The Project: ‘More resignations’ are coming after Lisa Wilkinson exit, says pundit

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There will be more resignations to come for Channel 10’s embattled current affairs show The Project, a leading TV pundit has warned.

The left-leaning news program has been rocked by two high-profile exits in recent weeks: Lisa Wilkinson announced last night she was quitting effective immediately, and long-time anchor Carrie Bickmore confirmed her departure a month ago.

But that may not be the end of the mass exodus, with veteran entertainment reporter Peter Ford saying he experts more presenters to throw in the towel before the end of the ratings year.

There will be more resignations to come for Channel 10’s The Project, a leading TV pundit has warned. The left-leaning news program has been rocked by two high-profile exits in recent weeks: Lisa Wilkinson (right) announced last night she was quitting effective immediately, and long-time anchor Carrie Bickmore (left) confirmed her departure a month ago

‘There will be more “shock resignations” in the next two weeks,’ he tweeted after Wilkinson announced her exit at the end of The Sunday Project.

‘How coincidental so many people all decide at same time they “need a change”,’ added Ford, the showbiz correspondent for The Morning Show and 3AW Breakfast.

Ford promised to tell all about Wilkinson’s exit and ‘who is going next’, as well as the story behind Channel 10’s ‘last-ditch attempt to rebrand the show’, on Monday.

That may not be the end of the mass exodus, with entertainment reporter Peter Ford (pictured) saying he experts more presenters to throw in the towel before the end of the ratings year

That may not be the end of the mass exodus, with entertainment reporter Peter Ford (pictured) saying he experts more presenters to throw in the towel before the end of the ratings year 

He later fired off a snarky tweet accusing Wilkinson of ‘making herself a victim’ with her resignation speech, in which she accused the media of ‘targeted toxicity’ and spoke of how the last ‘six months have not been easy’.

‘All the hard work she’s put in etc. etc. for four nights a week and 20 grand a week. That poor lady!’ he added.

He did not specify who would be next out the door, but The Project has a roster of regular hosts including comedian Tommy Little, former Q&A presenter Hamish Macdonald and long-time co-anchor Waleed Aly.

Aly is unlikely to leave, however, after signing a ‘seven-figure, multi-year deal’ with Channel 10 in March, according to The Australian.

'There will be more "shock resignations" in the next two weeks,' Ford tweeted on Sunday. 'How coincidental so many people all decide at same time they "need a change".' (Pictured: Bickmore and Wilkinson at the Logie Awards on the Gold Coast on June 30, 2019)

‘There will be more “shock resignations” in the next two weeks,’ Ford tweeted on Sunday. ‘How coincidental so many people all decide at same time they “need a change”.’ (Pictured: Bickmore and Wilkinson at the Logie Awards on the Gold Coast on June 30, 2019)

Ford promised to tell all about Wilkinson's exit and 'who is going next', as well as the story behind Channel 10's 'last-ditch attempt to rebrand the show', on Monday

Ford promised to tell all about Wilkinson’s exit and ‘who is going next’, as well as the story behind Channel 10’s ‘last-ditch attempt to rebrand the show’, on Monday

Ford did not specify who would be next out the door, but The Project has a roster of regular hosts including comedian Tommy Little...

...and former Q&A presenter Hamish Macdonald

He did not specify who would be next out the door, but The Project has a roster of regular hosts including comedian Tommy Little (left) and former Q&A presenter Hamish Macdonald (right)

Long-time co-anchor Waleed Aly (pictured) is unlikely to leave, however, after signing a 'seven-figure, multi-year deal' with Channel 10 in March, according to The Australian

Long-time co-anchor Waleed Aly (pictured) is unlikely to leave, however, after signing a ‘seven-figure, multi-year deal’ with Channel 10 in March, according to The Australian

Ford wasn’t the only media personality weighing in on Wilkinson’s exit, with radio host Kyle Sandilands speculating she had been ‘railroaded out’.

He also predicted her exit from The Project will effectively mark the end of her life in the public eye, noting how her husband Peter FitzSimons has also stepped back from his high-profile role as the head of the Australian Republic Movement.

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He added: ‘Lisa Wilkinson, jobless. Thank God. Channel 10 saw the light, got rid of that $2million mistake. And now the husband [FitzSimons] has got no job either. You watch them vanish… They will disappear. They will just go away.’

More to come. 

Ford wasn't the only media personality weighing in on Wilkinson's exit, with radio host Kyle Sandilands (pictured) speculating she had been 'railroaded out'

Ford wasn’t the only media personality weighing in on Wilkinson’s exit, with radio host Kyle Sandilands (pictured) speculating she had been ‘railroaded out’

He also predicted her exit from The Project will effectively mark the end of her life in the public eye, noting how her husband Peter FitzSimons (right) has also stepped back from his high-profile role as the head of the Australian Republic Movement. (Pictured in September 2017)

He also predicted her exit from The Project will effectively mark the end of her life in the public eye, noting how her husband Peter FitzSimons (right) has also stepped back from his high-profile role as the head of the Australian Republic Movement. (Pictured in September 2017)

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night’s episode, leaving viewers stunned. 

