There’s trouble brewing at Ten’s The Project – and not just flatlining ratings – with more rumours of mreo tension between the show’s co-hosts Carrie Bickmore and star recruit Lisa Wilkinson. A claim that Ten has categorically denied.
Wilkinson, of course, famously jumped ship to the network in October last year for a reported $2.3 million a year salary in what became one of the media stories of 2017.
Even at the time, Ten was forced to hose down rumours that Bickmore, who’s hosted the evening current affairs program since 2009, was “pissed off” that she’d have to pay second-fiddle to Wilkinson who was also pulling four-times her salary.
There are now media reports of “tensions” between the two and threats Bickmore could possibly defect to rivals Seven or Nine.
Wilkinson’s role at Ten, her Project hosting role aside, is not abundantly clear. There have been unsubstantiated reports that Ten bought her over to either have another crack at a breakfast show or a more serious Sunday night news program to take on the likes of 60 Minutes and Sunday Night.
In mid-December, Wilkinson was appointed executive editor of Ten’s mobile-optimised website, Ten Daily.
In 2018, The Project’s ratings have mirrored last year’s, while it must be said The Sunday Project’s ratings have been lacklustre despite a promising start when Wilkinson first joined. Last Sunday night’s episode pulled a rather uninspiring 365,000 according to OzTam numbers.
Admittedly, the source of the latest feud is the venerable organ New Idea. In its latest issue out yesterday, the gossip weekly once again quoted the infamous “unnamed source” who said: “(Ten bosses) are having to handle Carrie with kid gloves as they don’t want the worst outcome – that she spits the dummy and walks.”
The New Idea article also inferred that Wilkinson was being handed the show’s big-name interviews which had infuriated Bickmore, while social media posts of the two women smiling together were said to have been staged for the cameras while, in reality, the two “pass like ships in the night”.
Both Wilkinson and Bickmore have repeatedly denied rumours of a rift, with the latter telling WHO magazine only last week: “I couldn’t be more excited to be working with (Lisa). We text, we call and we’re going to make a great team.”
The network itself has also dismissed the rumours, suggesting that the latest article is merely more scuttlebutt and troublemaking by the Channel Seven-owned New Idea.