Ten's highest-paid host Lisa Wilkinson has sparked a bitter feud with newsreader Sandra Sully after repeatedly parking in her car space at Ten's headquarters in Pyrmont, Sydney.
"It's pretty bizarre," reveals one staffer, who says the issue has captivated staff at Ten for the past four weeks, as Lisa continues to ignore directives from security to stop parking in Sandra's space.
"It's started to put noses out of joint because everyone loves Sandra, and I know she's getting annoyed big time. It's just a petty little issue, but it's become hot gossip at Ten. It's not like it's even a prime car space."
To make the carpark war even worse, staff are mystified as to why Lisa, 60, has insisted on commandeering Sandra's car space, given the carpark is almost empty because of Ten's recent cost-cutting program that forces staff to pay for their own parking.
"Everyone's fascinated to see if Lisa parks her big car there again this Thursday," adds the staffer, who says that while Sandra, 55, hasn't blown up publicly about the issue, she has complained to security.
When Lisa quit her role on Today at Nine and joined The Project in January 2018 on a reported salary of $2 million a year, there were reports of tension with co-host Carrie Bickmore, who earns about a quarter of Lisa's salary.
But it wasn't just Carrie, 39, who struggled with the pay inequality, with other staff complaining about her package, which allowed for extras like business class airfares, particularly when her much lauded arrival failed to improve The Project's ratings.
"When she first started, Natarsha Belling and the other women who were sharing the big dressing room had to make way for Lisa, even though Lisa was only there two days a week," the staffer reveals.
"Sandra shares her dressing room with Sarah Harris."
WATCH: Lisa Wilkinson makes a risqué remark that leaves Grant Denyer shocked. Story continues below...
Meanwhile at Channel Seven, you could cut the tension with a knife when co-host Sam Armytage finally returned to Sunrise last week, after taking six weeks off the hit breakfast show because of a respiratory infection.
Sam, 43, at times appeared stony-faced as she shared the desk with co-host David Koch, 64, after finding the landscape forever changed with veteran newsreader Natalie Barr, 52, now elevated to equal status – and doing the big interviews Sam was doing before her break.
"It took a while for the ice to thaw," confirms one on-set insider.
"Sam found out a new format was now in place that means Nat has become much more than just the newsreader. Nat and Kochie created a really strong bond, and the execs think it would be catastrophic to push Nat aside when the show rated so strongly in Sam's absence."
Just hours after Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell and Seven news chief Craig McPherson told Sam that Nat had been promoted, she was spotted at a crisis meeting at her agent Nick Fordham's office.
"Everyone's had their salaries cut 20 per cent because of Seven's dire financial situation, and workloads increased to cope with the 24/7 pandemic news coverage," says the insider. "There were eyebrows raised over Sam's long absence."
And with Melissa Doyle back centre stage reading the news every day, there's a feeling she could easily step up if Sam calls it quits.
"You could say not everyone welcomed her back with open arms," says the source.
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