Entertainment

Lisa Wilkinson is ‘front and centre’ in Channel 10’s latest promo for its 2022 slate

She was noticeable by her absence in Channel 10’s first teaser for its 2022 slate.

But Lisa Wilkinson was front and centre in the new promo for the struggling network’s upcoming roster of shows, released last week.

The lengthy video compilation ends with Wilkinson promising viewers that ‘2022 is going to be so much better’. 

She's back! Lisa Wilkinson is 'front and centre' in Channel 10's latest promo for its 2022 slate after the network's highest-paid star was noticeably absent from earlier sizzle reel

She’s back! Lisa Wilkinson is ‘front and centre’ in Channel 10’s latest promo for its 2022 slate after the network’s highest-paid star was noticeably absent from earlier sizzle reel

In the appearance, she is joined at The Project desk by returning star Hamish Macdonald.

Another portion of the video has Lisa’s voiceover saying, ‘We’ve come ahead in leaps and bounds, but we’ve still got a way to go.’ 

It is played over images of the empty Project desk.  

Double act: In the appearance, she is joined at The Project desk by returning star Hamish Macdonald.

Double act: In the appearance, she is joined at The Project desk by returning star Hamish Macdonald.

Wilkinson was noticeably absent from Channel 10’s first promo for its 2022 programming slate, despite being one of the network’s highest-paid stars. 

The two-minute trailer showcased the new and returning shows that will air next year, including 10’s flagship news and current affairs program The Project.

Regular hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Hellier all appeared in the advert, but Wilkinson, who fronts The Sunday Project, was nowhere to be seen.

Missing: Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) was noticeably absent from Channel 10's initial promo for its 2022 programming slate, despite being one of the network's highest-paid stars

Missing: Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) was noticeably absent from Channel 10’s initial promo for its 2022 programming slate, despite being one of the network’s highest-paid stars

Despite her absence from the promo, Daily Mail Australia understands Wilkinson – who reportedly earns $1.7million per year – will feature on Channel 10 in 2022 after signing a multi-year deal last year.

The fact she didn’t appear in the initial sizzle reel has led to speculation her position at 10 may not be secure.

‘It can’t be an oversight. It must be a calculated decision,’ entertainment reporter Peter Ford told The Daily Telegraph last week.

‘It may be more about spooking her rather than confirmation of any intended plans. But they would absolutely have known it would be noticed and raise speculation.

‘The bottom line is it’s a never a good sign of your longevity in a workplace when you’re very publicly snubbed.’

Other shows featured in the trailer include The Bachelor, Australian Survivor, I’m a Celebrity, Have You Been Paying Attention, MasterChef and The Masked Singer.

Missing in action: Regular hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Peter Hellier and Steve Price all appear in the advert, but Wilkinson, who fronts The Sunday Project, is nowhere to be seen

Missing in action: Regular hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Peter Hellier and Steve Price all appear in the advert, but Wilkinson, who fronts The Sunday Project, is nowhere to be seen

Wilkinson, 61, is taking an extended break from The Project ahead of the Christmas period when she will fill in as main weekday host while Bickmore is on holiday. 

Her first Sunday off saw Rachel Corbett co-host alongside Hamish Macdonald. 

This broadcast had 381,000 metro viewers in the 7pm time slot.

While this was a far cry from the heights of 500,000 The Sunday Project used to reach in its heyday, it was still 70,000 more than the previous two ­Sundays.

There has reportedly been some chatter at Channel 10 that the publicity tour for Wilkinson’s new book, It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This, has turned off viewers.

The program’s audience has declined sharply ever since Wilkinson sat down for a fawning interview with co-host Macdonald on October 10 to discuss her 2017 sacking from Channel Nine over a gender pay gap dispute.

Done deal: Despite her absence from the promo, Daily Mail Australia understands Wilkinson will feature on Channel 10 in 2022 after signing a multi-year deal last year

Done deal: Despite her absence from the promo, Daily Mail Australia understands Wilkinson will feature on Channel 10 in 2022 after signing a multi-year deal last year

The Australian previously reported that some 10 staffers were hoping Wilkinson’s absence would be a ‘circuit-breaker’ that helps boost the show’s poor ratings.

It comes after several details in promotional extracts for her book were disputed by media insiders and her former employer Channel Nine.

There is a particularly contentious chapter dedicated to her sacking from Nine and falling out with former Today show co-host Karl Stefanovic.

Wilkinson maintains Stefanovic earned double her salary to do the same job, and that when she asked for a pay rise she was unceremoniously sacked.

