Is the ABC’s popular morning TV news program News Breakfast about to lose both its star co-anchors in the space of a few days, putting the highly regarded show’s future in grave doubt?
The Bug understands co-anchor Michael Rowland was already on his final warning for deliberately using brand names during the three-hour program and will be shown the door if he is found to have transgressed corporation policy again today.
Not long into this morning’s program Rowland (main picture at top) in a bit of harmless banter with weatherman Nate Byrne might possibly have given viewers the impression that he supported one particular brand of motorised lawnmower over many other reputable and reasonably priced brands available at various retail outlets without naming Bunnings in particular.
The Bug understands senior management late this morning will listen to Rowland’s defence and determine his fate.
The show is already about to lose its other famous co-anchor, the much-loved, Walkley-award winning, pronunciation queen Virginia Trioli whose final show is tomorrow before she leaves to replace John Faine on ABC Melbourne morning radio.
Although the co-anchors have tried really hard to downplay Ms Trioli’s imminent departure and even regular viewers might not even know it’s happening, Rowland on Monday’s program let slip that boxes of “kleenex” might be needed for Ms Trioli’s tearful farewell at week’s end.
Professional ABC broadcasters would always use the word “tissues” and a contrite Rowland straight after that show ended at 9am was given a dressing down and what we now know was his second warning by station management.
Just recently, at the end of a segment on spring cleaning coming earlier this year because of global warming, Rowland, a notorious quipper and punmeister was heard to say: “I could go a good hoovering right now!”.
Caught in a Catch-22 type situation, Rowland convinced ABC management then that all he was referring to was his love of a good hour or two vacumn-cleaning his Melbourne home at weekends but all that achieved nevertheless was his first warning on the strict ABC bans on brand promotion.
We’ll all know soon enough if Rowland is to pay a heavy price for the ABC’s strict three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule that bans brand-name dropping.