Nine says Lisa Wilkinson was let go because of 'multiple commercial contracts', not a pay dispute

Karl Stefanovic (L) and Lisa Wilkinson (R). Photo: Scott Barbour/ Getty Images

Channel Nine has come under scrutiny following Lisa Wilkinson’s shock resignation as co-host of the Today show yesterday.

The network was criticised for not supporting equal pay after failing to meet Wilkinson’s request for a parity salary to her co-host Karl Stefanovic, who is reported to be on a three-year $2 million per annum contract.

Today, Nine says the failure to meet an agreement came down to Wilkinson’s “multiple commercial contracts”, as opposed to a pay dispute.

The head of Channel Nine told The Daily Telegraph Wilksinon was involved into too many rival media platforms, whereas Stefanovic is wholly owned by Nine.

“The reason we walked away from Lisa is because we are not able to secure those rights [across all areas] with her,” Hugh Marks told The Daily Telegraph.

Wilkinson is the editor-at-large for the Australian edition of US-based website Huffington Post.

“She has a number of commercial rights with other parties. Her arrangement with the Huffington Post restricts our ability to engage with her digitally… We are restricted from engaging with her also on social media.

“I hate the fact we have to compare her with Karl but with him we have all those rights. With Lisa we do not.”

Marks said Wilkinson was asking for $2.3 million, of which he could only offer $1.8 million, and said it came down to paying Wilkinson more or investing “that money in junior journalists coming into the business”.

Disclosure: The Huffington Post launched in Australia in partnership with Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the publisher of Business Insider, is 100% owned by Fairfax Media.

The Daily Telegraph has more here.

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