‘In shock’: Today reacts to Lisa Wilkinson

TODAY has addressed Lisa Wilkinson's sudden departure from the show, with Karl Stefanovic and Deb Knight admitting on air this morning the news had come as "a bit of a shock".

Wilkinson sensationally announced her departure from the Nine breakfast program last night, revealing that she was defecting to Ten to join The Project.

It's widely believed contract negotiations between the network and the Today star had stalled after Nine refused to double her salary to give her equal pay to Stefanovic.

Weekend Today host Deb Knight was called in as a last-minute replacement, after it was revealed Wilkinson would not be returning.

Discussing his co-host's shock departure during the show this morning, Stefanovic was business as usual.

"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," he began.

"As we always do, we will get on with the news of the day."

Things got a little more awkward when the hosts turned to the "news of the day" during their regular segment covering the front pages of all the top newspapers - all of which featured Wilkinson.

Reading them out, Stefanovic admitted: "It came as a bit of a shock to us."

The resignation came on Monday night after Nine admitted it had been "disappointed" not to reach a deal with Wilkinson but was "unable to meet the expectations" of the morning television host and her manager.

The popular host - who had been in the job for a decade - broke the news of her departure in a statement on Twitter, telling viewers she had already had her last day on the breakfast show's desk.

"I have some news, I'm sad to say that today was my last day on the Today show," she wrote.

In a statement confirming Wilkinson's departure, Nine thanked Wilkinson for her work.

"Nine today confirmed we have been unable to meet the expectations of Lisa Wilkinson and her manager on a contract renewal for a further period," the statement read.

"We express our gratitude for Lisa for her 10 years with the Today Show and are disappointed we find ourselves in this position.

"Nine will be going in another direction and will be considering our options in coming weeks and months."

In a statement released less than an hour later, Ten confirmed Wilkinson would be joining the network in a "senior hosting and editorial role effective January 2018".

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