Despite a room full of love at Nine’s upfronts last Wednesday, it appears all is not rosy over at the TV network’s Willoughby bunker.
According to reports in News Corp’s The Sunday Telegraph yesterday, one of the network’s darlings, Today’s Lisa Wilkinson, is baulking at signing a new contract with the broadcaster until she’s paid the same as co-host Karl Stefanovic who is said to be on twice her salary (reported to be as much as $2 million a year.)
The article claims negotiations have “stalled” and also suggest that CEO Hugh Marks is less fond of Stefanovic than previous boss, David Gyngell.
Nine has declined B&T’s offer to comment on this story, saying it doesn’t publicly comment on its personalities’ salaries.
The News article, by social columnist Annette Sharp, infers Stefanovic is somewhat of a protected species at Nine. “Despite Stefanovic’s many flaws — or perhaps because of them — Nine has pandered to him over the past decade while largely ignoring Wilkinson, the good and dutiful daughter to Stefanovic’s naughty and indulged pampered son,” Sharp penned. “Wilkinson by comparison looks much neglected.”
If the News article is to be believed, Nine is apparently unhappy with Stefanovic’s public image and the fallout from his recent and public divorce.
Stefanovic was apparently eyeing Tracy Grimshaw’s hosting spot at A Current Affair, however, those rumours have been repeatedly shot down by Nine’s PR chiefs.
There is no suggestion that Wilkinson would leave the network, however, after a decade of very early starts at Today the 57-year-old could start to be looking further afield and would definitely be a coup scalp for arch rival Seven.
The news of Stefanovic’s reported favoured treatment by network bosses also follows on from similar allegations when his brother, Peter (a Nine journalist) had his wedding in April heavily spruiked by the Today show amid suggestions contra deals had been done with suppliers in exchange for complimentary air time.
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