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Karl Stefanovic issues classy response to Lisa Wilkinson’s tell-all memoir

Karl Stefanovic has finally broken his silence on former Today show co-host Lisa Wilkinson and her upcoming autobiography.

Lisa makes several explosive claims about Karl in the tell-all memoir, including that he ‘gave her the cold shoulder’ when she left the show and that there was a salary disparity between them.

When contacted for comment by the Sydney Morning Herald over Lisa’s claims, Karl, 47, took the high road.  

‘I’m very happy’: Karl Stefanovic (left) has issued a classy response about Lisa Wilkinson’s (right) tell-all memoir, which contains several explosive claims about their time at the Today show together

‘Brother, I’ve got too many positive and wonderful things going on in my life to talk about that stuff,’ he said.

‘I’m very happy. In work and life,’ he added.’ 

On Wednesday, entertainment journalist Peter Ford claimed on 6PR Breakfast it was Stefanovic who initially ‘lobbied for’ Wilkinson, 61, to get her job on the Today show in 2006, while knowing ‘full well that she’d be earning more money than him’.

Wilkinson’s new autobiography It Wasn’t Meant To Be Like This lifts the lid on the pair’s apparently strained relationship, even claiming Stefanovic gave her the cold shoulder in the week prior to her exit from the show.

On Wednesday, entertainment journalist Peter Ford claimed it was Karl (left) who initially 'lobbied for' Lisa (right) to get her job on the Today show in 2006, while knowing 'full well that she'd be earning more money than him'

On Wednesday, entertainment journalist Peter Ford claimed it was Karl (left) who initially ‘lobbied for’ Lisa (right) to get her job on the Today show in 2006, while knowing ‘full well that she’d be earning more money than him’

‘It was actually Karl that got Lisa the job,’ Ford told host Gareth Parker.

‘They met socially by way of Larry Emdur, and at the time they were looking for a new co-host and Karl went and lobbied Eddie McGuire – who was running the joint – and I suspect Lisa was probably shortlisted anyway, because she’s perfectly qualified for the gig.

‘But certainly Karl went and lobbied for her to get it, knowing full well that she’d be sitting alongside him and she’d be earning more money than him.’

'Karl went and lobbied for her to get it, knowing full well that she'd be sitting alongside him and she'd be earning more money than him,' Ford said

‘Karl went and lobbied for her to get it, knowing full well that she’d be sitting alongside him and she’d be earning more money than him,’ Ford said

He added that he doesn’t believe Karl will ‘say anything’ about the rumoured feud, adding that it’s probably ‘the wisest move’ to keep quiet.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted a representative for Lisa Wilkinson for comment. Channel Nine declined to comment when approached.    

Wilkinson’s explosive new book includes a chapter dedicated to her sacking from Channel Nine and falling out with Stefanovic over a pay dispute.

She alleges Stefanovic proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts – not unlike how the cast of American sitcom Friends famously worked together to broker better deals with NBC.

But she claims he ended up ditching this idea and instead played rival networks Nine and Seven off against each other in order to secure a better deal for himself.

‘Weeks later… the media became awash with stories that Stefanovic was restless at Today and looking for greener pastures – and more civilised working hours – at Channel Seven,’ she wrote.

Wilkinson's new book includes a chapter dedicated to her sacking from Channel Nine and falling out with Stefanovic over a pay dispute. She alleges Stefanovic proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts - but she claims ditched this idea and instead played Nine and Seven off against each other to secure a better deal for himself

Wilkinson’s new book includes a chapter dedicated to her sacking from Channel Nine and falling out with Stefanovic over a pay dispute. She alleges Stefanovic proposed in August 2015 they join forces to renegotiate their Nine contracts – but she claims ditched this idea and instead played Nine and Seven off against each other to secure a better deal for himself

Stefanovic was soon at the centre of a bidding war between Nine and Seven that resulted in him re-signing a five-year deal with Nine worth at least $2million per year.

Wilkinson’s deal was worth significantly less, about $780,000 a year, and was only for two years.

‘There was no doubt about it: Karl certainly knew the art of the deal,’ she wrote, adding that the resulting pay disparity between them ‘was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’.

However, this allegedly doesn’t tell the full story, with News.com.au reporting this week Wilkinson had in fact earned more than Stefanovic for years when they first joined forces on Today, and it was only at the end of their partnership that the roles reversed.

