Seven personality and Commonwealth Games host Johanna Griggs has hit back at claims that the network had a “minute by minute” rundown of Sunday’s disastrous broadcast of the closing ceremony.
As reported on B&T yesterday, the closing ceremony descended into a farce when the TV broadcast failed to show the athlete’s entering the stadium and, instead, offered-up tedious speeches by politicians and former reality TV stars singing cover versions of songs.
Immediately following the broadcast, Griggs told viewers that Seven had no idea what footage would be delivered to the network by Games’ organisers and she was unaware that the athlete’s entering the stadium would not be shown.
Yesterday, however, the claim was disputed by ABC journalist, Tracey Holmes, who wrote on the public broadcaster’s website: “It is standard practice for a minute-by-minute rundown to be made available to those who will be covering the ceremonies – sometimes 48 hours in advance – and this practice was followed by Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation.
Holmes adding: “Prior to the Gold Coast closing ceremony all rights holders, including Channel Seven, were given a minute-by-minute briefing on Saturday morning detailing how the closing ceremony would unfold — complete with a 34-page media guide. The guide makes no mention of athletes marching in as part of the ceremony. Organisers confirmed Channel Seven had a number of representatives at that briefing.”
But in a statement sent to media yesterday afternoon, Griggs hit back at the allegations claiming she wanted to “clarify and correct” Holmes’ version of events.
In her statement, Griggs said she was one of three people representing Seven in the briefing, 24 hours before the opening ceremony.
“I was one of three people representing Channel 7 in that briefing. I still have the guide (something that is given out to all rights holders in TV and radio). The briefings are to give you an overview of the creative vision of the producers, and find out where they think things need to be explained in commentary,” Griggs wrote.
“At no point in the guide does it mention that there wouldn’t be one single shot shown of athletes watching the performances. We assumed, like every other Closing Ceremony ever shown, that the host’s vision would feature athletes non-stop, celebrating, letting their hair down… like we all expect at a Closing Ceremony.
“If we’d left that briefing room with any indication given to us that no athletes would feature, then of course we would have made other arrangements to capture those moments. But instead we thought we were going to broadcast an innovative and exciting show.
“There was a representative from ABC radio in that room too, although it wasn’t Tracey. We knew at that meeting that the organisers were going to try something different, by not having the athletes enter the stadium in the main show which started at 8.30pm, and that they would already be there. We mentioned this at the top of our program just before the countdown to the main show.”
The conditions applied to Channel Seven for the Games, Griggs said, were “very different to anything we’ve experienced before”.