The Project's Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly have welcomed new colleague Lisa Wilkinson to the panel -- or “family” as they described the news program.
Speaking on Tuesday night’s edition, the panelists expressed their great admiration and respect for the veteran journalist.
“Nine’s loss is our gain here at Network Ten,” Carrie said of the surprise move.
“An incredible woman — smart, funny, down to earth. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Waleed also opened up about the shakeup, describing the turn of events “great” news.
“I have always really loved Lisa and it is nice to be able to contractually say it now,” he joked.
It follows the respected editor and broadcaster's shock departure from the Today Show to join The Project on Channel Ten.
Lisa Wilkinson’s daughter Billi FitzSimons took to social media shortly after the announcement to share a touching tribute to her mum.
“Thank you, Mum, for paving the way for the next generation and every generation to come,” the 19-year-old wrote on Instagram.
“You are a leader and an inspiration for so many tonight. I can’t wait to see you at the breakfast table tomorrow morning.”
The post sat alongside a happy snap featuring a mother-daughter outing at the gym.
Lisa’s husband, Peter FitzSimons, also took to social media to celebrate her new path.
“That's my Missus,” he wrote on Twitter. “Got a new job in 45 minutes!”
Lisa will be joining news and current-affairs program The Project as co-host alongside Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar in January. She will also be hosting The Sunday Project.
The 57-year-old announced the news on Twitter, writing: "I have some news. I'm sad to say that today was my last day on The today show. The following statement is from Channel Nine.”
According to the statement, Channel Nine could not reach an agreement with Lisa to extend her contract for her hosting duties on the breakfast program. Over the weekend, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Lisa was waiting for equal pay to her co-host Karl Stefanovic to re-sign a new contract and multiple reports since have also rumoured her fight for pay parity.
The statement read: “Nine today confirmed we have been unable to meet the expectations of Lisa Wilkinson and her manager on a contract renewal for a further period.
“Today Show is one of the biggest roles there is in television and requires an enormous commitment from its hosts. The partnership between Lisa and Karl has taken the show to the success it is today and we thank Lisa for everything she has done for the show and for Nine over the past 10 years,” said Nine CEO Hugh Marks.
WATCH: Lisa Wilkinson has sat at the helm of breakfast television for more than a decade. Post continues…
Lisa added: “I want to thank Channel Nine for the privilege of co-hosting the Today Show for the last 10 years. I would particularly like to thank my colleagues Karl, Slyvia, Georgie, Tim, Richard, Stevie and Natalia, as well as the hard-working producers and the entire team behind the cameras – every one of them has contributed to the incredible success of the show over the years.”
“Most particularly though I want to thank the Today Show audience who have been so supportive and incredibly loyal to me over the last decade.”
“I can never thank you enough and I look forward to seeing you soon.”
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