Karl Stefanovic has reminisced about his time working with veteran television journalist Tracy Grimshaw after she announced she will be leaving A Current Affair.
Grimshaw announced her decision at the end of Monday night’s show, saying she would remain with the program until November.
Stefanovic, like most of Australia, was stunned by the news.
“She didn’t tell me she was leaving,” he told the Today show on Tuesday.
Stefanovic joined the Today show desk in 2005 with Grimshaw as his co-host and mentor.
“What a legend. I started out on this show with her 18 years ago,” he said on Tuesday.
“She is the best in the business. I had the great fortune of working for her for a year and she was exceptional.”
Later in the show, Stefanovic gave a heartfelt tribute to his former colleague who he said was “simply the best”.
“My first encounter was nearly 20 years ago after the Marriott Hotel bombings in Jakarta,’ Stefanovic said.
“Early-morning crosses at 3am I feared most, not the potential danger at the scene but the actual questions by Tracy.”
He pointed to their brief time sharing the Today show desk in the morning television slot.
“She taught me to stop being needy and grow up because the industry will not be easy if you are soft,” Stefanovic said.
“There are few interviewers in this country that are as balanced, incisive, well-briefed and as well loved. So you have made your mark, Tracy Grimshaw, and you have done it your way.
“You are the best I have ever seen and you are quite capable of drinking me under the table and I look forward to being under the table very soon.
“Job well done Grim Grim.”
Stefanovic shared a throwback photo to his Instagram earlier this year, congratulating the A Current Affair anchor on 40 years in the business.
“As a 30-year-old recruit out of LA I was given the unnerving honour of co-hosting the Today show,” he wrote in the caption.
“Among many other things Trace taught me how to prepare and interview in my own way.
“She taught me not to be needy because the business is tough. And she taught me how to drink and never show it the next day. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
“You are a master of our craft and we are all fortunate to have you as a guiding light.”
Grimshaw made the emotional announcement at the end of Monday night’s show, clarifying that it was her decision to end on a high note.
“I want you to know it’s been my decision alone and I’m not being shoved out the door by the boys’ club because I’m too old.
“I’m not too old, I’m just a bit tired. And for the record, both the boys and the girls have asked me to stay.”
She thanked her audience and said she felt lucky to have been able to sit in the host’s chair for so long.
“Thank you for your loyalty. I hope I’ve repaid it,” Grimshaw said.