LISA Wilkinson has posted a cryptic message on social media after being spotted in Los Angeles, just days after US media giant CBS was given the official green light to proceed with its takeover of her new employers, Network Ten.
The former Nine host, who is preparing to join The Project in early 2018 on a deal rumoured to be worth more than $2 million, is in Los Angeles to MC a star-studded event launching the Fred Hollows Foundation in America, news.com.au can reveal.
Aussie actor Joel Edgerton will host the fundraising gala in LA tomorrow night, co-chaired by Hollywood heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Chris Pine, Kate Beckinsale and Rob Pattinson.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers will perform, with Wilkinson as MC — her first work commitment since sensationally leaving the Today show last month amid reports she was demanding pay parity with Karl Stefanovic.
The Project’s host has been in LA all week, posting cryptic messages.
“Sometimes life takes you places you weren’t expecting … but you’re so glad it did. Like here. #LosAngeles. Watch this space …” her Instagram post read, coupled with a picturesque sunset shining through iconic LA palm trees.
It can now be revealed that Wilkinson is there in her capacity as The Fred Hollows Foundation newest global ambassador.
“I’m incredibly honoured to be working with The Fred Hollows Foundation and helping with their very important work in Africa tackling an eye disease that particularly afflicts women and girls,” Wilkinson said.
“It’s a cause I’m passionate about and I’m really excited to be hosting Wednesday’s event in Hollywood (with) Joel Edgerton.
“I’m also thrilled to be on board with The Foundation as a global ambassador.”
While Twitter was awash with speculation painting Wilkinson as “Australia’s next Oprah” following her mystery-shroud Californian trip, Wilkinson’s management would not comment on any other potential projects in the States, or future prospects there.
The mother-of-three is going from strength to strength following her shock departure from Nine, with the upcoming Fred Hollows event a high profile introduction to the local entertainment industry. That is despite Nine boss Hugh Marks telling News Corp that losing the popular breakfast TV star was the right decision for the network.
“I don’t regret it at all. It was exactly the right decision for us to make,” Mr Marks said following the company’s annual general meeting in Sydney yesterday.
Wilkinson will be standing alongside Edgerton, who is a long-time Ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation, which works in more than 25 countries around the world to end avoidable blindness.
“Before I started working with The Fred Hollows Foundation I had no idea that four out of five people who are blind don’t have to be, and that there are a staggering 36 million people in the world who are blind,” Edgerton said.
“Over the past four years I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand what this great organisation does.
“I have travelled to see the work both in Australia and in Nepal and what I saw during those trips was truly amazing.
“Watching someone who has been blind for years have a simple 10 minute surgery and then be able to see again is inspiring and so I hope that here in the US, community leaders, politicians and philanthropists will get behind our work, in the same way that Australians have.”
On Tuesday, Wilkinson, 57, was seen intently scrolling through her iPhone as she waited outside her Los Angeles hotel. Earlier this week, the TV presenter was all smiles while wheeling her baggage through LAX.
It is expected she will return to Sydney at the end of the week after hosting Wednesday night’s event.