Sylvia Jeffreys ‘surprised’ by Lisa Wilkinson’s defection

TODAY newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys has broken her silence on the departure of her friend and co-host Lisa Wilkinson revealing she was blindsided by the shock announcement.

Hosting the Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Award in Sydney yesterday, Jeffreys spoke exclusively to Confidential revealing the details of Wilkinson's departure from the Nine brekkie show.

Jeffreys said she was not tipped off about Wilkinson's decision.

Sylvia Jeffreys says she had no idea her co-host at today was leaving. Picture: Toby Zerna
Sylvia Jeffreys says she had no idea her co-host at today was leaving. Picture: Toby Zerna

"I heard about the same time that everyone else did," Jeffreys said.

"It was as big of a shock to me as it was to everyone else.

"I felt surprised."

At 7.56pm on Monday, Wilkinson made a bombshell announcement on Twitter: she was leaving Nine, effective immediately.

Exactly one hour later, she revealed her defection to Ten, where she will co-host The Project. Sources say the network has even bigger plans for its star recruit. "They see her as Australia's Diane Sawyer," says a Ten insider, referring to the high-profile American TV journalist.

Jeffreys said that it was business as usual on the set of Today since Wilkinson's shock departure.

"It has been a really calm week," she said.

"The rest of us have been working for together for a really long time and the show does not change.

"We are focused on delivering the news, sport and entertainment and everything in between and that is how it roles."

Jeffreys said despite the shock departure of Wilkinson she was supportive of her former colleague.

"I am thrilled for her because she is thrilled, so it is all good," Jeffreys said.

Yesterday Wilkinson penned a first person piece about her tumultuous week for The Huffington Post.

"While I appreciate the news was all a little, shall we say, abrupt, viewers have been incredibly warm and generous in their messages of support, and I am humbled by the fact that it has generated an important national debate - but the intense level of scrutiny has been utterly overwhelming," she said.

She mingled with Jasmine Yarbrough, who is dating her brother In law Karl Stefanovic and other guests including Kerrie-Anne Kennelly and Anna Heinrich at yesterday's event in the Botanical Gardens.

"My mother is the woman who taught me about supporting other women," The Today news reader said.

Topics:  defection editors picks lisa wilkinson

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