Carrie ‘p**sed off’ at Lisa’s move to The Project
THE Project host Carrie Bickmore was reportedly "p**sed off" at Lisa Wilkinson's big money move to Channel 10.
Wilkinson's deal, rumoured to be worth $2.3 million, will come into effect in January 2018 when the former Today star sits at The Project desk for the first time.
Carrie Bickmore, who has been with The Project since its launch in 2009, is rumoured to be paid about $500,000 a year.
The report also reveals Bickmore had locked in her half-a-million-a-year deal mere weeks before Wilkinson's history-making move.
While Bickmore's deal is still a lucrative one, it did effectively bar The Project star from potentially defecting to Channel Nine to sit next to Karl Stefanovic on the Today lounge.
Bickmore has been busier than usual this year after she signed on to host Carrie & Tommy, a Hit Network afternoon radio show she's been doing since January.
And while Wilkinson's new colleagues welcomed her with open arms both on air and on social media, behind the scenes reports are telling a different story.
According to The Australian, Bickmore was reportedly angry she only found out about Wilkinson's hiring when it went public.
While Nine CEO Hugh Marks was also furious when a Sunday Telegraph article, published a day before Wilkinson's defection, claimed contract negotiations with their breakfast star had stalled.
"Clearly some people are writing on behalf of the Lisa camp," a Nine source told The Australian at the time.
Negotiations involving Wilkinson, her agent Nick Fordham and Mr Marks were terminated a day after the article was published.
It is understood Nine offered her $1.8 million a year, a $700,000 increase from her $1.1 million salary but $500,000 less than the $2.3 million she had asked for.
Despite the reports of bitterness behind the scenes, Bickmore took to Instagram immediately after the news was announced to celebrate her new desk buddy, uploading a celebratory selfie of her and Wilkinson.
Wilkinson has also previously supported Bickmore on Instagram, posting a picture of herself wearing one of Bickmore's Beanies for Brain Cancer.
In a statement released on Monday night, less than an hour after Wilkinson announced she was leaving Today, Channel Ten revealed it had nabbed the TV veteran.
"Lisa will join the team of Ten's award-winning news and current affairs program, The Project, in a hosting role. She will work alongside The Project's hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar, as well as hosting The Sunday Project," the Ten media release announced.
"The Project has recently been expanded to six nights a week, Sunday to Friday, at 6.30pm."
Ten's entertainment reporter Angela Bishop confirmed that Wilkinson would appear on The Project for two weeknight shows each week.
Further "collaborations" between Wilkinson and her new network are set to be announced in the coming months.
Sydney-based Wilkinson will also face a regular interstate commute for her new role, because The Project is filmed at Ten's Melbourne studio.
PRESSURE ON TODAY
Despite breakfast shows not reaching the same numbers as prime time shows, they do command a number of lucrative advertising partnerships.
Wilkinson's dramatic move has now placed Today under increasing pressure from a number of huge brands who once relied on the former breakfast star's steadfast reputation to sell products.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the morning TV market is worth up to $200 million with a 30-second ad on Today costing about $8000.
"Breakfast TV has proven results for advertisers so they keep coming back. Arguably the morning shows know their audiences better than any other single program and they are consistent," a television executive told the paper.
"Clients like the personal connection that comes with breakfast and the halo that comes with hosts talking about their brands."
This reliance on having a breakfast star with a golden reputation has placed huge pressure on Nine with a number of female journalists touted to replace Wilkinson.
Channel Nine journalists Leila McKinnon, Deb Knight, Allison Langdon, Sylvia Jeffreys, Sonia Kruger and Georgie Gardner are all thought to be on the shortlist.