A simple but effective prop has helped the ABC News Breakfast television program travel smoothly since the departure of Virginia Trioli in the second half of last year.
The idea of the show’s producers, the simple wooden stool in a dark corner of the program’s Melbourne Southbank studios is where the show’s “talent” retires to in segment breaks to reflect on silly mistakes they’ve just made on air.
The Bug over recent years has reported on the very rare occasions when an inconsolable Ms Trioli made a gaffe or mispronounced a Paris arrondissment or a Uzbekkistan general’s surname and rushed off set and locked herself in her star’s dressing room.
One of the show’s producers told us: “There is no way the show’s replacement talent, especially over the Christmas fill-in season, would ever make as few mistakes as Virginia did.
“So we sat down with the likes of Virginia’s replacement Lisa Millar and the summer co-hosts Paul Kennedy and Madeline Morris and told them there could be no more dressing- room theatrics.
“It used to cost us a fortune to finally lure Virginia out with her favourite organic blueberry and white choc-chip muffin and double-shot steamed goat’s milk caffe macciatro from her favourite Acland Street deli.
“So we came up with the idea of the ‘silly stool’ where the talent simply sits silently for a short time, thinks about their error, realises it’s not the end of the world, comes to grips with the fact that they are no Virginia Trioli and it will happen again and quickly gets back on air with the professionalism the viewers expect and we know they have.”
A sheepish Paul Kennedy told The Bug: “I spent some quality time on the silly stool last Friday after using the American pronunciation of missile.”
“I won’t bomb out with that mistake again,” he quipped.
And his co-host the bubbly and effervescent Madeline Morris admits she’s spent quite some time on the stool while co-hosting the show over the summer break.
“I keep missing the most obvious of segues into the next segment,” she explained.
“I know it’s a skillset I will develop but I just feel so awful whenever it happens.
“Each time I miss a great segue, Virginia rings me up and let’s me know.
“Michael Rowland does too. They’ve both been really supportive.”