Georgie Gardner has been announced as Lisa Wilkinson’s replacement on the Today show, describing the gig as “an enormous privilege.”
According to news.com.au, Gardner left the show three years ago to spend more time with her young family and told viewers this morning that she consulted with them heavily before accepting the gig. Her 10-year-old son Gus told her, “take the role, you’ll be so tired you won’t have to cook dinner and we can get take away”.
Gardner previously appeared on Today as the newsreader from 2007 to 2014 and was the Nine Network’s first choice to fill Lisa Wilkinson’s position after the former co-host’s sensational defection to Network Ten last month after a messy contract dispute.
“It’s a most extraordinary opportunity,” Gardner said on air this morning. “Of course, you know, big shoes to fill. I know acutely how much love and respect there has been for Lisa. She will always be part of the Today show landscape as will the women who went before her.”
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) November 22, 2017
In an interview with Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa this morning, Gardner said she gave Wilkinson a heads up that she’d accepted the job. “I sent her a message just before it was announced on air to tell her how excited I am and that she and I now have this unique experience that we can share together,” Gardner told the radio duo.
As her return was announced on Today, Gardner paid tribute to Deborah Knight who has been filling in as co-host since Wilkinson left, describing her as “absolute class act”.
She also raved about Today newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys, saying, “I have sat on the sidelines and watched you for last three and a half years and have been blown away by how you have grown and blossomed into this polished beautiful presenter”.
“I never thought we’d get this chance. Here we are girlfriend. We get to work together. Huge bonus.”
Gardner will officially start her new role in January next year.