Questions over Lisa Wilkinson’s future at Channel 10 after The Project exit

What else could Lisa Wilkinson possibly do at Channel 10 now she’s quit The Project? TV host says she has a ‘very exciting’ future at the network… but apart from reading the news, there aren’t many jobs going

As she announced her resignation from The Project on Sunday night, Lisa Wilkinson said she was looking forward to some ‘very exciting’ new challenges at Channel 10.

But mystery surrounds what exactly her role at the network will be now she has stepped down as host of the nightly panel show.

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a logical position for the veteran journalist to slide into as Channel 10 lacks a current affairs program like ACA or a weekly investigative show like Nine’s 60 Minutes or the ABC’s Four Corners.

As she announced her resignation from The Project on Sunday, Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) said she was looking forward to some 'very exciting' new challenges at Channel 10 - but mystery surrounds what exactly her role will be now she has stepped down from the nightly news show

As she announced her resignation from The Project on Sunday, Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) said she was looking forward to some ‘very exciting’ new challenges at Channel 10 – but mystery surrounds what exactly her role will be now she has stepped down from the nightly news show

The only viable positions for Wilkinson, 62, seem to be reading the news for 10 News First or co-hosting morning show Studio 10.

However, it seems unlikely Ten would push aside a network veteran like Sandra Sully to make way for Wilkinson on the news desk – especially given her track record of advocacy-tinged journalism that isn’t well suited for an unbiased news bulletin.

Studio 10’s low ratings would also be considered a step down for the former Today show anchor, who is used to hosting programs with a far bigger audience.

At first glance, there doesn't seem to be a logical position for the veteran journalist to slide into as Channel 10 lacks a current affairs program like ACA or a weekly investigative show like Nine's 60 Minutes or the ABC's Four Corners. (Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder for The Sunday Project earlier this year)

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a logical position for the veteran journalist to slide into as Channel 10 lacks a current affairs program like ACA or a weekly investigative show like Nine’s 60 Minutes or the ABC’s Four Corners. (Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder for The Sunday Project earlier this year)

It’s possible her ‘exciting’ new position could be a behind-the-scenes role developing special projects for Ten or Paramount+.

Wilkinson previously held an editorial role at Ten in 2019 when she was involved in setting up the short-lived news website 10 Daily.

According to The Australian, she will ‘remain with Ten on other projects’.

But if the network is unable to find the right position for her, Wilkinson will still be getting paid each month because she is locked into ‘multi-year contract’. 

However, it seems unlikely Ten would push aside a network veteran like Sandra Sully (pictured) to make way for Wilkinson on the news desk - especially given her track record of advocacy-tinged journalism that isn't well suited for an unbiased news bulletin

However, it seems unlikely Ten would push aside a network veteran like Sandra Sully (pictured) to make way for Wilkinson on the news desk – especially given her track record of advocacy-tinged journalism that isn’t well suited for an unbiased news bulletin 

Studio 10's low ratings would also be considered a step down for the former Today show anchor, who is used to hosting programs with a far bigger audience. (Pictured: Studio 10 hosts Sarah Harris and Tristan MacManus)

Studio 10’s low ratings would also be considered a step down for the former Today show anchor, who is used to hosting programs with a far bigger audience. (Pictured: Studio 10 hosts Sarah Harris and Tristan MacManus)

It's possible her 'exciting' new position could be a behind-the-scenes role developing special projects for Ten or Paramount+. (Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons are pictured in in Sydney on September 23, 2017)

It’s possible her ‘exciting’ new position could be a behind-the-scenes role developing special projects for Ten or Paramount+. (Wilkinson and her husband Peter FitzSimons are pictured in in Sydney on September 23, 2017) 

Wilkinson announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night’s episode, leaving viewers stunned. 

‘I have decided it’s time to reprioritise a few things in my life,’ the TV veteran began alongside co-hosts Hamish Macdonald and Laura Byrne.

‘And after almost 15 years of the early alarm of breakfast TV, and now another five years here at The Project desk, I’m looking at how I want the coming years to play out both professionally and personally,’ she added.

'I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,' she said

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night’s episode, leaving viewers stunned 

‘So, from tonight, I am stepping back from hosting the show.

‘Sitting at this desk and working with this incredible team – both in front of and behind the camera – has been an absolute privilege.