But it has since been claimed she actually earned more than Stefanovic for years when they first joined forces on the breakfast program in 2007.

Rumours: There has reportedly been some chatter at Channel 10 that the publicity tour for Wilkinson's new book, It Wasn't Meant to Be Like This, has turned off viewers. Pictured from left: The Project hosts Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore, Lisa Wilkinson and Peter Helliar

Rumours: There has reportedly been some chatter at Channel 10 that the publicity tour for Wilkinson’s new book, It Wasn’t Meant to Be Like This, has turned off viewers. Pictured from left: The Project hosts Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore, Lisa Wilkinson and Peter Helliar

It comes after the future of Channel 10 as a viable commercial network was questioned following a horror year which saw tentpole shows such as MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette bomb in the ratings.

In addition to a string of crushing defeats in prime time – including the failed launch of Making It Australia – The Project is losing viewers year on year, and Studio 10 and 10 News First are on a worrying downhill trend.

While 10 has a decent audience on its streaming platform 10 Play, it is struggling in the overnight five-city metro ratings, which remain a key metric for advertisers when it comes to judging a show’s success.

There are now fears the network simply can’t go on like this if the numbers don’t improve, with former TV executive Rob McKnight saying: ‘This is a network that is dying in front of our eyes.’ 

However, Channel 10 rejected these concerns, saying some of the figures being bandied about in the trade press were misleading – especially given that TV viewership is down across the board.

It comes after the future of Channel 10 as a viable commercial network was questioned following a horror year which saw tentpole shows such as MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette bomb in the ratings. Pictured: Brooke Blurton on The Bachelorette

It comes after the future of Channel 10 as a viable commercial network was questioned following a horror year which saw tentpole shows such as MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette bomb in the ratings. Pictured: Brooke Blurton on The Bachelorette

Mr McKnight, a former 10 executive, said on the TV Blackbox podcast earlier this month: ‘I know they’re making a play for streaming [but] how low can these ratings go before they can’t make revenue? I find it extraordinary. I just do.’

He added that 10’s American owners don’t seem to care about the dwindling ratings.

‘This is a network that is dying in front of our eyes. I always supported the idea that there could be three free-to-air commercial networks. What this is showing me is that that is not the case anymore,’ Mr McKnight said.

‘They’re all struggling but 10 seriously is the wounded animal limping and the fact is they keep running the same s**t and recommissioning the same s**t and it’s not flying with the public.’

There are now fears the ViacomCBS-owned network simply can't go on like this if the numbers don't improve, with former TV executive Rob McKnight (pictured) saying earlier this month: 'This is a network that is dying in front of our eyes'

There are now fears the ViacomCBS-owned network simply can’t go on like this if the numbers don’t improve, with former TV executive Rob McKnight (pictured) saying earlier this month: ‘This is a network that is dying in front of our eyes’ 

Perhaps the most alarming example of the ratings decline is The Project, which has lost almost a third of its audience since 2011.

The program, hosted by Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Lisa Wilkinson, has seen its metro ratings plummet to an all-time low of just 367,000 this year.

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

The national audience, which includes regional viewers, has also seen a similar percentage drop from 725,000 in 2011 to 490,000 in 2021.

These figures have made The Project commercial TV’s worst-performing nightly premium program.

The biggest losses have been on the east coast, which is considered the most important market from an advertising perspective.

Perhaps the most alarming example of the ratings decline is The Project, which has 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

Perhaps the most alarming example of the ratings decline is The Project, which has 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

In Sydney, it’s fallen to just 96,000 viewers per night from a high of 130,000 in 2011.

The show’s celebrated home of Melbourne has also been tuning out, with ratings down to 133,000 from a 2011 high of 180,000.

Brisbane has seen the worst decline of all, shedding almost half its audience from 120,000 in 2011 to just 68,000 in 2021.

These grim numbers are despite the fact Channel 10 is reportedly paying Wilkinson more than a million dollars as a panelist and host of the Sunday edition.

However, a 10 spokesperson said comparing ratings 10 years apart is ‘unfair’.

They pointed out that total TV viewing in the time slot is down a similar amount from 2011, with Seven down 26 per cent.

These grim numbers are despite the fact Channel 10 is reportedly paying Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) more than a million dollars as a panelist and host of the Sunday edition. However, a 10 spokesperson said comparing ratings 10 years apart is 'unfair'

These grim numbers are despite the fact Channel 10 is reportedly paying Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) more than a million dollars as a panelist and host of the Sunday edition. However, a 10 spokesperson said comparing ratings 10 years apart is ‘unfair’

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