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Shock prediction as Lisa Wilkinson quits The Project: 'There will be more'

After Carrie Bickmore announced she would be leaving The Project last month, Lisa Wilkinson shocked audiences on Sunday night when she too revealed she will be "stepping back" from the show.

The presenter, 62, shared the news at the end of the episode, sharing, "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.

Lisa Wilkinson
Lisa Wilkinson announced on Sunday night that she's leaving The Project after a tumultuous year. Photo: Ten

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

Lisa shared that it has been "an absolutely privilege" to work with the team both behind and in front of the microphone over the last five years, "These people are genuinely are some of the most talented and decent humans I know."

She continued, "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."

The host revealed that she wouldn't be leaving Channel Ten, and will be looking at some other opportunities within the network.

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"But I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love," she admitted, referencing the backlash she received following her infamous Logies acceptance speech for Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report for her 2021 interview with Brittany Higgins.

"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 have otherwise never been 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."

She finished by saying, "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 up for a drink, I'll see you at the bar. The margaritas are on me."

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Hamish Macdonald, who was sitting beside her as she made the announcement, praised Lisa for making the tough 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.

Carrie Bickmore and Lisa Wilkinson
Lisa's announcement comes a month after Carrie Bickmore also revealed she would be leaving the show. Photo: Instagram/Lisa Wilkinson

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

"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."

He then added that she is welcome back on the show when she was ready.

TV insider's shock prediction: 'There will be more'

It comes as entertainment reporter Peter Ford hinted Lisa's exit was just the beginning of a series of "shock resignations" to come.

"There will be more ‘shock resignations’ in the next two weeks How coincidental so many people all decide at same time they ‘need a change’," he tweeted on Sunday night.

Peter added, "Only Lisa could manage to announce ‘her decision’ & make herself a victim at the same time. All the hard work she’s put in etc etc for 4 nights a week and 20 grand a week. That poor lady!"

The journalist made the prediction last month that Lisa would leave after Carrie announced her departure, he wrote at the time, "It’s an odd show. I’m tipping Lisa won’t be there next year so it’s quite a seismic shift."

Speaking of Carrie, Peter added, "They’ve lost their biggest asset. Nobody is indispensable but there are some people easier to lose than others."

Lisa joined The Project in 2017, after being axed from Nine's Today Show, which she hosted for ten years alongside Karl Stefanovic.

Fans 'sad' to hear of Lisa's departure

Fans shared their sadness at the news of Lisa's departure, with one user tweeting, "I have always enjoyed watching you over the 20 years I have been in Australia, regardless of on which network. You are a wonderful talent, a sensational speaker and an excellent role model. I truly wish you happiness and fulfilment on your future endeavours."

"Just so sad to hear this," another wrote. "Your professionalism has always stood out. Your chemistry with the Sunday night panel has been great to watch from the couch. Enjoy your next adventure."

"I will miss you on our screen especially on The Sunday Project," a third added. "Loved your synergy with Hamish and the empathy for those around you. Will miss that sense of humour with a touch of naughtiness in your interviews. Good luck and enjoy those margaritas with the other icons."

Many others shared well wishes and thanked her for her time on the show.

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