Yes, Brooke Boney sees change happening on TV.

Today's Entertainment Editor may sigh at those early hours, but with new co-host Sarah Abo joining, Brooke Boney remains optimistic.

After Sarah Abo wrapped her first day as a new co-host of the Today show, colleague Brooke Boney reached out.

“I called her after the show on Monday saying ‘We’ve done it! First cab off the rank!'” says Boney.

It was not lost on Boney, a proud Gamilaroi Gomeroi woman, that she and Syrian-born Abo are now key presenters in a leading commercial Breakfast TV show.

“We did have that moment where we both reflected on it,” she tells TV Tonight. “This is actually very special and very cool that we get to do this.

“You have to have a reason to throw yourself so much into the TV world. For me, it is about representation because when I was younger there were no blackfellas who were part of news and current affairs shows or breakfast TV.”

Boney, who recently read an Acknowledgment of Country at Carols by Candlelight, is encouraged by wider changes taking place across media.

“Now their granddaughter greets everyone, every morning on TV.”

“I think the evidence of that is like, my grandparents weren’t allowed to vote. They weren’t allowed into town during daylight hours. Now their granddaughter greets everyone, every morning on TV. That’s a pretty wonderful thing to be a part of. It’s never lost to me how important and how special that is.”

2023 begins Boney’s 5th year on Today as Entertainment host. When she was hired from Triple J, the induction included a visit to the show’s Entertainment Editor, the evergreen Richard Wilkins.

“I vaguely remember that day,” she laughs. “I’d never met him, or maybe in passing at ARIAs. I think he made bruschetta, it was lovely.”

But the brutal world of breakfast television, is not only about the on air content. Clickbait and press frequently scrutinise for backstage gossip, ratings, Live TV bloopers, cast changes, and any on-air tension.

No wonder the genre inspired an entire US drama, Morning Wars, loosely based on the fall from grace of Matt Lauer.

“In reality, it’s the same as any other workplace”

“Everyone is always really interested in what’s going on at the station, like there’s going to be some sort of massive revelation… but in reality, it’s the same as any other workplace where some people get moved into certain positions because ‘this is the direction that the show is heading’, or ‘this is what the audience wants, this is what the data is telling us’ or ‘it’s time for this sort of thing.’ I don’t think that that’s any different really from anywhere else,” she suggests.

“I don’t think it’s that salacious or that interesting like it is on Morning Wars!

“But we all have backgrounds in journalism and then we step into the show and just because of the timeslot, it means that there’s more interest in all of the things surrounding it -which is a strange experience when you’re sort of stepping into it for the first time.

“The more that you spend time with the audience, like this lovely Outside Broadcast (at the Australian Open), you realise that people are inviting you into their homes. So of course they want to know more about you, what you’re doing when you’re not on TV. So it’s sort of natural…”

Even this week host Karl Stefanovic is attracting headlines for intervening in an incident between cricketer Michael Clarke and partner Jade Yarbrough.

Boney believes it’s important to focus on the work rather than worrying about constat clickbait articles.

“I think that you just have to trust that when you’re going into work each day, you’re doing the very best that you can. If there is something that’s monumental that you need to know about, then our team will let us know and we’ll sort of hear about it,” she continues.

“Peter Overton when I started was one of the people who was so lovely and kind to give me some advice”

“Peter Overton, when I started, was one of the people who was so lovely and kind to give me some advice and mentor me a little bit. He said, ‘Never worry about someone’s opinion who you would never ask advice from.’ So I’ve always sort of kept that in the back of my mind.

“It is important to cop heat or criticism where it’s due. But on a day to day basis, the things that you need to worry about are ‘Are you doing a good show for the people that you care about? And for your audience? Is your boss happy? Is your family happy?’

“They also they say things about everyone all the time, so it’s not like they’re just targeting one particular person.”

Today broadcasts from the AO at Melbourne Park this morning before returning to the Sydney studio on Monday.

For Boney that means a year ahead of getting to bed by 8pm for those early starts and distilling overnight entertainment news into daily reports for the Today audience.

But as a ‘night person’ she acknowledges never getting used to the hours.

“Over the Christmas break I’ve felt so much more capable of stringing together a sentence, gathering my thoughts, than when I am on a Thursday or Friday afternoon!”

Today broadcasts from the Australian Open from 5:30am Friday on Nine.

13 Responses

  1. The Today show is by far the better morning show during the week (not weekends) it appeals to a younger middle aged audience where Sunrise is more Mumsy and traditional and the ABC is very monotone = yawn, Sunrise nails it on weekends though.
    I like Brooke, Alex and Karl, and Sarah seems nice so far but it’s hard getting used to new talent in the mix. Tim the weatherman often tries to hard which I guess is the brief of his role, in saying that he is nothing like that show off Sam Mac who has a very big ego and thinks he is the show, and I bet is quiet and aloof off air.
    Ratings for Today have slipped since Sarah has joined which I guess is because she isn’t mainstream enough yet and people aren’t sure yet like it was for Ali at the start, I’m sure ratings will bounce back up though.

  2. Occasionally watch Today, liked Sarah on 60 minutes interviews but I have always lived in hope that people start to accept one another regardless of race, colour, and creed for the person each one of us are, not what we are. Everyone is a unique individual in their own right with varying cultural and diverse backgrounds, we all have good, bad, likes and dislikes in us, but that just depends on the degree, most importantly it is our willingness to accept each other for who we truly are.

  3. As a Sunrise viewer I often flick over to Today for a look but normally flick back but lately I am watching more of Today because of Sarah Also. I am not a Karl fan but Sarah makes it more watchable. I also thought Christine Ahearn did a stellar job as a fill in.

  4. Love, Brooke! Yes, progress is being made, but it’s very slow (at least on commerical TV).
    That said, I did read the other day that Summer Bay – the last bastion of the white australia policy – is about to introduce its first main Indigenous character, naturally a hunk who’ll look amazing shirtless.

  5. Personally I think Today is getting worse than better…nothing to do with gender rebalancing

    It’s about the reliance of Stefanovic to prop up the show..he is terrible

    1. Agreed. Karl still tries to be the larrikin, but his latest public fiasco with Clarkey shows how far from reality he’s gotten. In my opinion, Brooke tries hard to be sassy but she’s about as fun as watching paint dry. Throw them all out I say and bring back Lisa and Dickie.

        1. My point being that the entire situation was so laden with privilege, wealth and celebrity – so far from the bloke image Karl adopts on tv – it really doesn’t matter if he was trying to stop it or not. He was there in the middle of it all.

  6. I’ve noticed that Brooke seems to be reading the news now, and Alex reading sport. Is this a permanent change?
    Brooke does a great job of reading the news btw.

    1. I am pretty sure Alex will be back reading the news when he comes back from the tennis unfortunately. He tries to be funny instead of just reading the news. Drove me back to Sunrise.

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