Nine outright denies CARRIE BICKMORE is heading to the TODAY SHOW

Nine has outright denied they are negotiating with Carrie Bickmore to host the TODAY show

PHOTO: Instagram

*This post has been updated

Nine’s news boss DARREN WICK has come out swinging against a front page story on Sydney’s DAILY TELEGRAPH claiming CARRIE BICKMORE has been approached to host the TODAY show.

The story claims the star of The Project has been offered $1.5 million annually to co-host the show with former TODAY show host Karl Stefanovic.

But it’s a claim Wick strongly denies, telling TV Blackbox;

“It’s complete and utter fabrication, there has been no approach”

There’s no doubt Bickmore is great talent who is greatly respected throughout the industry, as Wick acknowledges;

“She is an amazing broadcaster, but that’s not where we’re going”

Earlier this year Nine was threatening to sue The Sunday Telegraph over claims the network had conducted secret focus groups to determine why the new hosting line-up of Georgie Gardner, Deborah Knight and Tom Steinfort were failing to resonate with viewers and that Gardner was seen by viewers to be an 'Ice Maiden'.

The paper ultimately admitted the story was untrue and issued an apology;

“The Daily Telegraph withdraws the claims, which we accept were wrong.

“The Telegraph has a commitment to accurate journalism and in this case we have let our readers and Ms Gardner down.”

TV Blackbox understands the author of that original piece, Kris Crane, no longer works for the paper and Wick has drawn comparisons between that story and these new claims;

“It’s right up there with the focus group story from earlier in the year.”

The writer of today’s story, Amy Harris, is currently facing defamation action from singer Daniel Johns over claims he frequented notorious bondage club The Kastle.

News Corp owned publications, particularly The Daily Telegraph appear to be targeting Nine programs and presenters for negative coverage since the network completed a merger with Fairfax. Nine now ranks as one of the most clicked digital publishers in the country, and a key rival for News Corp.

This morning Executive Producer of TODAY, Steve Burling also went on the offensive, tweeting;

The answer is NO Amy Harris! You were sued for defamation last week and now completely fabricating a story this week. What agenda sees you create such a fiction about Today?! I’m not sure which talent agent fed you this tidbit - but you’ve been used and played for a fool!

*Update: Nine has since released a statement;

Statement from Darren Wick, Nine Director of News and Current Affairs:

“The story published by News Corporation in its Sunday newspapers and online stating as fact that Nine has approached Carrie Bickmore to join the Network is a lie.

Nine has not approached, and does not intend to approach, Carrie Bickmore or her representatives about joining Nine as a host of the Today Show, nor in any other role.

Carrie is an outstanding broadcaster and an inspirational person. She’s terrific. But she does not factor in our plans for the future.

News Corp's story is not a beat up - it is completely made up.

The reporter, Amy Harris, who wrote this lie was told yesterday by a Nine spokesperson that her allegation was incorrect. Yet, News Corporation has chosen to publish it regardless without corroborating sources or facts to support this fantasy. In fact, the story does not contain any sources on the record. And the anonymous sources it quotes will not stand up to scrutiny under any possible legal examination.”

Channel 10 has declined to comment.

We don’t think we’ve heard the last of this one.