A courteous “hello” this morning almost caused a retired fisherman to lose $40,000 on Nine’s Today Show.
The viewer, Steve Donohue from Mollymook on the NSW south coast, groggily answered a call from Today hosts, but instead of answering it with the prize-winning phrase, “I wake up with Today” Donohue said: “Hello, I wake up with Today“.
That fateful “hello” initially made the poor bloke ineligible for the cash booty.
However, B&T has now learnt Donohue was, in fact, a winner.
Releasing a statement on the fiasco, Nine posted to the Today Show Facebook page:
“We have an update for you on our Cash Call this morning. We’ve reviewed the call and listened very carefully to the recording, and have determined that Steve did answer correctly with “I wake up with TODAY”. Congratulations, you’ll be receiving $40,000 from us!”
While streamers and confetti initially fell from the studio roof, the show’s producers quickly informed the hosts via earpieces that Donohue had contravened the game’s rules.
Today host Ben Fordham awkwardly told viewers that it was unable to pay the money due to legal reasons and that other players of the game had missed out on doing something similar.
Viewer backlash was swift with some even calling for a boycott of the stalwart breakfast show.
Many viewers described the decision as “harsh” while another tweeted: “Boycott Today Show 9 and stop wasting your money and time to get on list to be called. Shame on You Today.”
For his part, Donohue was far more conciliatory and accepted the blunder was his fault.
The 65-year-old retired fisherman telling the Daily Mail: “I was extremely disappointed when they refused me but I accepted the result. I blew it – it was my fault.”
Thankfully, an hour later Donohue received a call from Channel Nine saying that on review, the network would happily reward him the $40,000.