‘You’ve gone from a 9 to a 10’
LISA Wilkinson has been warmly welcomed to her new home on Ten this evening, making her debut on the panel for The Project's Sunday edition.
Wilkinson said her three-month gap between hosting duties on Today and The Project made her realise how "loved" her new home was.
Making her introductions to the panel, she recounted a story about one viewer who had encouraged her with a sly joke intimating her switch between stations was an upgrade: "Lisa, you've gone from a 9 to a 10!"
Her new on-air colleagues - including Peter Helliar and Hamish McDonald - had a hearty laugh at that one.
Later on, returning from a break, Wilkinson appeared to be caught unawares while adjusting her blouse.
"Just fell down... my microphone. I've done a little thing in front of the audience," she explained, quickly fixing the potential wardrobe malfunction.
"We've got Lisa Wilkinson fishing around in her boozies!" joked panellist Rachel Corbett.
Viewers were quick to tweet their approval for Wilkinson's well-honed hosting chops:
Before the show, Wilkinson posted to her Instagram account about one of the stories she'd be tackling in her debut episode, a heartbreaking story of a woman who passed away from cystic fibrosis before her baby was born:
Tonight on @theprojecttv I’m so proud to help tell the incredible story of Bec & Gareth, and Jess & Jeremy, and how tiny little five day old Rixon arrived in this world. It’s a story of surrogacy, deep friendship, incredible love, unimaginable loss, community support...and a beautiful little baby boy who is going to break your heart in the best possible way. @theprojecttv at 6.30 tonight. Hope you’ll join us!
"You'd better not make us cry like that every week," Hamish McDonald told Wilkinson after the story had aired.
In this weekend's Stellar magazine, the popular TV presenter admitted her high-profile resignation from Nine's Today show last year after a decade in the job wasn't as sudden as it appeared.
"(It was) something I'd been thinking about for a couple of months, and very seriously," Wilkinson, 58, told the publication.
"The timing was just right. Publicly, it may have seemed like it happened very quickly, but it was something I was seriously contemplating. Then everything just fell into place."
While Wilkinson refused to delve too deeply into her reasons for leaving, she admitted salary was a factor.
"There were lots of reasons why it was time to make a move, and that [pay gap] was part of it. I was very happy that it reignited the conversation, because the gender pay gap is real."
Speaking to news.com.au before her debut on The Project, Wilkinson admitted she was nervous she could "screw this up horribly."
"Of course there's nerves! But after having so long off, I just want to get back to doing what I love ... covering the news and helping to tell people's stories," she said.
"First up, I love The Project. 'News, delivered differently' says it all, and I've been a viewer ever since The Project started. So I'm really looking forward to working with a team I genuinely admire, people I can learn from, and getting my teeth into longer form journalism that wasn't really possible on breakfast TV."