GEORGIE Gardner has been announced as Lisa Wilkinson's replacement on the Today show, returning to the desk after a three-year absence to sit alongside Karl Stefanovic.
Gardner described the gig as "an enormous privilege" and said she would not go easy on Stefanovic with whom she's had a slightly rocky relationship with in the past.
"You're alright, Karl," Gardner said.
"I'm assuming with you we pick up where we left off. That is me running amok and you keeping me in line," she said.
"Jokes aside, you know how much respect I've had for you. There's been a bit of conjecture over the last few weeks how we feel about each other, loathe each other," she joked.
"You know, we have had our bumps, we've had our laughs."
She described her relationship with Stefanovic as "robust" and added, "strap yourself in everyone, anything can happen. It will be great. I hope".
Gardner left the show three years ago to spend more time with her young family and told viewers this morning that she consulted with them heavily before accepting the gig.
Her 10-year-old son Gus told her, "take the role, you'll be so tired you won't have to cook dinner and we can get take away".
Gardner previously appeared on Today as the newsreader from 2007 to 2014 and was the Nine Network's first choice to fill Lisa Wilkinson's position after the former co-host's sensational defection to Network Ten last month after a messy contract dispute.
"It's a most extraordinary opportunity," Gardner said on air this morning. "Of course, you know, big shoes to fill. I know acutely how much love and respect there has been for Lisa. She will always be part of the Today show landscape as will the women who went before her."
In an interview with Nova's Fitzy and Wippa this morning, Gardner said she gave Wilkinson a heads up that she'd accepted the job.
"I sent her a message just before it was announced on air to tell her how excited I am and that she and I now have this unique experience that we can share together," Gardner told the radio duo.
As her return was announced on Today, Gardner paid tribute to Deborah Knight who has been filling in as co-host since Wilkinson left, describing her as "absolute class act".
And she also raved about Today newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys, saying, "I have sat on the sidelines and watched you for last three and a half years and have been blown away how you have grown and blossomed into this polished beautiful presenter".
"I never thought we'd get this chance. Here we are girlfriend. We get to work together. Huge bonus."
Gardner will officially start her new role in January next year.
The new Today appointment has propelled Gardner, 46, into one of the most coveted roles on Australian television - but she's had quite a journey to get there.
WHO IS GEORGIE GARDNER?
Throughout her career, she's worked as a reporter and presenter for Ten News, and also co-hosted Seven News Sunrise alongside Mark Beretta before the show's format was changed.
Gardner first worked at Nine in 2002, and later returned in 2006 to replace Leila McKinnon as presenter of National Nine News Morning Edition, before taking on the newsreader role on Today.
After leaving Today seven years later to focus on her young family, Gardner became a regular fill-in host for Sonia Kruger on Today Extra and occasional reporter for 60 Minutes.
"[Today] is an institution and I feel incredibly lucky. It is a privilege," Gardner said.
"It's a lot of fun, it's exhilarating. On a morning when lots is happening and there's breaking news, it's the most exciting collaborative, satisfying opportunity there is in TV."
Understandably, she was very emotional when announcing her resignation during the show in 2014.
"I make this announcement with a very heavy heart because you are my family," Gardner said at the time.
"The early hours are punishing and after seven years it's time for me to catch up on some sleep. After unwavering support from Tim and my kids I want to give back to them. I figure I have limited time of Bronte and Angus wanting and needing their mother around, so I want to maximise and cherish these precious years."
Perth-born Gardner has been candid about her somewhat traumatic upbringing in the past.
In a 2012 interview with Australian Women's Weekly, she explained her parents had gone through a bitter split when she was just five years old.
Gardner refused to elaborate after hinting at the "unpleasantness" at home, ("It risks hurting too many people I care about"), except to say that life became more difficult for herself and her siblings after her mother remarried.
"We had a privileged upbringing, in the material and opportunity sense, but there was a lot of turbulence and confusion, and deep sadness brought on by a pretty bitter divorce," she explained.
"During the darkest period, my friends and siblings got me through."
Gardner started her own family after meeting the love of her life, investment banker Tim Baker, at a party in Sydney in 2002.
The pair are now married with two children, Bronte and Angus, and the TV presenter has described her husband as "the best father".
"He brings so much love and joy to my life. And he is a phenomenal father. I have said to the kids on so many occasions, you have the best father going around. And he puts up with me."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.