ABC coverage of New Year’s Eve branded “train wreck”

2014-01-01_03132014 may already have its first contender for biggest blunder of the year if Twitter is anything to go by.

Last night’s broadcast of the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks has been dubbed everything from “train wreck” to “diabolical” on social media, with only a few voices lending their support.

The evening, hosted by Lawrence Mooney and Stephanie Brantz, was part of ABC’s push towards more “event” broadcasts, but many viewers were calling for Nine to be reinstated as broadcasters.
























But there were some bouquets:






  1. @Frankie: As a Sydneysider, I say “scratch away!” because I found them quite mediocre as well.

    I agree with most of the suggestions so far. They should’ve had it in a studio with live crosses to the party every now and then. They should also have had less talk and more (preferably better) music. Perhaps with more comedic hosts who get along.

    I think the broadcast reflected that ABC does thought-out/sophisticated stuff well, but its experience in crowd-pleasing live events/parties is lacking.

  2. In the past Ch 9 has done a Top 10 or Top 20 songs of the past year countdown between the 9pm and midnight fireworks. Sounds like ABC would have been well served showing a Rage-style countdown of their own to fill.

  3. I live in Brisbane and I tuned into the ABC at our midnight, to view Brisbane fireworks, only to get a repeat of Sydney fireworks. That was very disappointing.

  4. I enjoyed it, except the background noise which was too loud. Still scratching my head at IOTA, they seem to be a Sydney thing, maybe they get that more up there. Would have preferred Stonefield do a couple more tunes. Always going to be a tricky gig to do a live OB of pretty filling for 3 hours. From memory 9 used to just show the 9pm fireworks, the countdown and midnight ones. Good on ABC for having a crack.

    I’d like to know how much say the Sydney City Council has over the broadcast. That would affect the final outcome I imagine.

    As for HSV’s effort in Melbourne, well, the few minutes I saw I thought Coxy was very unwell, and they almost missed the countdown by airing what seemed like the longest commercial break ever which ended at 11:59:30.

  5. I didn’t watch the ABC’s coverage but for two years I worked on Ten’s coverage. NYE broadcasts are difficult to put together; nobody really wants to be there, musicians with any profile are hard to secure as they can make a lot more money performing elsewhere on the night, fireworks don’t look great on TV, and the “party” atmosphere of NYE doesn’t lend itself to the intimacy of television – hence the shouting. That said, it sounds like the ABC well and truly bit of more than it could chew.

  6. ABC need to record a shorter segment for overseas viewers and not concern themselves so much with the ‘PG’ aspect as Brandt concerned herself with – between 10 and 11 pm, for goodness sake.

    Sure, there were flaws in the broadcast:
    – No chemistry or understanding between the hosts, Brandt practically being a bucket of cold water over everything Mooney said.
    -Mediocre talent [that girl band and the last hideous act that tried to perform Queen].
    -The Chaser crew, any member: They are no longer funny and are certainly not funny in casual interview mode, i.e. after hours.

    As for the alternative? Do people forget that the last coverage on Nine was rubbish, riddled with technical difficulties and glitches, as well as its poor selection of hosts?

    Also, what on earth were they thinking, or rather that female journalist, when they were discussing Prisoner X, Bushfires and Mandela’s…

    • Agree Twitter and social media leans towards negative over positive. But the broadcast has generated heated opinion in social media, print media and radio. Big events of this nature are often divisive, but there were some lessons to be learned here, principally the length of the broadcast and what was required to sustain it, the location of the host set, some editorial decisions over the topics discussed and talent pairing.

  7. I watched Ch7 for the local Melbourne broadcast and possibly would have been better off watching the ABC. The presenters didn’t have much to offer – it was largely carried by Virginia Gay as the others including Geoff Cox seemed to struggle to contribute. Live crosses were pointless and the pre-fireworks content fairly bland.

    As MartyMonster mentioned, the broadcast quality wasn’t very good either. Even for SD some of the vision quality for the fireworks was quite bad.

  8. Ah, twitter- the small minority who are looking for every molehill they can make into a mountain- it was really bad but no worse than any other coverage in past years

  9. The ABC hosts didn’t jell, Mooney sadly descends to the gutter too quickly (he’s better than that), but the ABC3 kid is good talent and the Micallef packages were great. Bottom line – to all of those violently opposed to the ABC’s coverage, you clearly didn’t see Channel 7 Melbourne’s attempt with Coxy from 11pm … awful!

  10. I would like to see ABC try again but make it a bit more mainstream and have more musical acts inbetween to breakup the night. The night is always hosted from the Lord Mayor’s party but be more aware of where the “studio” is situated so the host aren’t yelling all night. Yes the set was a bit gawdy but it was with the theme of the event.

