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Lisa Wilkinson quits Today after contract negotiations break down, joins Ten’s The Project

Lisa Wilkinson has announced she will depart Nine’s breakfast program the Today Show after she could not reach an agreement with the broadcaster.

Wilkinson has co-hosted the Today show for a decade

Wilkinson will not be returning to the show – with Monday morning’s episode being her last – and Nine has announced it will “be going in another direction”.

Within an hour of Wilkinson posting the news on Twitter, Ten announced she was joining The Project in a senior editorial and hosting role.

In recent weeks and months media reports have focused on the alleged pay gap between Wilkinson and her co-host Karl Stefanovic.

In a statement from Nine the network said contract negotiations had not progressed.

“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. We express our gratitude to 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 the coming weeks and months,” the statement said.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks thanked Wilkinson for dedicating a decade to the program.

“Today Show is one of the biggest roles there is in television and requires an enormous commitment from its hosts. The partnership between Lisa and Karl has taken the show to the success it is today and we thank Lisa for everything she has done for the show and for Nine over the past 10 years. We all wish her well for the future,” said Marks.

Wilkinson’s new role at Ten will begin in January 2018 and will involve her working alongside Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar on weekday editions of The Project, as well as hosting The Sunday Project.

Ten said further announcements about Wilkinson’s role at the broadcaster will come over the next few months.

Wilkinson will be joining Ten’s nightly one-hour news and current affair offering, The Project

Ten chief content officer, Beverley McGarvey, said: “Lisa Wilkinson is one of the most respected journalists and television presenters in Australia and we are thrilled that she has agreed to join Network Ten’s fantastic stable of on-air talent.

“In a career that has spanned magazines, radio, television and digital media, Lisa has established her credentials as a leading figure in the Australian media industry. She has a great connection to the Australian public and a reputation that is second to none. We are proud that she has agreed to join the acclaimed team at The Project and The Sunday Project.”

Wilkinson paid tribute to her co-hosts on Nine and the Today Show audience in her farewell statement.

It is not yet clear who will fill in for Lisa this week

“I want to thank Channel Nine for the privilege of co-hosting the Today Show for the last ten years. I would particularly like to acknowledge my colleagues Karl, Sylvia, Georgie, Tim, Richard, Stevie and Natalia, as well as all the hard-working producers and the entire team behind the cameras – every one of them has contributed to the incredible success of the show. Most particularly though I want to thank the Today Show audience who have been so supportive and incredibly loyal to me over the last decade. I can never thank you enough and I look forward to seeing you soon.”

Back in May, Wilkinson appeared on ABC’s The Weekly with Charlie Pickering and discussed the alleged pay gap between her and Stefanovic.

“I have no idea what Karl’s on, just as he has no idea what I’m on,” she told Pickering.

“I can put my hand on my heart and say I have no idea what Karl is paid, and he has no idea what I’m paid.

“Besides, I do it out of love, anyway.”

Wilkinson also recently celebrated 10 years with the Today Show.

Nine has not yet announced who will replace Wilkinson, or indeed who will front the program tomorrow with Stefanovic.

17 October update: This morning’s show was hosted by Stefanovic and Deborah Knight, with Sylvia Jeffreys reading the news.

Stefanovic told viewers: ‘For ten years she handled those brutal hours with grace, beauty, intelligence and a wicked sense of humour. For whatever reason she won’t be doing that any more and it was a surprise to us all.”

Next in the pecking order came Jeffreys who was giving almost as much airtime as Stefanovic for her tribute, saying: “It has been a tremendous privilege to share a part of Lisa’s Today show chapter. Seeing is believing for young girls and for young women and what they see in Lisa is a strong, influential, fun and compassionate woman at the very top of her game.”

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