the Washington Post published leaked footage and audio of Mr Trump chatting to TV host Billy Bush. The reality TV star could be heard bragging about kissing and touching women without their permission.

“I don’t even wait,” Mr Trump said. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pu***. You can do anything.”

Many pundits believed it was a fatal moment for Mr Trump’s campaign. Even some Republicans, including future White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, suggested he drop out of the race and let another candidate take his place.

Mr Trump clearly took the backlash seriously, because he took the very unusual step (for him) of publicly apologising, even as his supporters defended the tape as “locker room talk”.

A few weeks later, he won the election.

Stefanovic very publicly revealed he was on the hunt for a new job after his management posted a jobs ad in media newsletter Social Diary on January 14.

According to the post, the former Weekend Today host was open to “ambassador roles and MC/Hosting opportunities” and “has been on the ground for many of the world’s most recent historic events.”

It continued: “Peter has covered everything from the Iraq war, Presidential elections, Golden Globes and many more over the course of 14+ years.”

In December last year, it was announced that Stefanovic would not be returning to Channel 9 in 2019 as part of a massive shake up at the network.

A Nine statement at the time read: “Peter has decided to explore new opportunities and is looking forward to spending weekends with his wife.”

“He has been a respected member of the Nine News team and Weekend Today, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Then just one day later, Karl, was also axed while honeymooning with his new wife Jasmine Yarbrough, after their extravagant beach wedding in Cabo, Mexico.

The shock move came after months of mounting pressure due to declining ratings and a steady stream of negative publicity surrounding the high-profile TV presenter’s relationship with Yarbrough.

Jeffreys, who has been married to Peter since 2017, was also a casualty in the spate of changes to Nine’s line-up. She and Karl both left Today, but Jeffreys remains at the network.

“I’ve loved and embraced every minute of my Today show chapter and feel humbled to have worked with so many passionate people — hosts, studio crew, cameramen and producers — who have become my great mates,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “There are few shows that are fortunate to have such an engaged audience, and I thank our viewers for inviting me into their homes day after day.

“I’m thrilled to sink my teeth into a brand new project. Opportunity often knocks when you least expect it and I’m ready to dive right in to what’s ahead of me.”

— with Sam Clench and Bronte Coy


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