Sunrise producer admits there is ‘no contingency plan’ as breakfast show attempts to broadcast from five countries in five days

Seven’s breakfast program Sunrise is set to attempt what it claims is a TV first next week by broadcasting from five different countries in just five days.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 1.13.26 pmThe logistically fraught broadcast comes as the Seven Network makes its end of year ratings push, launching new Erik Thomson drama 800 Words and game show The Chase Australia, whilst also bringing back reality singing show X Factor.

Michael Pell, Sunrise’s executive producer told Mumbrella the team would be working without a safety net: “This is probably the hardest thing you can ever do as a live television show. It’s never been attempted before and there may be a reason for that.”



The show will be broadcast live from Dubai; London, UK; New York, USA; Niagara Fall, Canada; and Cancun, Mexico during the week, and replaces its annual roadtrip around the US.

Pell noted that the idea for the broadcast had begun a year ago with intensive planning over the last four to five months.

“On paper this looks like it can be done, but whether or not it happens will be another story. I think that will make for interesting television – it will be unpredictable,” he said.

“If we miss a flight there is not much contingency planning because international are very different to domestic flights. There is just not the quantity of flights.”

On-air stars David Koch, Sam Armytage, Natalie Barr, Mark Beretta and Edwina Bartholomew will be joined by a production team of 20 crossing the globe to make the broadcasts work.

Pell acknowledged that flying his hosts and staff almost 40,000 kilometres in just five days for the broadcasts would be high risk.

“(Exhaustion) is going to be one of the biggest concerns,” he said. “I mean the amount of flying they will be doing is just something flight crews would never do.

“But I think that will be part of the compelling reason to watch. To see how we are coping along the way.”

The Sunrise boss noted that last year’s attempt to broadcast from five different US cities in five days had taught them a lot about the challenges of this type of broadcasting.

“We have decided to document it behind the scenes and show that along the way,” said Pell.

“We found when we did the five cities in US last year some of the most interesting things happened along the way when trying to make flights etc.

“This time we decided to make that a key part of the show.”

Asked about the timing and whether it had been planned to coincide with Seven’s end of year push Pell said: “We were working on the timings and then the network decided on a big push that week, that’s when we decided it was the perfect week for us to do something different.”

Nine’s breakfast rival the Today show has been closing gap with Sunrise in recent months and has won the timeslot on several occassions recently. Yesterday Sunrise came our on top by a 17,000 viewers according to the Oztam ratings.

However, Sunrise’s EP downplayed the move as an attempt to weaken their breakfast rival.

“Was this formulated as a ratings strategy? Well everything is a ratings strategy,” said Pell.

“Is it an attempt to win back viewers? No. We just want to give them something fun to watch and this was well in the works before anything else.

“Everything we do we try and do to give people a compelling reason to tune in and watch breakfast TV.

“We have been number one for over a decade now and we are winning the key markets and are happy with our performance. That said, you can always do better.”

Nic Christensen


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