Entertainment

Lisa Wilkinson leaves viewers in shock as she QUITS The Project

Lisa Wilkinson has announced that she is ‘stepping back’ from hosting The Project. 

The embattled TV presenter, 62, made the shock admission during Sunday’s episode of the show. 

‘I have decided it’s time to reprioritise a few things in my life. And after almost 15 years of the early alarm of breakfast TV, and now another five years here at The Project desk, I’m looking at how I want the coming years to play out both professionally and personally’ she said. 

Lisa Wilkinson (pictured) has announced that she is ‘stepping back’ from hosting The Project

‘So, from tonight, I am stepping back from hosting the show.’  

The television host continued: ‘Sitting at this desk and working with this incredible team. Both in front of and behind the camera – has been an absolute privilege. 

‘These people are genuinely are some of the most talented and decent humans I know’ she said. 

The embattled TV presenter made the shock admission during Sunday's episode of the show

The embattled TV presenter made the shock admission during Sunday’s episode of the show

‘And you, our passionate, engaged audience, have been so kind in making me feel so welcome in your homes. I’ve had a ball, but for me, right now, it’s time for a change.’ 

Lisa went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel Ten and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’. 

‘But I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love’ Wilkinson admitted. 

'I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love' Wilkinson said

‘I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love’ Wilkinson said

‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above criticism, far from it.  I’m human, and I don’t always get it right, none of us do, but by God I’ve tried. 

‘I’ve given this job everything I have, and I hope you, at home, know that. I hope I’ve brought you stories that matter and introduced you to people whose lives and experiences might otherwise never be told, and helped bring into focus issues that deserve our collective attention. 

‘So to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and reached out, particularly in recent months, thank you. You’ll never know how much it has meant to me.’

Lisa went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel Ten and was 'looking at some exciting work ideas ahead'

Lisa went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel Ten and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’

Lisa concluded: ‘I especially want to thank Peter Meakin here at The Project, the wise old owl of news and current affairs in this country, who has been such an unwavering and generous supporter and mentor of mine right across my time in TV, just as he has been for so many others. 

‘And finally to Leigh Sales, Tracy Grimshaw, and Carrie Bickmore, if you guys are for up for a drink, I’ll see you at the bar. The margaritas are on me.’

Her co-star Hamish Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision.   

Her co-star Hamish Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision

Her co-star Hamish Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision

‘I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time’ he said. 

‘There’s been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is. And you’ve turned up on camera even on days where, you know, it’s been tough. 

‘So I understand how we have ended up here. I know everyone here is a bit shocked by this. And there he’s many colleagues that will want to send you off with their love. 

The exit comes after a controversial year for the television presenter, during which she was taken off air following her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. Pictured at the Logies

The exit comes after a controversial year for the television presenter, during which she was taken off air following her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. Pictured at the Logies 

‘They’re probably learning about this right now along with all of you at home and so I want to say from all of us here The Project and at Ten, thank you very much because you have put all that you have into this. 

‘You work like a bloody horse. It’s unbelievable.’

Macdonald concluded with the promise that Wilkinson may return to the show in time.   

Lisa made an unexpected return to the live panel in July, and was back to anchoring the Channel 10 show

 Lisa made an unexpected return to the live panel in July, and was back to anchoring the Channel 10 show

‘Have a great long break, as long as you need. We’ll see you back here when you’re ready’ he said. 

The exit comes after a controversial year for the television presenter, during which she was taken off air following her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed.

Lisa made an unexpected return to the live panel in July, and was back to anchoring the Channel 10 show.

Wilkinson's advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson’s advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks. 

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs 

Her return was a ‘last-minute’ decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August.

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs

Lisa broke her social media silence to reveal she was in Los Angeles on July 18, sharing this photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs

The former Today host was pulled off the air in June after she spoke of an upcoming rape trial while accepting an award at the Logies.

The court case in question, originally scheduled for June 27, was delayed until October as a result.

An ACT Supreme Court judge ruled Wilkinson’s speech had ‘obliterated’ the line between allegation and a finding of guilt. 

Her brief return in July was a 'last-minute' decision, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn't be back on air until August. (Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder in a pre-recorded segment that aired in July)

Her brief return in July was a ‘last-minute’ decision, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August. (Pictured: Wilkinson interviewing musician Ryan Tedder in a pre-recorded segment that aired in July)

Wilkinson is expected to be called as a witness at the trial as she had interviewed the accuser on The Project before charges were laid.

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project.

Lisa joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show after a reported salary dispute and simmering tensions with co-host Karl Stefanovic

In the aftermath of her disastrous speech, which saw a rape trial delayed by several months, Wilkinson was taken off the air

In the aftermath of her disastrous speech, which saw a rape trial delayed by several months, Wilkinson was taken off the air 

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on the current affairs panel show.

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. 

In October, Lisa’s co-star Carrie Bickmore announced her departure from The Project after 12 years on air. 

Lisa joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show after a reported salary dispute and simmering tensions with co-host Karl Stefanovic (right)

Lisa joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show after a reported salary dispute and simmering tensions with co-host Karl Stefanovic (right) 

Carrie will leave will leave Channel 10 altogether after she finishes up this month, making her next career move unclear.

Last year, OzTAM ratings revealed Channel 10’s flagship current affairs program had lost almost a third of its audience since 2011.

The show saw its metro ratings plummet to an all-time low of just 367,000 last year.

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

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. In October, Lisa's co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from The Project after 12 years on air

It comes on the back of a difficult year for The Project. In October, Lisa’s co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from The Project after 12 years on air

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