The Project: Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore ‘will be asked to take pay cuts’


Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore are headed for big pay cuts, according to a new report this weekend.

The Project co-hosts will have their whopping seven figure salaries slashed, per the Daily Telegraph’s sources.

According to the publication, the rumoured wage decreases are part of executives’ attempts ‘to give the show a lifeline’.

Rumour: The Project co-hosts will have their whopping seven figure salaries slashed, per the Daily Telegraph 's sources

Tightening their belts: Lisa Wilkinson (left) and Carrie Bickmore (right) are headed for big pay cuts according to a new report

However, a Channel 10 spokesperson denied the report when contacted by Daily Mail Australia, calling the claim ‘nonsense’. 

According to the newspaper, Bickmore is believed to be earning $1.5 million per year, while Wilkinson earns an enormous $1.7 million.

The publication also claims co-host Waleed Aly’s rumoured $900,000 salary is safe. 

The Daily Telegraph’s sources also claimed the talk show ‘was headed for the chopping board’. 

However that claim was also disputed by Channel 10, who told Daily Mail Australia through a spokesperson: ‘The Project has just celebrated its 12th birthday and is here to stay.’ 

Winner are grinners: According to the newspaper, Bickmore is believed to be earning $1.5 million per year, while Wilkinson earns an enormous $1.7 million

Winner are grinners: According to the newspaper, Bickmore is believed to be earning $1.5 million per year, while Wilkinson earns an enormous $1.7 million

The report comes as the flagship current affairs show has lost almost a third of its audience since 2011, OzTAM ratings reveal.

The program, regularly hosted by Aly, Bickmore, Wilkinson and Peter Helliar, 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.

Decline: Channel 10's flagship current affairs show The Project has lost almost a third of its audience since 2011, OzTAM ratings reveal. Pictured: hosts Waleed Aly and Bickmore

Decline: Channel 10’s flagship current affairs show The Project has lost almost a third of its audience since 2011, OzTAM ratings reveal. Pictured: hosts Waleed Aly and Bickmore

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.

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

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

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 Lisa Wilkinson more than a million dollars as a panellist and host of the Sunday edition.

Downward trend: The program has seen its metro ratings plummet to an all-time low of just 367,000 this year - a 30 per cent decline from its five-city audience of 538,000 a decade ago

Downward trend: The program has seen its metro ratings plummet to an all-time low of just 367,000 this year – a 30 per cent decline from its five-city audience of 538,000 a decade ago

The Sunday Project suffered dismal ratings last weekend, drawing a disappointing 305,000 viewers for the 7pm half hour. 

It had an even lower audience of just 212,000 for the 6:30pm half hour.

In comparison, the show had just a fraction of the ratings of Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, which managed to pull in 803,000 viewers at its peak. 

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

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

A Channel 10 spokesperson this week denied rumours The Project could soon be facing the axe.  

‘The Project has just celebrated its 12th birthday and is here to stay,’ they said.

‘At a time when information, context and understanding is more important than ever, The Project will continue to provide Australians with their dose of news delivered differently.’

It comes after a leading TV commentator claimed Channel 10 was losing viewers because of The Project’s left-wing agenda.

Rob McKnight, a former 10 executive who now runs industry website TV Blackbox, said the views expressed on The Project don’t resonate with everyday Aussies.

He told Daily Mail Australia that despite its slick production and top-tier talent, The Project is ‘very woke and that doesn’t connect with mainstream Australia’. 

Political matters: It comes after leading TV commentator claimed Channel 10 was losing viewers because of The Project's left-wing agenda. Pictured (L-R): Tommy Little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald,  Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan

Political matters: It comes after leading TV commentator claimed Channel 10 was losing viewers because of The Project’s left-wing agenda. Pictured (L-R): Tommy Little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald,  Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan

McKnight said in August: ‘My take is that most Australians are centre-right in their politics which is why talkback radio does so well.

‘But The Project skews too far to the left and doesn’t reflect Betty from Bankstown or Irene from Ipswich. It really feels inner Melbourne and not relatable.’

He said the presenters are all ‘great talent’, but at some point the show just ‘stopped connecting’ with the mainstream – ‘and that kills any brand’.

Opinion: Rob McKnight, a former 10 executive who now runs industry website TV Blackbox, told Daily Mail Australia that despite its slick production and top-tier talent, The Project is 'very woke and that doesn't connect with mainstream Australia'. Pictured: Tommy Little, Lisa Wilkinson and Waleed Aly at Channel 10's Upfronts presentation on October 11, 2019

Opinion: Rob McKnight, a former 10 executive who now runs industry website TV Blackbox, told Daily Mail Australia that despite its slick production and top-tier talent, The Project is ‘very woke and that doesn’t connect with mainstream Australia’. Pictured: Tommy Little, Lisa Wilkinson and Waleed Aly at Channel 10’s Upfronts presentation on October 11, 2019

McKnight, who has worked for all three commercial TV networks, went on to say The Project used to punch above its weight by setting the news agenda every week.

But these days ‘nobody pays attention anymore’.

He added: ‘For all the free press The Project has received over the years it should be one of the biggest shows on TV – but it’s not.’

The Project, which is produced by Rove McManus’ production company Roving Enterprises, is considered a sacred cow at 10 even though its ratings are poor.

Its ratings are typically strongest from 6:30pm to 7pm, but the audience tends to drop off unless there is a strong entertainment show at 7:30pm, McKnight said.

This is why it’s particularly worrying for 10 that The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and MasterChef underperformed this year, because their ratings affect The Project.

Alignment: 'But The Project skews too far to the left and doesn't reflect Betty from Bankstown or Irene from Ipswich. It really feels inner Melbourne and not relatable,' said McKnight

Alignment: ‘But The Project skews too far to the left and doesn’t reflect Betty from Bankstown or Irene from Ipswich. It really feels inner Melbourne and not relatable,’ said McKnight

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk