- Questions raised about when Seven was aware athletes would not be shown entering Closing Ceremony
- Seven attended briefing meeting prior to ceremony
- Was My Kitchen Rules screened in place of pre-show with athletes?
- No TV rehearsal of Closing Ceremony
- Host broadcaster not involved in creative elements
- GOLDOC apologises and accepts full responsibility for artistic decisions
The fallout of the Closing Ceremony continues with Seven presenter Johanna Griggs hitting back against suggestions Seven knew athletes would not be featured in vision supplied by host broadcaster, NEP Australia.
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games organisers have accepted responsibility for the creative undertaken by US-based Jack Morton Worldwide Public Events and UK-born Artistic Director David Zolkwer. Yesterday GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie spent the day apologising to media.
But questions are emerging about when Seven was aware of plans to have athletes enter the stadium in the pre-show and whether a My Kitchen Rules prevented the pre-show from airing. In Perth & Adelaide, the ceremony was not Live to air, to allow MKR to screen.
Yesterday an article by Tracey Holmes at ABC Online claimed Griggs and Seven reps attended a minute-by minute briefing on Saturday morning at which they received a 34 page media guide.
Ric Birch, who was head of ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, said: “I’m certainly surprised that Seven did not raise the issue of the athletes’ entrance prior to the closing ceremony.”
But Griggs has hit back stating it was never made clear that footage would not include shots of athletes celebrating. Seven only had 1 news camera in the stadium to gather extra footage.
A spokesperson for NEP Australia told TV Tonight, “GOLDOC, the Organising Committee, made the decision that the athletes would enter the arena during the pre-show, which is not broadcast. Pre-show means the show that only goes to the big screen at the stadium, to entertain the crowds attending the Closing Ceremony. The Host Broadcaster played no part in the pre-show.”
It is understood that having extra cameras on the ground entails further fees, which Seven appeared to organise for the Opening Ceremony to capture additional shots of the Australian team entering.
“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,” says Griggs.
Statement by NEP Australia, host broadcaster:
We understand that there were some early, incorrect, media reports and social media comments about the role of the host broadcaster – NEP Australia – in the closing ceremonies. NEP is not involved in the creative elements of the closing ceremony, rather we broadcast them. GC2018 explains the creation and production of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in detail here.
Statement from Johanna Griggs:
Following an article by Tracey Holmes on ABC online and an interview she gave this afternoon on ABC702 Sydney, as the co-host of the Closing Ceremony and former athlete, I’d like to clarify and correct a few of her claims.
Tracey said that Channel 7 was briefed 24 hours before the opening ceremony and would have received a minute by minute breakdown of exactly what happened.
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.
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.
There was no TV rehearsal of the Closing Ceremony as there is for the Opening Ceremony. That isn’t necessarily unique, but clearly a rehearsal would have rung alarm bells.
What happens in the pre-show is embargoed until the main show begins so Tracey’s suggestion of starting 15 minutes earlier is just not right. We wouldn’t have been able to show the vision anyway.
Tracey said Channel 7 cued in the Australian team to film vision. Whoever gave that cue wasn’t us. I’m guessing it was the stadium control room.
As rights holders, we were allowed one camera in the stadium, a news camera, on the condition we wouldn’t show the vision for 24 hours. We made the decision to show it anyway at the back of the ceremony when we realised what a farce the Closing Ceremony was turning out to be.
I stand by the fact that we could only show the vision supplied to us on the night, and that whoever made the decision to not cut away to the athletes made a bad call. And the athletes left because they didn’t feel at all included in the show which is such a shame as they were the real stars who should have been celebrated.
Tracey was quoting Ric Birch in relation to some of her information. I have had the privilege of working alongside Ric on previous occasions. I can assure you that the conditions applied to Channel 7 for these ceremonies was very different to anything we’ve ever experienced before.
Finally, I’d like to thank Channel 7 and my co-host Basil Zempilas for their complete and unconditional support to let me say what I really thought during last night’s broadcast.
Statement from GOLDOC:
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) acknowledges the concerns raised around tonight’s broadcast of the GC2018 Closing Ceremony.
We agree that the ceremony should be a celebration of the athletes and a chance for them to celebrate the end of 11 days of tremendous sport.
It was the intention of the Closing Ceremony creative to have the athletes involved from the very start of the show, enabling them all to be part of the celebrations. This resulted in the athletes entering the stadium during the pre-show, rather than during the live broadcast.
GOLDOC appreciates that this decision therefore did not provide the opportunity for the television audiences to share this moment.
With over half the athletes scheduled to depart the Gold Coast tomorrow, it is understandable that large numbers of athletes chose to depart the ceremony early, to prepare for their journey or attend their own team celebrations.
It was the intention of GOLDOC to celebrate the accomplishments of the athletes and provide them with a great experience. We are naturally disappointed that the good intentions of the creative did not necessarily work for some of the athletes involved and the broadcast audience.