The Project stars pay tribute to Lisa Wilkinson after shock departure

Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar pay tribute to Lisa Wilkinson following her shock departure from The Project

The Project stars have paid tribute to co-star Lisa Wilkinson after she sensationally quit The Project on Sunday night.

Hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar took a moment during Monday’s broadcast to share a sweet message to the presenter.

‘Of course you heard the news that our friend and colleague Lisa Wilkinson will be moving on from the show, she announced last night,’ Waleed began.

The Project stars have paid tribute to co-star Lisa Wilkinson after she sensationally quit The Project on Sunday night. (Pictured:  Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore)

The Project stars have paid tribute to co-star Lisa Wilkinson after she sensationally quit The Project on Sunday night. (Pictured:  Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore)

‘Unfortunately, such as the size of the desk, not everyone could be there for the moment that she got to tell you what was going on. So we thought we would take this moment just to acknowledge her enormous contribution to the show.’

‘She’s done some incredible stories and interviews over the… It’s five years now, and, yeah, she will be sorely missed,’ added Carrie.

‘She’s such a pro, such a gorgeous person to sit with. But to watch the master… she’s very, very good at what she does. ‘

'Unfortunately, such as the size of the desk, not everyone could be there for the moment that she got to tell you what was going on. So we thought we would take this moment just to acknowledge her enormous contribution to the show,' Waleed begun

‘Unfortunately, such as the size of the desk, not everyone could be there for the moment that she got to tell you what was going on. So we thought we would take this moment just to acknowledge her enormous contribution to the show,’ Waleed begun

Guest host Steve Price added that he’s lucky to have known Lisa for 22 years.

‘I’ve done a lot of TV with her. She’s always very giving in her spirit towards you,’ he said.

Helliar then added that he was a massive fan of Lisa before meeting her.

'She's done some incredible stories and interviews over the... It's five years now, and, yeah, she will be sorely missed,' added Carrie

‘She’s done some incredible stories and interviews over the… It’s five years now, and, yeah, she will be sorely missed,’ added Carrie

The embattled TV presenter, 62, announced her shock departure 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 The Bachelor’s 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. 

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

Lisa has sensationally quit The Project. The embattled TV presenter, 62, made the shock admission at the end of Sunday night's episode, leaving viewers stunned

Lisa has sensationally quit The Project. The embattled TV presenter, 62, made the shock admission at the end of Sunday night’s episode, leaving viewers stunned

‘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.’ 

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

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

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

‘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 admitted. 

'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

‘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.’

Lisa went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel Ten and was 'looking at some exciting work ideas ahead'. She was given flowers by co-star Hamish Macdonald (left)

Lisa went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel Ten and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’. She was given flowers by co-star Hamish Macdonald (left) 

Lisa concluded: ‘I especially want to thank 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.’

Co-star Hamish Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision.   

Hamish praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision. '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

Hamish praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision. ‘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 said while holding Lisa'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 said while holding Lisa’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,’ the emotional journalist said while holding Lisa’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. 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’s many colleagues that will want to send you off with their love. 

The exit comes after a controversial year for the television presenter, during which she was taken off air following her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. Pictured at the Logies

The exit comes after a controversial year for the television presenter, during which she was taken off air following 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 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 show in time. 

‘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

Lisa’s exit comes after a controversial year for the television presenter, during which she was taken off air following 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 during 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 court case was delayed until October as a result. 

Lisa made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured). 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

Lisa made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured). 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 Ten stood by Wilkinson and called the criticism ‘inaccurate and unfair’.

The former Today show host was pulled off the air in June.

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, 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.  

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this 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. Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder in a pre-recorded segment that aired in July

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project. Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder in a pre-recorded segment that aired in July

Lisa 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, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks. 

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 

The veteran TV star 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 the current affairs panel show, which has now lost two of its biggest stars.  

Lisa 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)

Lisa 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, Lisa’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.  

Carrie will leave Channel 10 altogether after she finishes up this month, making her next career move unclear.

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. In October, Lisa's co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. In October, Lisa’s co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years 

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10’s flagship current affairs program 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 (L-R): 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 (L-R): Tommy little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan

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