'There was no doubt about it: Karl certainly knew the art of the deal,' Lisa wrote in the memoir, adding that the resulting pay disparity between them 'was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it'

‘There was no doubt about it: Karl certainly knew the art of the deal,’ Lisa wrote in the memoir, adding that the resulting pay disparity between them ‘was so off the charts that no-one would have believed it’

On Tuesday, an article written by respected political journalist Samantha Maiden reported that when Karl first signed up to the breakfast show in 2006, he was on half of Lisa’s pay packet, which was a reported $700,000.

‘When they were first on the show, she was paid a lot more than he was,’ an alleged Nine insider told the publication.

‘Then, he was able to wedge a fee increase because Seven made him a big offer. If Nine wanted to keep him, they had to pay him, which is what happened.

‘If you look at what he’s paid now, it’s probably not too dissimilar to what she was offered. So, you know, you can take things in a point of time, but I don’t think there would have been much difference between the two now.’ 

This damning article – which challenges Wilkinson’s most significant claim about her exit from the Today show – reportedly sent the book’s publisher into a major spin.

Harper Collins Australia demanded a preview copy of the memoir be returned by the news website following publication of the story, well-placed sources told Daily Mail Australia

Harper Collins Australia demanded a preview copy of the memoir be returned by the news website following publication of the story, well-placed sources told Daily Mail Australia 

Harper Collins Australia have demanded a preview copy of the memoir be returned by the news website following publication of the story, sources told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘They blew up and asked for their copy back,’ said an insider at the website.

News.com.au editor Lisa Muxworthy declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia. A spokesperson for Harper Collins declined to confirm the allegation.

The news.com.au article challenged Wilkinson's most significant claim about her exit from the Today show. (Wilkinson is pictured on Channel 10's The Project)

The news.com.au article challenged Wilkinson’s most significant claim about her exit from the Today show. (Wilkinson is pictured on Channel 10’s The Project)

It comes after Wilkinson lifted the lid on her final days working at the Today show in an excerpt from her new book, published in The Sunday Telegraph.

She claimed Stefanovic had given her the cold shoulder in the weeks prior to her sacking, which was prompted when she asked for a significant pay rise.

She alleged she and husband Pete FitzSimons had invited Stefanovic and his partner, Jasmine Yarbrough, to attend their 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony in October 2017.

Two days before the event, however, Stefanovic supposedly contacted FitzSimons to say they wouldn’t be attending because they’d extended their overseas holiday.

Wilkinson alleged she and husband Pete FitzSimons had invited Stefanovic and his partner, Jasmine Yarbrough, to attend their 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony in October 2017. Two days before the event, however, Stefanovic supposedly contacted FitzSimons to say they wouldn't be attending because they'd extended their overseas holiday

Wilkinson alleged she and husband Pete FitzSimons had invited Stefanovic and his partner, Jasmine Yarbrough, to attend their 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony in October 2017. Two days before the event, however, Stefanovic supposedly contacted FitzSimons to say they wouldn’t be attending because they’d extended their overseas holiday

‘In the ten days since [the ceremony] Karl hadn’t contacted me, his co-host of almost eleven years, at all. No phone message, no text, no apology, not even a simple congrats. Just complete silence,’ Wilkinson alleged.

After returning to work, she claimed Stefanovic did not ask her about her holidays, nor did he apologise for being a ‘no-show at the wedding’. 

‘For the next two hours, I exchanged not a single word with Karl outside of what was scripted – because for the first time, I just didn’t trust myself to “play nice”,’ she said. 

However, her recollection of her last show has been disputed, with resurfaced footage showing Stefanovic had in fact said to her: ‘It’s a big welcome back to Lisa. Nice to see you again. How was your honeymoon?’

Wilkinson went on to claim in her book she was ‘quietly fuming’ because ‘nearly every interview that day was being done by Karl alone’. 

‘For two hours, I sat there feeling completely useless. The Today Show was now The Karl Show. What was the point of me even being there?’ she said.

Upon learning she had been sacked later that day, Wilkinson wondered: ‘Was this why [Karl] didn’t attend the wedding and hadn’t spoken to me since? Was this why he never said a word about the show’s strange rundown that morning?’ 

Upon learning she had been sacked later that day, Wilkinson wondered: 'Was this why [Karl] didn't attend the wedding and hadn’t spoken to me since? Was this why he never said a word about the show’s strange rundown that morning?'

Upon learning she had been sacked later that day, Wilkinson wondered: ‘Was this why [Karl] didn’t attend the wedding and hadn’t spoken to me since? Was this why he never said a word about the show’s strange rundown that morning?’ 


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