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Was Today really regularly winning when Lisa Wilkinson left Nine?

Morning wars gossip makes for great copy and publicity... but is there also some embellishment at play?

I suppose the thing about book excerpts is that they are just that… an excerpt.

Do they really give us full context?

I haven’t read Lisa Wilkinson’s new book so all I can really do is take the released comments at face value.

There’s been much conjecture around comments regarding her work relationship with co-host Karl Stefanovic.

Yesterday it was even suggested that at one point Wilkinson was earning more than her counterpart, which contradicts the headlines around a gender pay imbalance.

But another line jumped out at me.

Stefanovic proposed a deal on the one brokered by the cast of Friends, who lobbied for equal pay together rather than negotiating individual contracts because they recognised that their combined chemistry was integral to its success.

“I was surprised and flattered he thought that about us,” Lisa Wilkinson writes. “The ratings didn’t lie, though. We were regularly winning.”

So how did the numbers stack up?

Lisa left Nine on 16 October 2017, which was Week 34 of survey year.

At that point Today had won 9 weeks outright -many by a whisker- while Sunrise would win 23. They tied on 2 weeks.

That’s on metro viewing of course, which is the standard, while Sunrise won them all when regional is added.

For most of the year the shows were neck and neck, but Sunrise had more than double Today in weekly wins. A year earlier Nine had crowed about the importance of weeks won.

In 2016 both shows nearly headed to the Federal Court over after Today claimed the most weeks won (in metro). Seven objected to claims of being “Australia’s #1” given they led with regional added in and that the metric in television is an annual average not weeks won.

Sanity prevailed at both sides agreed not to get legal.

On air Lisa Wilkinson can deliver some fine interviews as she did with Brittany Higgins earlier this year.

But the backstage “morning wars” makes for great copy & publicity (and the publishers know it). I trust the book will go beyond this chapter for those who are keen to read more.

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