The truth behind breakfast TV hosts' salaries

Alicia Vrajlal
Entertainment Editor

Last year there was speculation surrounding Lisa Wilkinson’s decision to leave Today, with suggestions of a discrepancy between her and Karl Stefanovic’s salaries leading to her shock exit.

Now a former television producer who has worked across Channels Seven, Nine and Ten, has lifted the lid on breakfast presenters’ salaries.

Rob McKnight, who was most recently the executive producer of Channel Ten morning show, Studio 10 till last year, says the ‘ballpark’ figures in the millions that have previously been tossed about in the media have good reason to be believed.

Lisa Wilkinson and Today Show co-host Karl Stefanovic were paid very different salaries. Source: Channel Nine

Speaking on his new podcast titled TV Blackbox, McKnight firstly revealed the impressive salary package he landed as an EP at Channel Ten.

After initially being on $220k for Studio 10, McKnight revealed he landed a $100k bonus which bumped up his salary to $320k, including super.

“The CEO said, ‘go and pay off your house’,” he revealed.

When asked by his co-hosts about breakfast television presenters’ salaries, McKnight confirmed it was significantly more than his figure, and close to what has been reported in the past.

“You know what I was on, so you can expect they were in the ballpark [reported],” he said.

“Don’t forget breakfast and morning TV have the potential to make good money. Breakfast TV is reaching more people than prime time.”

Former Studio 10 executive producer Rob McKnight reveals all in his new podcast. Source: Twitter/Rob McKnight

In October last year Channel Nine CEO Hugh Marks said he could not offer $500k above the $1.8 million Lisa Wilkinson was earning at the time.

I went to an incredible amount of trouble to build that ($1.8 million) package for her,” he told The Daily Telegraph at the time.

“She wanted $2.3 million. It wasn’t a $200,000 shortfall to (Stefanovic’s) $2 million magic number. It was $500,000.” 

After making the jump to Channel Ten to join The Project, Lisa was replaced on Today by Georgie Gardner.

Gardner’s salary was bumped up to $1 million from $500k, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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