DAR­REN DEV­LYN

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

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.

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