The world of breakfast television is still reeling following the news that long-time Today host and living legend Lisa Wilkinson has quit.
The 57-year-old reportedly walked because the Nine Network refused to pay her the same amount as her male co-host Karl Stefanovic, and fellow early riser and breakie radio host Em Rusciano, had some scathing comments on that matter this morning.
Taking aim at Nine, Rusciano said, “Channel Nine, you have made a massive mistake”.
She went on to explain that in her opinion, the move will isolate female viewers who are already disillusioned with Stefanovic after he split with his wife of 21 years Cassandra Thorburn, and now dates younger designer Jasmine Yarbrough.
“They [Wilkinson and Stefanovic] do the same thing, and not only that, I think you only get one person like Lisa Wilkinson in tele in a lifetime of tele,” Rusciano said on her 2DayFM show.
“You only get someone who has her gravitas, her poise, her grace, her intelligence, her wit, and she’s so beloved, she’s so loved by the female audience especially.
“And you’ve got someone like Karl Stefanovic who’s a lad, who was very unpopular with women after what happened with his wife, I think Lisa is the invaluable ointment to Karl a lot of the time.”
Stressing that she doesn’t know the specifics of the dispute between Wilkinson and Nine, Rusciano said she’s proud of the way the TV host – who has since been snapped up by Ten - stood up for gender inequality.
“To Lisa, I just want to say well done, well done on sticking to your guns and backing yourself and believing in your value,” she said.
“Channel Nine’s loss - and it’s a stupid loss and I believe they’re gonna take a massive hit in the ratings over this, is Channel Ten’s gain, and good on Channel Ten for jumping on it.”
Wilkinson made the shock announcement in Twitter last night, saying that Monday's episode of Today was her last. It remains to be seen exactly what role she'll fill on Ten, but she's been welcomed onto The Project desk alongside Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly.