Lisa Wilkinson saw the job on Channel Nine's Today show as a poison chalice from the beginning.
It was 2007, and the show had a revolving door of co-hosts, with ratings only half of morning television's darling, Channel 7's Sunrise. But Wilkinson had had an "intoxicating" taste of the time slot and Nine was offering her a permanent role.
"The Today show co-hosting role at that point was the most talked-about job on Australian television. And it was a bit of a poison chalice because Karl [Stefanovic] had had so many women, he'd sat next to. Sunrise had double the numbers," Wilkinson told Mamamia's No Filter podcast ahead of the release of her autobiography It Wasn't Meant to Be Like This.
Listen to part two of Mia Freedman's interview with Lisa Wilkinson, where she talks about what actually happened when she left the Today Show and her off-air relationship with Karl Stefanvoic.
Wilkinson had the bug. She took the job, and for 10 years she and Stefanovic sat next to each other at that Channel Nine desk.
"On-air was pretty magical," Wilkinson recalled. "It was an on-air relationship that was so good we never talked about it. Because it's one of those things where you think if you start to question it or examine it, maybe some of the magic would go."
They were an on-screen dream team, a duo so successful that they topped the morning TV ratings within their first 12 months on-air.
"We had our first win within 12 months of us being together, which, you know, Karl and I went out and celebrated with his wife and my husband because we couldn't believe that in the space of just 12 months, we'd managed to do that," Wilkinson said.
"And we both looked at each other that night and said, 'Whatever happens from here, we can I always say that once upon a time we beat Sunrise.' So it was a great night of celebration."