Lisa Wilkinson quits Today show in shock decision
Lisa Wilkinson sensationally dropped a double bombshell on Monday night announcing she was quitting Nine’s Today show after a decade, effective immediately, which was quickly followed by the news that she would be joining rival network Ten’s The Project from January 2018.
The shock announcement came as the 57-year-old morning television host’s pay negotiations broke down, with the network “unable to meet the expectations” of Wilkinson who was asking for double her salary to match the reported $9 million, three year contract Karl Stefanovic signed in 2016.
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) October 16, 2017
Earlier this year, it was leaked that Stefanovic is paid almost double Wilkinson.
Wilkinson’s bold move has been praised by her family, fans and fellow broadcasters alike.
Husband Peter FitzSimons took to Twitter to express his pride for his wife of 25 years, tweeting, “That's my missus. Got a new job in 45 minutes!”
That';s my Missus.
Got a new job in 45 minutes! https://t.co/mTekvq67NZ
— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) October 16, 2017
Daughter Billi also posted a sweet tribute online saying she “can’t wait” to see her mum at the breakfast table.
“You are a leader and an inspiration for so many tonight. I can’t wait to see you at the breakfast table tomorrow morning,” Billi wrote alongside a photo of her and her mum at the gym.
Bloomberg journalist Juliette Saly said: “Clearly this is not about pay, but principle. What a lady” using the hashtag #IbreakupwithToday.
Women in Media advocate Tracey Spicer thanked Wilkinson for taking a stand on behalf of women in Australia where the national gender pay gap is still at 15 per cent.
Entertainment journalist Peter Ford said online market research made Wilkinson determined to “bargain hard” over her contract.
“Nine have lost a great asset but also created a PR dilemma for themselves,” he wrote, adding that Karl and Lisa “never really ‘loved’ each other as much as suggested.”
“Most onair teams are like this,” he tweeted.
It comes amid intense speculation as to who might step into Wilkinson’s role, with many believing Sylvia Jeffreys is frontrunner, the current Today Show newsreader who recently married Karl Stefanovic’s brother, Peter.
Today addressed the sudden departure from the show this morning, with Karl Stefanovic and Deb Knight, the Weekend Today host, admitting on air this morning the news had come as “a bit of a shock”.
But Stefanovic was business as usual, saying, “It’s a very big day for us on the show, and a very big day for Lisa Wilkinson — and we’ll have plenty more to say about that later in the program,” he began.
“As we always do, we will get on with the news of the day.”
But all headlines were dominated by Wilkinson’s sudden departure with Stefanovic admitting, “It came as a bit of a shock to us.”
Nine released a statement confirming Wilkinson’s departure and thanked her for her decades long service.
“Nine today confirmed we have been unable to meet the expectations of Lisa Wilkinson and her manager on a contract renewal for a further period,” the statement read.
“We express our gratitude for Lisa for her 10 years with the Today Show and are disappointed we find ourselves in this position.
“Nine will be going in another direction and will be considering our options in coming weeks and months.”
In a statement released less than an hour later, Ten confirmed Wilkinson would be joining the network in a “senior hosting and editorial role effective January 2018”.