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“It was like the Frontline of Breakfast TV”

James Mathison reflects on 10's "disastrous" 2013 breakfast experiment, Wake Up.

This week marks 7 years since Wake Up, 10’s last foray into breakfast television, was launched.

The ambitious show, the brainchild of producer Adam Boland, ran for only six months, broadcasting Live from Queenscliff Surf Club at Manly Beach.

But despite hopes to reinvent Breakfast television, it struggled against the titans, Sunrise and Today.

Co-host James Mathison recently reflected on the project telling TV Tonight, “That was easily the most disastrous thing I’ve ever been anywhere near. On so many levels!

“It was like the Frontline of breakfast TV, the sequence of events around that….

“But what came out of it was a very close, beautiful relationship with a super, dear friend of mine, Natarsha Belling. So that was my big takeaway from what was not an overly-glorious moment for 10.”

Mathison & Belling hosted the show with Natasha Exelby, and Nuala Hafner at Federation Square in Melbourne. Contributors included Sam Mac, Andrew Rochford & Maude Garrett.

Being in Manly was also not without its location challenges, including the trek to get talent to the location in the early hours. It also filmed daily at a venue which was still used by its surf club, and there was also the elaborate laying of cables all the way from Pyrmont for broadcast quality pictures.

“People were wedded to that and there were things around it they never really wanted to countenance,” Mathison recalls.

“Getting out to Manly at peak hour…  what we would do in the middle of winter… there’s a book in that!”

November 2013 was also the launch for Studio 10, which has remained, but undergone a recent cast overhaul.

20 Responses

  1. I thought James was the worst part of the show. He never look comfortable. Not a natural at Autocue. Belling was great. The Melbourne link did not work. The newsreader could have been anywhere given no background of Melbourne. Could not see the point of it. Pity it did not work for ten.

  2. I don’t get one part of your article it says(and I remember) that it was done outside on (I thought the Gold Coast) Manly beach. So what with the line Mathison & Belling hosted the show with Natasha Exelby, and Nuala Hafner at Federation Square in Melbourne. Contributors included Sam Mac, Andrew Rochford & Maude Garrett. So where were they exactly? Maybe that was one of their problems – they never knew where they were or was supposed to be haha?

  3. TEN should just start up a low key Breakfast show and let it evolve, just like Sunrise did. They never needed to go to the beach. Just put together some good talent and let it grow. With all the publicity around Wake-Up, the pressure was massive and it never stood a chance.

  4. It got better after Natasha Exelby departed and it was just James and Tarsh, but the whole ‘televised FM breakfast radio show’ vibe just didn’t really work. The beach looked lovely though.

    1. I agree with craigj77… It felt like a televised version of FM breakfast radio. Breakfast TV needs to be heavy on news — “hey, you’ve been asleep for eight hours and this is what you’ve missed!”. Unfortunately, Network Ten has never done news well so Wake Up was doomed from the start.

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