Two chicks in charge, but you’d hardly know it! Tennis anyone?
Did you get up at 5:30am yesterday to watch history being made?
I speak, of course, of the debut, on Nine, of the all-woman Today Show panel.
Two chicks in charge, for the first time ever! It was groundbreaking, it was history-making, it was like a gender moon landing … it was actually meh.
First problem, and OK I’m a newspaper reporter, what would I know. But if you were Nine, and you’d gone to all that trouble — sacking Karl on his honeymoon, hiring a woman to replace him, trumpeting the whole first-ever all-woman panel thing — wouldn’t you actually open with the all-woman panel?
Or would you do as Nine did, and open with a shot of a panel of five people, two of them men, all crammed together, all dressed the same — soothing shades of blue and white — thereby denying the two women, Georgie Gardner, and her new co-host, Deb Knight — their big moment? Why? Nine only knows. Georgie spoke first, saying hello, and look at me, not having to sit here, barely tolerating Karl anymore.
No, she didn’t say that. She said hello, and welcome to the tennis.
Because Nine this year, it doesn’t have cricket. It has the Australian Open tennis, and it’s the tennis, not the history-making all-women breakfast show, that really has Nine’s interest.
Hopefully also yours, because forget what you’ve read about Nine hanging everything on the new lineup on Today, everything is actually riding on the tennis.
Tennis is live sport, which is all anyone watches anymore, other than Nonentities in the Jungle, which is some sort of personal shaming show they have on Ten.
So, anyway, Georgie said hello, and welcome to the tennis, and welcome also Deb, who is making her debut today on this panel.
Then came some jokes about how the two women were now “partners in crime” and how everyone felt like this was the first day of school, which was ridiculous.
Georgie and Deb aren’t newbies. They’re old, safe hands, hugely experienced, and wellknown to audiences.
Radical? Their appointment was an extremely safe move.
Anyway, time for the news. The first story was about the weather. It’s going to be hot in Melbourne this week, but I mean, it’s January, so why was everyone so excited?
Because they’ve got the tennis, which must now be played in the heat and that, in breakfast TV land, is what passes for a yarn.
Next came a story about Margot Robbie’s “amazing transformation” (she puts on a wig and make-up); another about freeway signs being taken down in Melbourne because they’re falling on cars; and then it was back to a story about, yes, the tennis. A pintsized tennis prodigy, I believe.
I left the couch at this point to go to a morning exercise class, which may sound like a dereliction of journalistic duty, but I felt absolutely confident the show would still be going when I got back.
And I was right. And not only that, they were still talking about the tennis. And the weather.
No, wait, here’s something different: it’s the Prime Minister, popping by to say hello.
Deb used the opportunity to slyly ask him about the Liberal Party’s problem with women.
“We are starting with two female hosts here today,’’ she said. ‘‘What are you doing about getting more women into the ranks?” Not much, he said. No, he didn’t. He said something about he wants to eliminate the gender pay gap, because of how awful it is. Like he has to tell Nine that? Lisa Wilkinson, anyone? Then it was back to the news, or rather, to news about the weather; plus pictures from “the Australian Open red carpet” (not to quibble, but the carpet was green).
Then came an interview with Lleyton Hewitt, who once played tennis; and another with Jim Courier (ditto).
Then came some people dressed up as tennis balls, dancing around something they’re calling the People’s Court, and look, we could go on about tennis all day, which they certainly will, Today and tomorrow, and who can blame them?
Live sport — cricket, football, and in Nine’s case, tennis — is the only hope free-to-air has got, and they know it.
Four-and-a-half hours into the new, all-women breakfast show, you knew it, too.
Live sport — cricket, football, and in Nine’s case, tennis — is the only hope free-toair has got