News broke last night that negotiations around Lisa Wilkinson’s contract renewal had broken down, with Nine failing to meet her request to pay her the same annual salary as co-host Karl Stefanovic.
Wilkinson tweeted a statement from Nine saying: “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.”
TODAY show co-host Karl Stefanovic is reported to earn at least $2 million a year, having signed a new contract early last year. In comparison, Lisa Wilkinson was reported to have been on a contract worth $1.1 million, with the The Daily Telegraph reporting that Nine had increased its offer to a $1.8 million but that Wilkinson was not willing to accept anything less than her co-host.
An hour after the news broke, Wilkinson announced on Twitter that she will be joining Network Ten’s The Project in a senior editorial and hosting role alongside existing hosts Carrie Bickmore, Peter Helliar and Waleed Aly in a deal rumoured to be worth $2 million – making her the highest paid woman on Australian television.
Stefanovic has previously taken a public stance on sexism and gender inequality, famously wearing the same suit for 12 months in support of Wilkinson, whose fashion choices were often criticised on by viewers of the show and the Australian media.
Stevanovic told Fairfax, “No one has noticed; no one gives a shit, but women, they wear the wrong colour and they get pulled up. They say the wrong thing and there’s thousands of tweets written about them.”
Whilst it has been reported that that Karl’s larger salary is due to his additional responsibilities at Channel 9, where he hosts other programs, we do wonder what Stefanovic’s response to Wilkinson leaving Nine over a disagreement on her relative value to him as a co-host will be?
Pay equity continues to be a topic of attention in Australia and New Zealand, and we congratulate Wilkinson for not accepting less than she feels she is worth. For many women, taking such a stance just isn’t possible – it’s so important that those that are able to stand up for themselves, and for women everywhere, do.
We didn’t notice Karl’s suit, but we’ll notice there’s no Lisa.
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