Nine confirms $1.8m package offered to Lisa Wilkinson

Nine CEO Hugh Marks has told media Nine walked away from Lisa Wilkinson over a $500,000 shortfall and because it could not secure digital rights for Nine platforms, due to conflicts with her other commercial dealings.

But he denied it was a gender pay parity issue.

“She has a number of commercial rights with other parties. Her arrangement with The Huffington Post restricts our ability to engage with her digitally … We are ­restricted from engaging with her also on social media,” he told News Corp.

“I hate the fact we have to compare her with Karl (Stefanovic) but with him we have all those rights. With Lisa we do not.”

“I went to an incredible amount of trouble to build that ($1.8 million) package for her. She wanted $2.3 million. It wasn’t a $200,000 shortfall to (Karl’s) $2 million magic number. It was $500,000.”

Nine continues to maintain Karl Stefanovic’s role encompasses other programming, although Wilkinson also contributes to Carols by Candlelight, plus political and telethon duties.

Whether the gender pay parity is accurate or not is increasingly a moot point: newspapers and media across the land have made it the narrative whether Nine likes it or not. Headlines like “Nine Boss Hits Out at Runaway Lisa” only add to a negative image. The audience will always side with the personality over the corporate network.

Meanwhile media continue to try second-guessing her replacement.

The Courier Mail and The Australian are backing Georgie Gardner but The Age is behind Sylvia Jeffreys -that’s despite the network bringing Deborah Knight to the desk yesterday following Wilkinson’s exit. Chris Bath is also a favourite. Even online betting sites have weighed into the guessing, with Jeffreys on the shortest odds.

34 Comments:

  1. David some of the betting sites are so ridiculous.

    Carrie Bickmore 3rd ($5) on one, behind Sylvia and Georgie, despite being locked-in by The Project’s EP yesterday.

    Deborah Knight, despite filling-in, hardly being mentioned now?

    Even Ann Sanders, Virginia Trioli and Ita Buttrose all in there.

    Georgia Love, Oprah Winfrey & Ellen DeGeneres rounding off one list!

  2. My guess is that Lisa was over doing the Today Show so put a huge price on staying. If what Hugh Marks is saying is true, well he does have a point. Lets have a fair debate. I also think Lisa would be on less money at 10 but was happy with it for a better work/life balance.

  3. I can’t believe how much debate has been stirred up about a person on a show that nobody usually admits to watching. Hard to figure that one out !

      • Secret Squïrrel

        Think it’s as much to do with Today being a flagship show and strongly identified with Nine as a brand plus the fact that Wilkinson has been a fixture of that show for so long. There is a certain cult of personality that seems to build up around morning show hosts, even more so than evening news readers.

        Also, the feeding frenzy on SM and MSM regarding gender issues has no doubt been intensified by continuing news regarding Weinstein’s behaviour.

    • Maybe they were just defending themselves from all the crazy speculation. A lot of media organizations have made a lot of allegations from unnamed sources. I think Nine have every right to put their side of the story up. I don’t think Lisa mentioned wage parity in her tweet. Just all speculation. I bet Carrie Bickmore gets paid more than Waleed Aly.

  4. Now I’m thinking Lisa was just being greedy. Either that or she knew Nine wouldn’t meet her demands, and used it as an excuse to broaden her horizons. I’m not a fan of hers, and don’t think she will be a good fit on the Project at all.

    • You’re right that she doesn’t really fit, but they haven’t paid big money for her to host The Project part-time.I’m guessing CBS is going to completely re-brand the network and Lisa is just the first of many defectors.

    • The was another article that highlighted would karl be considered ‘greedy’ if he wanted the same pay as Lisa. The amounts are large, but I think the equal pay issue is worth noting.
      Perhaps Karl could have lowered his salary for Lisa to stay….

        • TBBT cast took a 10% pay cut upfront (leaving with a measly $US900k per episode!) with an extra 1.25% on the back to compensate. You seriously expect Stefanovic to take a 25% cut so that his co-host gets $800,000 more than him? This has nothing to do with sex. Raunch and Bialik were on lower salaries because they only became regular characters in S4 and Guild pay deals are structured around seniority (plus what you can demand on top after the 6 year). Wilkinson demanded more money for less work and more conditions due to existing deals with other media, using Q scores that she was more popular than Stefanovic after the scandal surrounding his divorce. She got what she wanted, at Ten. Good on her.

  5. thedirtydigger

    I do wonder how much money these small screen celebrities need to live a useful and fulfilling life. Must be surreal bringing home in a week what the average Joe brings home in a year. And why these “celebrities” are allowed to supplement their already obscene pay packets with endorsement deals and assorted freebies is beyond me. I think Hugh Marks has a point – if Lisa is – or was – a Channel Nine presenter then her social media should be Channel Nine’s as well – even on the appallingly named ” Honey ” ( I’m Home ) women’s website…

  6. Imagine how the producer who gets up at 3am as well and works longer hours for $75k a year on the show feels. Especially when they get a $5k a year pay rise rejected. The same person who writes all of Lisa’s questions.

    That is way too much money to pay someone on the number 2 breakfast show! The total audience numbers are falling through the floor – why would the hosts be worth more money?

    Completely wrong choice for Channel 10 to put on the project!!

    • I agree 100% JJ99, Today shows ratings have been in decline for years. In my office yesterday I asked the 11 people who work here who watches the Today show and not 1 person said they watch it- so why should Lisa be paid 1.8million and Karl over 2million to read from an autocue laugh like fools and give away cash!

          • Its fairly insane for someone to be on $36,000 a week! Like seriously, I’d be happy with $5,000 a week…. agree re the producers, must be a labor of love to carry these *stars*

  7. Crunch time in the business right now. To the average punter these sort of monies are an obscenity – nobody is worth this sort of money.
    Especially considering the state of the FTA industry and the tiny audiences for these shrill morning shows.

  8. Honestly, I think the best thing nine could do now is to shut up. They’re clearly speaking out to try and damage Lisa’s brand before she starts at another network and I think it could backfire spectacularly on them. It’s also bothered me how they’ve been equating how many jobs would be lost in order to accommodate Lisa’s salary. I wonder how many jobs were lost to secure Karl’s 2 million dollar salary…..not that they would ever say such a thing for a man’s salary.

      • This was started by someone leaking Wilkinson’s position to the Telegraph, plus a lot of media claims it’s all just sexual and ageist discrimination. Paying a fortune to keep Stefanovic away from Seven was seen as desperation, especially after the debate show he demanded tanked. The network’s financial positions have changed a lot in the last few years, it probably won’t happen again. Ten isn’t paying Wilkinson to host The Sunday Project, that’s just to introduce her to their evening audience, they will have something planned.

  9. It would have been in 9’s best interests to keep a dignified silence in this matter, things have taken quite the nasty turn now. Lisa was always far too good for the Today show and 9’s handling of the situation just proves this.

  10. Maev....Sydney

    Sorry….I am not convinced…to me it seems all about not having the female earn as much as the male…and all this other stuff…is just excuses….to make them look better…not washing with me…Just my opinion.

    • Agree with you, Maeve
      Wilkinson would have only a vague idea of the exact renumeration to Stefanovic, and the extra he gets for the other onscreen work he does.
      Yesterday the rumours said he was on twice as much as her, but then it was reported that she was making $200k less than him.
      Then it was said that TEN had agreed to $2m per year. Unlikely.
      The speculation surrounding her pay is laughable on all sides.

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