TWENTY-FOUR hours after Lisa Wilkinson’s magnificent leap from Channel Nine to Network Ten’s The Project, Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly have sounded off on their new co-host.
And their message is clear.
“Nine’s loss is our gain here at Network Ten,” Bickmore said on Tuesday night’s addition of The Project.
“An incredible woman — smart, funny, down to earth. We couldn’t be more excited.”
How Lisa’s shock exit unfolded
Aly also praised the addition of the respected editor and broadcaster to the line-up of the nightly news and current affairs program.
“That is great. I have always really loved Lisa and it is nice to be able to contractually say it now,” he laughed.
During Tuesday night’s broadcast, the hosts played a prerecorded clip that detailed the blow-by-blow of Wilkinson’s spectacular exit from Network Nine — which began Monday evening with a tweet announcing her departure from Today and was followed by another tweet 45 minutes later announcing her new job as a co-host on The Project.
In the moments that followed the announcement, Network Ten confirmed the move in a press release.
“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 media release read.
It’s also been confirmed further “collaborations” between Wilkinson and the network will be announced in the coming months.
Speculation grew Tuesday that Wilkinson’s move to The Project desk might spark a game of musical chairs — with whispers Bickmore could be a hot contender to fill the empty seat next to Karl Stefanovic on Nine’s Today.
But The Project’s executive producer Craig Campbell swiftly smacked down the talk, saying the addition of Wilkinson only strengthens the line-up.
“Carrie is contracted to host the show four days a week and that role won’t change,” he told Fairfax. “She has been here since day one and has led The Project all the way to the Gold Logie podium. Having these two strong, intelligent and independent women, both at the top of their game, on our team is a privilege.”
And ending any early predictions of perceived rivalry with her new co-host, Bickmore ended Tuesday’s segment by smiling down the camera and sharing a message with Wilkinson.
“Congrats, Lisa,” she said.