Channel 10 is already facing widespread criticism for refusing to axe The Project while brutally sacking at least 25 other jobs on Tuesday afternoon in response to the COVID-19 recession.
And the network has continued to cop significant backlash after its decision to keep on board the show’s Sunday edition host, Lisa Wilkinson, who is rumoured to be earning between $1million and $2.3million per year.
When contacted by Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday, Channel 10 refused to confirm whether the 60-year-old has taken, or offered to take, a pay cut to alleviate the financial pressures the company is under.
Criticism: Channel 10 copped backlash after keeping on board the The Project’s Sunday edition host Lisa Wilkinson [pictured] despite sacking 25 other jobs on Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 recession
After letting go of 25 prominent staffers, Channel 10 was called out for staying loyal to former Today anchor Wilkinson, who has been described as the ‘most overpaid person in Australia’ by frustrated viewers on social media.
‘Channel 10 shredding their news division so they can continue to pay Lisa Wilkinson millions to do sweet f**k all on a program no one watches. Makes sense,’ one critic tweeted.
‘They spent too much on Lisa Wilkinson’, another wrote, while a third chimed in: ‘The most overpaid person in Australia. She played sexist card and won.’
Despite the criticism, Channel 10 has steadfastly refused to confirm exactly how much money Wilkinson is earning at the network.
Furthermore, they refused to say when her contract expires, or if she’s willing to sacrifice her salary to protect the livelihoods of her colleagues.
Controversial: After Channel 10 let go of 25 staffers following the decline of advertising revenue due to the pandemic, they have still kept on Lisa – whose salary is estimated to be between an eye-watering $1million and $2.3million per year
Staying mum: When approached by Daily Mail Australia, Channel 10 refused to answer whether the 60-year-old has taken, or offered to take, a pay cut in light of the drastic measures taken by executives
The rage from viewers intensified overnight, with one former fan suggesting that the Wilkinson should resign in solidarity with those who lost their jobs.
‘Big job cuts at @10NewsFirst Our thoughts go out to Lisa Wilkinson, the highest-paid dud at the network, who was recruited with huge fanfare and self-promotion but now must be the first to go. 10 went woke, now going broke,’ they wrote.
Others took direct aim at the former magazine journalist.
‘Yeah @Lisa_Wilkinson – it’s your huge salary that has caused this – shame shame shame!’ one viewer tweeted.
Another added: ‘It’s a weird thing you get to keep your job at 10 while a vast swathe of more capable and much, much lower-paid staff get the axe.’
Wilkinson moved to The Project in 2018, supposedly in protest because Nine wouldn’t raise her salary to match that of her Today show co-host Karl Stefanovic.
‘She’s not worth the salary’: After letting go of 25 prominent staffers, Channel 10 was called out for staying local to former Today anchor Lisa – who was dubbed the ‘most overpaid person in Australia’ by frustrated social media commentators
She was believed to have quit Today because Stefanovic, her male counterpart, was reportedly earning $2million a year with bonuses, while she was on $1.1million.
When her contract was up for negotiation, Nine was only willing to increase her annual salary to $1.8million, but this wasn’t enough for her and she quit.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson isn’t the only Project host to be breathing a sigh of relief this week, as Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar have also kept their jobs.
Not answering: Channel 10 also refused to confirm Lisa’s colossal earnings when asked by Daily Mail Australia. Furthermore, they refused to answer when Lisa’s contract on The Project will come to an end
’10 went woker, now going broker’: The rage from viewers continued, with one suggesting that the TV broadcaster should resign in solidarity to those who lost their job
On Tuesday, the left-leaning current affairs show managed to avoid the swinging axe as the network announced a ‘restructuring’ of its news division, with the likes of Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling and Tim Bailey being made redundant.
The ‘restructure’ was in response to the sharp decline in advertising revenue caused by the coronavirus recession.
Daily Mail Australia understands The Project avoided cancellation because Channel 10 boss Beverley McGarvey considers it an essential part of the daily schedule.
A well-placed source said earlier this year: ‘For some reason, the higher-ups at Channel 10 love The Project, even though the viewers don’t. It doesn’t rate, it’s expensive to produce and a lot of the publicity it generates is negative.’
Gender pay dispute: Wilkinson moved to The Project in 2018, supposedly in protest because Nine wouldn’t raise her salary to match that of her Today show co-host Karl Stefanovic (right)
The insider added that despite many staffers believing the show ‘peaked years ago’, management sees it as one of the network’s ‘sacred cows’ and ‘will do anything to protect it’.
They explained: ‘Although it fails to attract a big audience, it does do well in certain demographics. There’s also the argument that it is popular on Facebook and drives social engagement, but that doesn’t translate to advertising dollars.
‘Still, it will never be cancelled because senior management won’t hear a bad word said against it.’
Despite recent calls for The Project to be cancelled, the show has won several Logie Awards over the years for Most Popular Panel and Most Popular Presenter, which are voted for by the public.
Staying put: Channel 10 is already facing criticism for refusing to axe The Project while brutally sacking at least 25 other jobs on Tuesday afternoon in response to the COVID-19 recession