‘These people are genuinely are some of the most talented and decent humans I know.

‘And you, our passionate, engaged audience, have been so kind in making me feel so welcome in your homes. I’ve had a ball, but for me, right now, it’s time for a change.’

Wilkinson went on to explain she was not leaving Channel 10 and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’. 

'I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,' she said

‘I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,’ she said

‘But I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,’ Wilkinson said. 

‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above criticism, far from it. I’m human, and I don’t always get it right, none of us do, but by God I’ve tried. 

‘I’ve given this job everything I have, and I hope you at home know that. I hope I’ve brought you stories that matter and introduced you to people whose lives and experiences might have otherwise never been told, and helped bring into focus issues that deserve our collective attention. 

‘So to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and reached out, particularly in recent months, thank you. You’ll never know how much it has meant to me.’

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was 'looking at some exciting work ideas ahead'

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’

Wilkinson concluded: ‘I especially want to thank [media executive] Peter Meakin here at The Project, the wise old owl of news and current affairs in this country, who has been such an unwavering and generous supporter and mentor of mine right across my time in TV, just as he has been for so many others.

‘And finally to Leigh Sales, Tracy Grimshaw, and Carrie Bickmore: if you guys are up for a drink, I’ll see you at the bar. The margaritas are on me.’

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave.

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. 'I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,' he said

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. ‘I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,’ he said

'There's been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you've taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,' he added while holding Wilkinson's hand

‘There’s been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,’ he added while holding Wilkinson’s hand  

‘I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,’ he said while holding Wilkinson’s hand.

‘There have been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is. And you’ve turned up on camera even on days where, you know, it’s been tough.

‘So I understand how we have ended up here. I know everyone here is a bit shocked by this, and there are many colleagues that will want to send you off with their love.

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

‘They’re probably learning about this right now along with all of you at home and so I want to say from all of us here at The Project and at Ten, thank you very much because you have put all that you have into this. 

‘You work like a bloody horse. It’s unbelievable.’

Macdonald concluded with the promise that Wilkinson may return to The Project in the future.

‘Have a great long break, as long as you need. We’ll see you back here when you’re ready,’ he said.

Wilkinson's advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson’s advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson won the Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister's office during 2019

Wilkinson won the Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister’s office during 2019

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed.

Wilkinson won the Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins, in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister’s office in 2019.

The original trial date was slated for June 27 but in the aftermath of Wilkinson’s acceptance speech, a judge delayed the high-profile case ruling it would be ‘unfair’ to continue among the public commentary surrounding the case. 

The trial was delayed until October as a result. 

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured with Rachel Corbett). Her return was a 'last-minute' decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn't be back on air until August

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured with Rachel Corbett). Her return was a ‘last-minute’ decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August

While The Project star copped a wave of public scrutiny, Channel 10 stood by Wilkinson and called the criticism ‘inaccurate and unfair’, but she was nonetheless taken off the air and decamped to Hollywood to escape the backlash.

Wilkinson later resurfaced on Instagram on July 18 to reveal she was in Los Angeles, sharing a photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs. 

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project.  

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project 

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel in July, and was back to anchoring the Channel 10 show four nights a week. 

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position.

Her return was a ‘last-minute’ decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August.

She reportedly 'raced back' to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks 

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and ‘simmering tensions’ with former co-host Karl Stefanovic.

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project.

It comes on the back of a difficult year for Channel 10’s current affairs panel show, which has now lost two of its biggest stars.

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and 'simmering tensions' with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right)

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and ‘simmering tensions’ with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right) 

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project 

In October, Wilkinson’s co-star Carrie Bickmore announced her departure from The Project after 12 years on air. 

Bickmore had been absent for a three month ‘sabbatical’ with her family in London earlier this year, before returning to the panel in July, only to quit in October.  

She will leave Channel 10 altogether after she finishes up at the end of this month, making her next career move unclear.

In October, Wilkinson's co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years

In October, Wilkinson’s co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years 

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed The Project had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011.

The struggling show saw its metro ratings plummet to an all-time low of just 367,000 last year.

That’s a 30 per cent decline from its five-city audience of 538,000 a decade earlier.

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10's flagship current affairs program had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011. (Pictured from left to right: Tommy little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan)

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10’s flagship current affairs program had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011. (Pictured from left to right: Tommy little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan)

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