    I would like to know what our international posters thought of their country’s coverage. CNN’s at Time Square, Dick Clarks Rockin Eve etc.

  11. I didn’t think it was that bad! I mean, granted, they shouldn’t have had it right next to the concert the whole time so they wouldn’t have to compete for volume (and it was inappropriate background noise for some of the serious topics they were talking about). Also, Brantz was fake and lame. That ABC3 guy, Kane, was especially cringeworthy. Mooney was okay, though. I loved how towards the end of the night, he was visibly over it, haha. Keeping it real. I also loved Sammy J and Randy (but again, their song clashed with the background noise of the concert).

    However, all the packaged stuff was excellent. And I love how their cross promotions at least added value, and that they could use the range of their talent to look back at the year from various perspectives (news, sports, music, movies, marketing, etc.) I laughed quite a bit during the entire broadcast but especially at Shaun…

  12. Wow the amount of comments on this article is similar to almost any article about how bad channel Ten is doing these days LOL.

    Thank you David for that link, I must admit I am a regular visitor to this site and I have read that article before, I just totally forgot about it. More factual programming from the ABC is great, I have to say that the Kakadu series was amazing. I hope the ABC keeps programing like that coming and not anything similar to their NYE broadcast. It seems people did not enjoy it and I don’t like reading anything negative about the ABC especially considering who the PM is at the moment.

  13. Thanks Pduby11.

    Stan, I just wanted to enjoy the broadcast and see the new year in an entertaining night at home. I love the ABC and really did expect better. It just seemed so amateur.

  14. People are going to complain about the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks show coverage, no matter which network does it. And it’s Twitter nature (as well as TV Tonight nature) to complain, because it’s easier to complain than it is to praise.

  15. I agree that ABC shouldn’t host again. It was just basically advertising for their shows. And the commentary was bad. I watched the whole thing. The Firesworks were great but a tad short – like 10 minutes for the midnight fireworks! I know that’s not ABC’s fault but 2013 it was at least 20 minutes. And the 10pm ones were bad… they didn’t even say who’s fireworks was who’s. Michala Banas was funny feel sorry for Ella Hooper cos the other guys weren’t that great. Get rid of Lawrence Mooney, that Stephanie girl wasn’t too bad.

  16. They needed to have a pre-recorded special, possibly Mad As Hell or Hamster Wheel at 9.30, so they didn’t have to pad for so long.

    Co-opting the awful Clover Moore party was a mistake too.

  17. Okay, I have been waiting to ask this question for a while …

    Will someone please explain Lawrence Mooney to me?

    I don’t find him funny, clever, witty, entertaining or very talented, and yet he appears on various shows across various networks.

    Something similar to the condition known as Joe-Hildebrand-itis, but with Joe, you at least know what he is there to do is smugly stir the pot and show off his vocabulary.

    Lawrence, I simply don’t get.

  18. Nice to see the negative sheep out in force today.

    What short memories we have. I seem to remember the exact same things being said about Nine’s NYE coverage every year. Unlike most of the trolls, I won’t pretend I saw much of it. However, I caught a little bit around 10pm while getting ready to go out. The chats with Amanda Shalala, The Chaser & Michala Banas were pretty funny & I loved the pre-recorded segs from Shaun Micallef & other ABC talent.

    Glad they got massive ratings last night & here’s to more ABC NYEs to come!

    • PDuby11: Apologies, missed yours amongst the ones I cross-referenced. There is also one more which joined after my earlier comment. The rest were previously registered as best I can see.

      The broadcast has clearly caused a reaction, which is what the story was about. It’s good we’re getting both sides of the argument from the discussion here.

  19. David Knox – I am a new commentor, created my profile today. Why lie about the stats?

    odiecalodie – wonderfully said. Spot on commentary. Much better than my muddled attempt earlier (and probably now) with the auto-correct fails whilst commenting from my phone. 🙂

    me – Every phone call my mum has had with family and friends today she has mentioned how terrible the show was. It makes me laugh every time I hear her say it as it really was that bad. Made me sick that they tried so desperately to do the political spot at 11.30pm. The comment about calling Mandela, Madiba, focusing on the Indonesian government and then Rudd. The joke about drinking and driving in the backstreets – a family friend of ours lost his entire family to a drunk driver a few years back, there should be no tolerance for those jokes, Brantz treating the men like they were incapable, the men acting like they were…

  20. Maev....Sydney

    Well this certainly got folk posting…surprisingly though…just checked back last year…and the ratings were higher this year….
    Me personally…do not like Robbie Williams as an entertainer.

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