Another Today personality bites the dust
Today show sports reporter Tony Jones is following dumped host Georgie Gardner by exiting the flailing Channel 9 program before it wraps up for the year.
Jones announced he was quitting the troubled morning program last week before Karl Stefanovic's long-rumoured return was made public.
And today, Nine confirmed to news.com.au his last appearance on the show will be this Friday.
Jones was appointed to the role of Today's sports reporter in the show's 2019 overhaul that saw Gardner and Deborah Knight appointed as co-hosts and Tom Steinfort as newsreader.
His decision to leave the show coincides with a newly announced shake-up that saw the trio removed from its line-up, but Jones said it was an "unsustainable workload" that drove him to quit.
"It's certainly been a wild ride over the past year, but I've thoroughly enjoyed my time working on the Today show," he told the Herald Sun of the whirlwind 10 months.
Jones maintained that he had not been pushed to leave amid the show's 2020 overhaul - a response to dismal ratings all year - and had instead made the decision "several months ago".
"Juggling those commitments, together with Nine News, Sunday Footy Show and 3AW was not sustainable," he said.
"Something had to give. I'll still be involved with the Today show next year on big Melbourne stories, just not a regular basis."
Jones's announcement came shortly after a painfully awkward live cross on Friday, in which an attempt at light banter turned undeniably sour.
While crossing live from Sandown Racetrack, Jones posed a question to his colleagues Gardner, Deborah Knight, and Tom Steinfort about what kind of Australian food might be included on a menu for French visitors.
His colleagues' innocent replies were, bizarrely, met with abrupt responses by a visibly irritated Jones.
When Gardner - who has already left the show - suggested "a kangaroo burger, maybe", Jones shot back, "Oh, you'd just go and slaughter a kangaroo, would you, Georgie?" eliciting a confused reaction from the panel.
And when Knight, in a desperate attempt to shift the mood, asked if he had brought his dog to the track, she was berated.
"Deb, we're at a racetrack," Jones snapped. "Probably not a great idea to bring the dog, I wouldn't have thought."
Taken aback by the snarky response, Knight replied: "Okay, well sorry for asking. Never mind. Good on you, TJ."
As confirmed over the weekend, hosts Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight have been ousted in favour of Karl Stefanovic, who is returning after his unceremonious dumping last December, with a fresh hosting partner in Allison Langdon.
While the pair will take over from early next year, Gardner has already made her exit - prompting an awkward farewell from Knight and newsreader Steinfort, filling in as co-host, on Monday.
Summing up her co-presenter's contribution to the program, Knight said: "She gave it a red hot go."