Since starting her role on The Sunday Project, Lisa Wilkinson seems to have bagged just about every high-profile celebrity interview on the market, with the likes of Serena Williams, Bradley Cooper, David Beckham and even the highly sought-after Honey Badger, Nick Cummins, sitting down for a heart-to-heart with her.
But as many of these stars have chosen their chat with Lisa as their only Australian interview, producers from rival shows have apparently been arcing up and wanting a share of the pie.
Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes and Seven’s Sunday Night have been among the programs most affected as they run in a similar format and time slot as The Sunday Project.
According to The Daily Telegraph, an unnamed rival TV executive has spoken out about why they’re ‘irritated’ that publicists are choosing to do their interviews with Channel Ten.
“It is laughable that managers and brands are going with The Sunday Project when their ratings are so low. It seems like a waste of time,” the anonymous executive reportedly said.
They then pointed the blame back on Lisa Wilkinson and her access to A-list interviewees.
“They are obviously going with that show because of the Lisa factor, and she has been going very soft on the talent — but what is the point when no one is watching,” the executive producer fumed.
It was speculated that Lisa secured a $2.3 million salary to front The Sunday Project on weekends which scored Channel Ten access to her extensive list of contacts.
However, unfortunately, ratings have failed to reflect the benefits of having such exclusive content as it has been reported that the number of viewers has almost halved since the beginning of the year when Lisa started.
According to the Financial Review viewers over the hour-long program in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth reportedly fell from 543,000 in January to around 281,500 in September meaning a loss of 48 per cent.
Ten executives addressed the initial drop in ratings by saying viewers needed time to become used to Lisa Wilkinson as host.
While other TV commentators suggest that the former Channel Nine presenter was given the hardest time slot on the six-day-a-week show as people are less in a routine of watching on Sunday compared with during the working week when Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly host the show.