‘I have decided it’s time to reprioritise a few things in my life,’ the TV veteran began alongside co-hosts Macdonald and Laura Byrne.

‘And after almost 15 years of the early alarm of breakfast TV, and now another five years here at The Project desk, I’m looking at how I want the coming years to play out both professionally and personally,’ she added.

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night's episode, leaving viewers stunned

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night’s episode, leaving viewers stunned 

‘So, from tonight, I am stepping back from hosting the show.

‘Sitting at this desk and working with this incredible team – both in front of and behind the camera – has been an absolute privilege.

‘These people are genuinely are some of the most talented and decent humans I know.

‘And you, our passionate, engaged audience, have been so kind in making me feel so welcome in your homes. I’ve had a ball, but for me, right now, it’s time for a change.’

Wilkinson went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’. 

'I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,' she said

‘I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,’ she said

‘But I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,’ Wilkinson said. 

‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above criticism, far from it. I’m human, and I don’t always get it right, none of us do, but by God I’ve tried. 

‘I’ve given this job everything I have, and I hope you at home know that. I hope I’ve brought you stories that matter and introduced you to people whose lives and experiences might have otherwise never been told, and helped bring into focus issues that deserve our collective attention. 

‘So to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and reached out, particularly in recent months, thank you. You’ll never know how much it has meant to me.’

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was 'looking at some exciting work ideas ahead'

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’

Wilkinson concluded: ‘I especially want to thank [media executive] Peter Meakin here at The Project, the wise old owl of news and current affairs in this country, who has been such an unwavering and generous supporter and mentor of mine right across my time in TV, just as he has been for so many others.

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‘And finally to Leigh Sales, Tracy Grimshaw, and Carrie Bickmore: if you guys are up for a drink, I’ll see you at the bar. The margaritas are on me.’

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave.

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. 'I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,' he said

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. ‘I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,’ he said

'There's been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you've taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,' he added while holding Wilkinson's hand

‘There’s been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,’ he added while holding Wilkinson’s hand  

‘There’s been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,’ he added while holding Wilkinson’s hand.

‘There have been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is. And you’ve turned up on camera even on days where, you know, it’s been tough.

‘So I understand how we have ended up here. I know everyone here is a bit shocked by this, and there are many colleagues that will want to send you off with their love.

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

‘They’re probably learning about this right now along with all of you at home and so I want to say from all of us here The Project and at Ten, thank you very much because you have put all that you have into this. 

‘You work like a bloody horse. It’s unbelievable.’

Macdonald concluded with the promise that Wilkinson may return to The Project in the future.

‘Have a great long break, as long as you need. We’ll see you back here when you’re ready,’ he said.

Wilkinson's advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson’s advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson won the Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister's office during 2019

Wilkinson won the Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister’s office during 2019

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed.

Wilkinson won the Gold Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins, in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister’s office during 2019.

The original trial date was slated for June 27 but in the aftermath of Wilkinson’s acceptance speech, a judge delayed the high-profile case ruling it would be ‘unfair’ to continue among the public commentary surrounding the case. 

The court case was delayed until October as a result. 

While The Project star copped a wave of public scrutiny, Channel 10 stood by Wilkinson and called the criticism ‘inaccurate and unfair’, but she was nonetheless taken off the air and decamped to Hollywood to escape the backlash.

Wilkinson later resurfaced on Instagram on July 18 to reveal she was in Los Angeles, sharing a photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs. 

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project.  

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project. Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder in a pre-recorded segment that aired in July

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project. Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder in a pre-recorded segment that aired in July

Lisa made an unexpected return to the live panel in July, and was back to anchoring the Channel 10 show four nights a week. 

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks. 

Her return was a ‘last-minute’ decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August.

She reportedly 'raced back' to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks 

The veteran TV star joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and ‘simmering tensions’ with former co-host Karl Stefanovic.

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project.

It comes on the back of a difficult year for the current affairs panel show, which has now lost two of its biggest stars.  

Lisa joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show after a reported salary dispute and 'simmering tensions' with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right)

Lisa joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show after a reported salary dispute and ‘simmering tensions’ with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right) 

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project 

In October, Lisa’s co-star Carrie Bickmore announced her departure from The Project after 12 years on air. 

Bickmore had been absent for a three month ‘sabbatical’ with her family in London earlier this year, before returning to the panel in July, only to quit in October.  

Carrie will leave Channel 10 altogether after she finishes up this month, making her next career move unclear.

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. In October, Lisa's co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. In October, Lisa’s co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years 

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10’s flagship current affairs program had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011.

The struggling show saw its metro ratings plummet to an all-time low of just 367,000 last year.

That’s a 30 per cent decline from its five-city audience of 538,000 a decade earlier.

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10's flagship current affairs program had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011. Pictured (L-R): Tommy little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10’s flagship current affairs program had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011. Pictured (L-R): Tommy little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan

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