Karl ‘held hostage’ at Today

Lisa Wilkinson is commenting on her Today show exit, through other people.
Lisa Wilkinson is commenting on her Today show exit, through other people.

IT'S no secret that Karl has been itching to get away from his Today gig - and the early mornings that come with it - for years.

He's increasingly dipped his toe into the primetime world recently with his own show This Time Next Year and various stints on 60 Minutes.

Insiders tip Stefanovic moving over to A Current Affair if Tracy Grimshaw retires or heads over to 60 Minutes but new reports claim the breakfast star is being held "hostage".

"Karl has been begging to get off there forever and surprise, surprise, the joint has imploded because they never listened to this bloke," a network executive told the Daily Telegraph.

"They haven't let him off and he's been like a hostage," they added.

The primetime gig would be the only job that would justify Stefanovic's $2 million-plus pay packet.

Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson hosting the Today show.
Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson hosting the Today show.


Lisa Wilkinson hasn't offered much since her shock exit from the Today show on Monday but her Twitter is telling a very different story.

While the former breakfast star has barely tweeted since her defection, only agreeing to dinner with fellow journalist Melissa Doyle and releasing the carefully-written PR statements from Channel Nine and Network Ten, she has been liking a whole lot of other people's tweets.

Most of them are generic, congratulating the 57-year-old journalist on her successful move and standing up for pay equality.

Others however, were a little more pointed.










Lisa Wilkinson announced her shock exit from the Today show on Monday night after co-hosting the program for 10 years alongside Karl Stefanovic.

In an even more shocking move, it only took Wilkinson 45 minutes to confirm she'd already landed another TV gig with Network Ten's prime time news show The Project, alongside the likes of Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly.

And while Wilkinson's number one reason for leaving Today came down to their unwillingness to meet her offer, new reports claim the veteran star could have a Gold Logie in her sights.

Both Aly and Bickmore have won the Gold Logie in the past. Stefanovic won the coveted golden TV award in 2011.

Wilkinson however, is yet to even receive a nomination.

According to the Herald Sun, Nine tried to assure Wilkinson they would set up a taskforce to make sure she nabbed Australian TV's highest award in 2018 but it was clearly too little, too late for her.

"She was tired of playing mum to Karl's naughty schoolboy," the source told the Herald Sun.

"He got all the big interviews. She felt under-appreciated."

Carrie celebrates her Gold Logie win with Lisa.
Carrie celebrates her Gold Logie win with Lisa.


The question on everybody's mind right now is who exactly will replace Lisa Wilkinson.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting Georgie Gardener, a former newsreader for Today, is the favourite however fellow Nine journalists Sylvia Jeffreys and Deb Knight are also strong contenders.

Knight, who is the host for Weekend Today, was thrown in this week as Wilkinson's replacement with Jeffreys staying in her normal role as the show's newsreader.

The fact that Knight was chosen over Jeffreys reportedly caused tension on set, as Jeffreys has long been groomed to take over from Wilkinson.

Deb Knight and Karl Stefanovic hosted Today this week. Picture: Kylie Else
Deb Knight and Karl Stefanovic hosted Today this week. Picture: Kylie Else

Gardner, who has clashed with Stefanovic in the past, said she "was not in a position to comment" yesterday when contacted by the publication.

Besides Stefanovic and Wilkinson, Jeffreys has spent the most time on the Today show lounge and is already their daily newsreader, making her a strong contender.

Jeffreys replaced Georgie Gardner as Today news presenter in 2014.

Jeffreys is also Stefanovic's sister-in-law after she married his younger brother Peter Stefanovic earlier this year.

Despite most signs pointing to Jeffreys or Gardner, the Nine Network might not even be able to hold onto Jeffreys considering her contract is up for negotiation in a few months.

While it's unlikely Jeffreys would jump ship to another network, Mediaweek editor James Manning told the Daily Telegraph: "Nine would want to tread carefully."

Jeffreys is touted to be Wilkinson’s replacement. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Jeffreys is touted to be Wilkinson’s replacement. Picture: Stephen Cooper


Wilkinson made her first public appearance on Friday afternoon at a Moet & Chandon event in Sydney where she couldn't help but have a few digs at her headline-making week.

"I'm Lisa Wilkinson ... and I'm from nowhere," she began, to laughter and cheers at the Opera House.

Wilkinson was all smiles as she sipped champagne and joked "I'm tasting success".

She took one final opportunity to riff about her big move in her opening speech.

"Moet & Chandon is synonymous with royal jubilees, coronations, celebrations … and new job opportunities," she said.

"Sorry, I couldn't help myself."

Wilkinson's shock defection to Ten is rumoured to have made her one of the highest paid women in Australian television, but on Friday she played down her career move joking she was "kind of unemployed".

"I'm not an official Moet and Chandon employee ... even though I'm kind of unemployed," she said.

“Tasting success”.
“Tasting success”.

It is understood Nine offered Wilkinson $1.8 million a year, a $700,000 increase from her $1.1 million salary but $500,000 less than the $2.3 million she had asked for and the number Stefanovic is reportedly on.

Wilkinson's move to Ten marked the start of a nightmare PR week for Channel Nine after her shock exit was compounded with news Nine had axed founding host Paul Vautin from the long-running NRL Footy Show.

Then Nine CEO Hugh Marks - himself the recent beneficiary of a pay rise which saw him take home $2.77 million last financial year, despite Nine's $203 million annual loss - took the unprecedented step of outlining publicly why he thought Stefanovic was worth more than Wilkinson. Complete with dollar figures.

Topics:  editors picks karl stefanovic lisa wilkinson today show

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