Oops: “Best” of 2020

2020 did not disappoint when it comes to on-air bloopers, gaffes and technical malfunctions.

COVID added extra frustration, not just from difficulties around live links wreaking havoc, but from stressed reporters just trying to do their job in difficult circumstances.

As we look back on slips of the tongue, F-bombs and right royal stuff-ups 2020 humour was needed more than ever.

Warning: language!

Live to Air bungles:

The Today Show reported a manhunt was underway in Ohio for an “Ed Sheeran” lookalike who apparently performed at churches for $35 and a sandwich. But Nine’s producers failed to recognise that the Portsmouth Ohio Official Facebook page was a parody site.

Dancing with the Stars US host Tyra Banks had to apologise on air after eliminating one dance couple incorrectly, only to realise something had gone wrong. “There has been an error in our control room, but we’re making it happen,” she said.

One of the best gaffes of the year came courtesy of Sonia Kruger on The Morning Show when referring to her sister, a Gold Coast hairdresser. She meant to say “blow wave…”

A fire alarm disrupted TVSN live on air.

Christine Anu dropped the F-Bomb on The Project.

Technical glitches & TV News:

Liberal MP Dave Sharma appeared to tell SKY News “…the death of Boy George was a shocking and sickening act…” But despite SKY trying to clarify that Sharma had accidentally reversed the name ‘George Floyd,’ The Voice coach still insisted, “He said Boy are you deaf?”

Sky News UK apologised after accidentally carrying an image of Prince Andrew as the presenter spoke about a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case. You reckon?

Everybody felt for Nine’s Lana Murphy who, when covering Melbourne’s punishing Stage 4 lockdown, sighed, “F*** my life.”

Ditto for ABC News reporter Elias Clure for a profanity dropped in frustration whilst trying to give an update on hotel quarantine in Melbourne.

Nine News reporter Reid Butler was wrapping a Live cross on COVID lockdowns when one punter decided to give the finger. Everyone’s a critic.

One of the more unusual moments during a press conference by Daniel Andrews was a quick glimpse of a Seven News reporter Tegan Dolling preparing for a Live cross from Albury / Wodonga -on Nine News.

Paul Barry spotted one slightly awkward prop in view on SKY News when contributor Michael Ware was chatting on air.

Barry also questioned a Seven News report on the rising number of patients in Melbourne hospitals -by using footage of an Italian hospital. A Seven spokesperson said, “This was an unfortunate error during the editing process on a frenetic news day.”

Nine’s Peter Hitchener wisely stopped reading out the headlines when he realised the vision did not match his script. A production error was to blame.

Hitch’s colleague Brett McLeod was about to do a live cross when a pesky magpie had other ideas. He soldiered on unharmed. So did McLeod.

Nine News sports reporter Braden Ingram was doing a Live tease from outside AFL House in Melbourne as a big red Seven glowed in the background.

ABC News presenter Paul Higgins was upstaged during his daily weather segment when vision of Katy Perry performing at the T20 Women’s World Cup appeared instead of his usual map.

The Chase lost its audio feed.

Nightly News 7 Tasmania‘s Rachel Williams was presenting her final bulletin when a blackout resulted in a Melbourne bulletin taking over. She came back the next night for a farewell.

And according to Weekend Sunrise it was 158° in Adelaide.

Old habits die hard for Brisbane-based 10 News First weather presenter Josh Holt who, as a result of network cuts, accidentally referred to “Brisbane city” during his first Perth weather report for WA viewers.

Seven News presenter Mark Ferguson and reporter Chris Reason made a ‘guest appearance’ on Nine News courtesy of a monitor in Nine’s new North Sydney home. The channel was quickly changed thereafter.

Celina Edmonds didn’t miss a beat when an ABC News teleprompter went a-wanderin’…

And then there was NBC News correspondent Ken Dilanian who lost video connection just at the moment he was due to go to air.


A promo for My Kitchen Rules somehow screened on 9Now as a result of programmatic advertising. While Seven was chuffed Nine plugged their show, Nine tried to bite back saying, “We are pleased to see Seven recognise that 9Now is a valuable platform for reaching audiences at scale.”

Studio 10 launched a new segment with Kerri-Anne Kennerley, “Kak’s Konfessional” in which viewers were invited to send in “secret problems” that need solving. But after social media users reacted to the prominent K-k-K in a promo graphic, it was quickly deleted.


Sub-editors at The Age mistook Craig McLachlan for Scott (Jason Donovan). He played Henry Ramsay.

An Australian Women’s Weekly profile on Richard Wilkins & son was littered with errors. On his Instagram post Dickie pointed out, “There’s a lovely article on @theprincewilkins and me in the new edition of @womensweeklymag that contains a couple of errors; 1) My name is not Rachael 2) Our last name is not Wilkinson 3) Estella’s name is not Estelle 4) Joel Edgerton’s name is not Russell Crowe… easy mistakes to make, and lovely photography by @julieadamsphotographer.”


In an interview with Mumbrella, Seven CEO James Warburton was looking back on 2019 ratings when he said, “We had Home and Away up in the high 600,000s. We had Deal or No Deal close to 600,000. We had Sunrise close to 300,000. We won the entire day time.” Alas, Deal or No Deal was axed in 2015.

A video interview with Billy Idol was accidentally headlined “Sunrise sits down with Billy Joel on tour in Australia.”

Designer Tim Chappel told 2GB’s Deborah Knight that Julia Morris was Kitten on The Masked Singer, before she had been revealed. It was a big blunder with 2GB generously deleting the audio from its podcast. Phew.

Tiger King‘s Carole Baskin made herself available on Cameo where you can pay celebrities to send video greetings for birthdays and special occasions. But Aussie comedian Tom Armstrong managed to prank her with a special request for Rolf Harris…. and then it just got worse.

And last month a NZ morning TV programme apologised after being pranked into wishing a happy 30th anniversary to Fred and Rosemary West…. both of whom tortured, killed and dismembered victims in the ‘House of Horrors’ in the UK.


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