A day in the life of Lisa Millar…

News Breakfast host outlines a typical day, starting with a 3am rise.

ABC’s Lisa Millar starts a typical day at 3am in order to be on air at News Breakfast by 6am.

But it begins by devouring the news that has transpired during her sleeping hours.

“I go straight to the newspapers, and immediately open up 7 of them to get a sense of what’s happened,” she tells TV Tonight.

“So it’ll be the New York Times, the BBC, Guardian, The Age and Herald Sun, and I just consume all of that for 30 minutes. I get into work and I have longer in hair and makeup then the morning is just prepping.”

News Breakfast keeps her on air to 9am before she turns to the rest of her day.

“I have some other projects going on at the moment but if I had no other projects, apart from News Breakfast, I’d try to have a tennis lesson, which I do every Monday. I try to add some exercise in every day, whether it’s Pilates class, or a jog or a walk along the beach.

“You’re keeping an eye on stuff through the day. If Parliament is sitting, I’ll often keep an eye on Question Time, just to get a sense of the tone of it, even if I’m not necessarily focusing on every word.”

With such unusual hours, Millar will sometimes grab a mid arvo nap. Solid sleep is a challenge for one who is working shift hours.

“I feel like I have never actually quite nailed it. Michael (Rowland) sleeps super well, I do not. He can go to bed straight away. I know all this because we talk about it so often, that he puts his head down on pillow, bang!” she explains.

“I feel like my whole sleep pattern was just not smooth anyway, because of the years overseas where you get woken in the middle of the night. So I was coming off never having known what a good night’s sleep was anyway.”

But at least News Breakfast has locked down hours, unlike when she was a foreign correspondent, on call whenever news broke.

“Overseas, you knew that you might end up having to be on air at any given time. Whereas with this program, unless it was like the Queen dying, you are not going to be on until the next morning. You might be on an hour earlier, or two hours earlier, depending on the scale of the story. But it’s not like at midday, you’re suddenly going to get called come back into the studio.”

She adds, “I re-engage at about 4:30 or 5pm, fully until 8, and then I try to go to bed.”

News Breakfast 6-9am weekdays on ABC / ABC News.

6 Responses

  1. Assuming and believing that breakfast TV presenters walk out at 9am and go shopping is ridiculous. There are production meetings on what’s on tomorrow and next week, research on the wide variety of guests, their music/books/films/political issues etc., etc. Perhaps record a location piece for tomorrow or later. Record a piece with a guest in a remote studio for later this week. Reply to, and write emails etc. Review today’s program and what coulda shoulda been. Maybe meet with some school kids doing an excursion visit. Promo Dept want us to record some pieces. Publicity want a photo with XXX who’s in the building right now,
    Oh it’s past our 8 hours. Should be going now. People who are annoyed by reading about breakfast TV hosts’ “insane hours” should really discover what their “insane hours” entail before commenting. Just a comment from someone who worked in breakfast TV for decades. Steve Liebmann, Sue Kellaway, Diana Ward, Tracy Grimshaw, Liz Hayes, Brian Bury to recall a few.

  2. Thousands of people get up at 3am to go to work some very physical jobs( for way less salaries ), but don’t get the rest of the day after 9am to do what they want.
    The glorification of breakfast hosts across all networks and their “insane hours” is a bit annoying

  3. Thanks for this profile interview David. I am a big fan of Lisa. Her career has been stellar and continues to be so. I was horrified to learn of the sort of abuse she has been copping online. Above it all, Lisa remains gracious, warm and professional. We never crossed paths whilst i was at the ABC but I have messaged her a few times since and she is always so kind and humble. And easily for me, the main reason to watch News Breakfast.

    1. I’ve read Lisa’s memoir: Daring to Fly and it’s so insightful; gives you a personal, honest view of a foreign journo – reporting mostly on the the worst kind of events at the drop of a hat.

      She and Michael are a great team, as with Tony, Madeline and Nate. You can tell they all get on well with each other, plus no big egos to manage.

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