Nine wins ratings over Seven after Lisa departs

Amy Stevenson

While she shocked her former colleagues with her departure, it appears viewers were keen to see what the "new-look" Today show would be like without Lisa Wilkinson, with Channel Nine winning the ratings war over rival Channel Seven.

After the 57-year-old announced on Monday night she had hosted her last Today show, 301,000 people tuned in on Tuesday morning, while rival Sunrise on Channel Seven only managed to pull 262,000 viewers, according to [|Mediaweek|popup=true].

Nine newsreader Deborah Knight filled the seat left vacant by Lisa on both Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Viewers tuned in to see the new-look Today show on Tuesday. Source: Channel 9
It was the first day of the new show after Lisa Wilkinson's shock exit. Source: Channel 9

The metro viewers numbers were also significantly higher from Monday, when Today could only pull 274,000 viewers, while Sunrise were ahead with 289,000.

Tuesday's increase in viewers is a win for Today, with the show falling short to its competitor numerous times throughout the year.

Last week, before Lisa's shock exit after a decade-long stint at the network next to Karl Stefanovic, Today only managed to pull in 254,000 viewers, well behind the 277,000 average Sunrise was boasting.

Back in July the Sydney Morning Herald reported Sunrise was in a position to take out the ratings war againstToday, with the Channel Seven morning show - hosted by Samantha Armytage and David 'Kochie' Koch - "winning 15 ratings weeks" so far, while Lisa and Karl had only managed to win five.

Meanwhile Sunrise have generally been ahead in the ratings war. Source: Channel 7
Viewers were keen to see Deb Knight step in for Lisa. Source: Channel 9

On Monday night Lisa surprised everyone when she confirmed she would be leaving the network and would be moving to Channel Ten to host The Project and The Sunday Project.

Her exit comes after speculation surrounding her salary expectations, with reports Lisa demanded the same pay as co-host Karl, who is reportedly earning between $6-$9 million over three years, according to The Australian.

However Nine's CEO Hugh Marks refuted the claims Lisa decided to walk away from her coveted hosting gig because the network would not pay her the same amount as her co-host Karl Stefanovic, who was reportedly on $2 million a year compared to Lisa's $1.8 million.

The Today show have struggled with getting viewers this year. Source: Getty

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Marks blamed Lisa's other "commercial contracts" that restricted Nine having "complete access" to the journalist.

Marks also claimed that while the network ultimately offered a $1.8 million package to Lisa, her counter-offer of $2.3 million could not be matched.

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