The ABC says its corporate chair Ita Buttrose will co-host its News Breakfast program tomorrow because of the unavailability of Virginia Trioli.
An ABC TV spokesperson Ben Arnasin-Pujahmahs said Ms Trioli had locked herself in her dressing room and was refusing to come out.
“Ms Trioli yesterday fled in tears from the ABC studio in Melbourne where she had been pre-recording a tribute to outgoing host of the Insiders Barrie Cassidy,” a spokesperson said.
“As a true professional she did it in one take, but as the studio lights were turned off and the cameras shut down, Virginia suddenly became very agitated.
“She began pleading with producers for her to be allowed to do another take, explaining that she had said in her jokey tribute ‘Back to you Barry’ and not the correct ‘Back to you Barrie’.
“No amount of consoling from those in the control room or on the studio floor could stop her falling into a blubbering heap and lambasting herself for making such a mistake.
“She fled to her dressing room, locked the door, and has since refused to come out.
“That was on Friday afternoon and she’s still in there. We fear she may not emerge for some days as we can hear her repeatedly saying ‘Back to you Barrie’ over and over again.
“So viewers should be aware they will see a different co-host tomorrow with Michael Rowland.
“At the moment all of our usual female stand-by hosts are unavailable so we asked Ita Buttrose if she’d do it.
“We were in a real bind, but luckily we heard back from her straight away and she and Michael have already done some rehearsals (main picture).
“Ita said she was happy to help, and also asked if David Speers had actually signed a contract yet for the Insiders role,” Mr Arnasin-Pujahmahs said.