This morning, as the country ‘woke up with Today‘, viewers were treated to an unfamiliar sight: co-host Karl Stefanovic sitting beside Deborah Knight, instead of the usual Lisa Wilkinson.
Today marks the first day of the new-look show, after Wilkinson made the shock announcement on Monday night that she would no longer be appearing on the breakfast show and would instead be co-hosting The Project on rival network Channel 10.
“It’s a very big day for us on the show, and a very big day for Lisa Wilkinson — and we’ll have plenty more to say about that later in the program,” Stefanovic told viewers as he opened the show this morning about 5.30am.
They quickly moved right past it: “As we always do, we will get on with the news of the day.”
LISTEN: Lisa Wilkinson talks to Mia Freedman about marriage, Karl and her latest project on No Filter.
Things were a little uncomfortable as he and Knight proceeded to read the “news of the day” – or the front pages of leading newspapers – to find Wilkinson’s shock departure splashed everywhere.
“It came as a bit of a shock to us,” Stefanovic admitted.
Two hours into the show, about 7.30am, Stefanovic commenced the show’s farewell to Wilkinson alongside a compilation of some of her best moments.
“For 10 years Lisa has dragged herself out of bed at 3.30 in the morning, fed the dogs and cats, put a load of washing on and came into work to inform you of what was happening in the world,” Stefanovic began.
“For 10 years she handled the brutal hours with a grace, beauty, intelligence and wicked sense of humour. For whatever reason, she won’t be doing that now.”