When Georgie Gardner stepped into the Today Show chair, taking the helm of one of the most sought-after gigs in television, it was never going to take long for conversation to inevitably turn to money.
After all, Lisa Wilkinson’s exit was shrouded in debates about equal pay, the rumour being conflict arose when Channel 9 executives refused to pay her the same as her co-host Karl Stefanovic.
So, what would Channel 9 learn this time? Would they finally give in to the pressure of gender politics and pay Gardner the same as Stefanovic?
According to the Daily Telegraph, not quite.
On Friday, the paper reported Gardner was convinced to take the role – despite her rumoured early objections – with a payrise, lifting her current $500,000 salary to one that nears one million mark.
If this report, and earlier ones regarding Stefanovic’s $2 million yearly wage are to be believed, it leaves a substantial gap between the co-hosts’ salaries.
So where to from here?
There are a couple of ways for us to look at this.
The first, of course, is to see the pay gap for exactly what it is. It would be foolish to consider the pay gap comes down to experience, because Gardner’s had a lot of it. In fact, with the exception of the three years she stepped away from the show, she fronted the Today Show for seven years alongside Stefanovic. She’s been in the industry for a couple of years more than him.
Listen: Should Lisa and Karl have discussed pay as a team?
When Wilkinson left the show, Channel 9 gave their excuses as to why they let her walk. She had too many external endorsement deals, they said. They did not have full access to the network’s biggest star. On surface value, it appears Gardner doesn’t have the kinds of deals Wilkinson had with brands outside Channel. Therefore, surely there’s inherent value in that?
And then there’s the simpler flip side.
Georgie Gardner has stepped into a new job and doubled her salary because of it. It’s an huge opportunity, she said. An honour.
So can we just celebrate Gardner’s promotion as is?
That, it would appear, is for you to decide.