Breakfast TV shows Sunrise and The Today Show might have you giggling or cringing, depending on which you’re watching, but it’s ABC News Breakfast proving the dark horse of the genre.
Virginia Triolo and Michael Rowland has emerged as the quiet achievers of brekky TV, having almost doubled its viewers in the past two years, per news.com.au, and while it’s not the winner in terms of audience numbers, it’s certainly growing the fastest.
News Breakfast averages around 142,000 viewer figures per day, less than half of the 300,000 to 350,000 that Sunrise and Today pull, but 48 per cent growth over two years shouldn’t knock them out of the big leagues.
In fact, between Sunrise’s celebrity shemozzle and Karl Stefanovic’s not-for-everyone humour, the dad jokes and nerdy banter of Trioli and Rowland might just be what audiences are looking for right now. Even the UK is struggling, slotting a segment with eight-year-olds pole dancing into their program.
According to news.com.au, News Breakfast executive producer Erin Vincent said some of the show’s viewer traffic has been snagged from the big guns on Seven and Nine as people go in search of less ridiculous, more straight-playing news in the mornings.
“Our numbers are up 17 per cent on this time last year, and 48 per cent since the end of 2013,” Vincent said, with these average weekly five-city ratings drawn by merging viewer digits from both ABC News Breakfast’s simulcast on its main channel and ABC News 24.
The average metro average audience for News Breakfast has sprouted upwards from 96,000 at the end of 2013 to 142,000 at the end of 2015.
But it was 2013 that saw a lot of change in how the show presented itself, and expanded areas it covered, Vincent added.
“We decided to not be afraid to talk about anything that was interesting. For far too long we were really just focused on getting the news right,” he told news.
“In 2013 we started asking ‘what are people talking about? What do they want to know about? What are they interested in and how can we do it in an intelligent way?’.
“Michael and Virginia come at things from very different angles but they are very good at presenting very different sides of cases.
“It wasn’t so much a matter of taking inspiration from the success of Sunrise and Today, more we just asked the question about what is interesting and ‘why haven’t we covered this in the past?’
“I must admit when we first started I kept waiting for the tap on the shoulder saying ‘what the hell have you done to our program?’ and it never came.”
Vincent added that increasingly, big names are coming to News Breakfast, from actors and musos to politicians, with a main reason being the way the hosts involve them.
“Increasingly they are coming to us — this year we’ve had Quentin Tarantino, Tom Jones, Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein. And even if the same actor, musician or politician does all three programs I think you will see the treatment is very different,” Vincent said.
“The observation that has constantly come back to me is that we are now a refreshing alternative in the mornings.”