Live TV: Oops! Can we have another take, please?

By David Knox

Nov 02, 2010

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Here's our list of the clumsy moments live TV should shoot again if they had the chance.

There are moments in live television when something seems like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight could have been handled a little better if given half the chance.

But that's one of the reasons viewers love live TV. It runs without a safety net.

Programs like The Footy Show, Australian Idol, Q & A, Hey Hey It's Saturday and the Logie Awards have found themselves on the backfoot after a moment in time attracts wider interest.

Harry Connick Jr's shock at the "Jackson Jive" sketch on Hey Hey It's Saturday divided a nation. While some saw the parody as good-natured fun, others took the view that it was dated humour. The incident sparked international headlines.

This week the Nine Network issued a statement after comments by Ella Hooper on air questioned camera shots during a Red Faces act. The show included close-ups of the backsides of three under-age girls which Hooper branded "paedophilic". Her remarks drew audible gasps in the studio and sent some viewers into debates on Twitter and Facebook.

A Nine spokesperson conceded, "Hey Hey It's Saturday is a live program, with hundreds of directorial decisions made in rapid succession. The camera angle in question was ill-chosen; however, any offence caused was completely unintentional."

It's a tough gig for production teams of live shows these days, especially in the current era of Twitter, Facebook and social networking.

Last week the ABC came under fire for including a Twitter remark during a Q & A forum with former Prime Minister John Howard. While it seemed harmless enough to post a tweet suggesting a shoe be tossed at Howard, the ABC was left red-faced when someone did the very same thing just moments later.

But it was a coincidence. Neither the audience nor the guests can see Twitter remarks in the studio. No doubt that was small comfort to the crew member who has to frantically choose a tweet from thousands that are flying through the internet.

The Footy Show has been forced to apologise for some of Sam Newman's live antics on numerous occasions -- most notably with his mannequin of journalist Caroline Wilson. Clearly that one wasn't a choice made on the hop.

Other live telly highlights include Big Brother's Merlin demanding to "Free the Refugees", Bert Newton's "I like the boy" line to Mohammed Ali at the Logies, Sarah Murdoch's Next Top Model announcement and Dicko's directive to Paulini Curuenavuli to wear "more appropriate clothes or shed some pounds".

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  • Lady_Lancaster Nov 06, 2010

    Totally agree about Hey Hey It's Saturday, I've always found it to be a ridiculous and pointless show and I don't understand why it's back on in prime time either.

  • PiperPrueLover4 Nov 06, 2010

    Hey Hey It's Saturday needs to be cancelled immediately, it's dated and stupid and I still marvel every day that they brought it back to life.

  • Lady_Lancaster Nov 06, 2010

    Sam Newman is inappropriate almost every time he appears on television so that shouldn't be any surprise to anyone. The network know exactly what he is like and how he is going to behave so they obviously keep him around for shock value and titilation. Bert Newton's comment to Ali all those years ago was a genuine mistake but he was savvy enough to talk his way out of it. I seem to remember a certain late American actor making a 'choice' comment live on the Logies as well. Dicko is another idiot, just like Kyle Sandiliands. The networks should get rid of these people who make the rest of our population look bad in the eyes of the world but they won't while these shows are so cheap to make compared to decent quality television which, sadly, is VERY rare in Australia these days.