THERE are some who simply are not cut out for live TV. Remove them from a prerecorded format and they seize up, terrified by the prospect of what may go wrong.
The thing all good live performers have in common is they thrive on working without a safety net. They believe their performance is enhanced by the knowledge live TV can go pear-shaped.
The bigger the live event, the greater the scrutiny from audiences and critics, and the greater the pressure to perform.
Weekend Today’s Leila McKinnon has felt that pressure in her latest live role — hosting at the London Olympics. She is pregnant and feels her greatest challenge in London is ensuring she has the amount of rest she needs to stay sharp.
‘‘ It’s a big workload,’’ McKinnon says. ‘‘ I worked all the time in Vancouver (winter Olympics) when I wasn’t sleeping, but we have a bigger team in London, so it may not be quite as intense.
‘‘ I am trying to restrain myself from stalking the studio night and day this time.
‘‘ Every single one of us feels the pressure — the tech team has to get our signal right, audio has to make sure we can hear and all of us involved in presenting the content are cramming to make sure we get it right.
‘‘ Not just the facts, but the tone and pace, too.
‘‘ With 26 sports and more than 14,000 athletes, including more than 400 Australians, we can’t possibly know everything. It doesn’t stop us trying.
‘‘ I love the fact that it (live TV) is terrifying, that feeling of putting your experience and knowledge to the test without a safety net gets the blood pumping.’’
This is not to say that McKinnon’s live work over the years has passed without incident. She recalls the embarrassment of mispronouncing the name of a tennis player — mistakenly believing the player’s name rhymed with a part of the human anatomy.
It was, she says, one of those ‘‘ oh, dear’’ moments. Game for a challenge: Leila McKinnon has a key role at the Olympics.