Having had some live studio training I understand the perils of ‘filling’- having to chat some nonsense to fill the time either when there is a technical problem or the programme is running short.
It is sometimes ridiculously difficult and awkward- thinking up things to say on the spot in front of thousands of people can’t be easy.
This is what I think caused the disasterous moment between Lauren Laverne and Zane Lowe last night- one of the most awkward moments of 2011 telly.
Something had maybe gone wrong with the next video track so in their ear pieces they got the message to fill for a few minutes, and Laverne being Laverne gushed on about Beyonce in a pretentious-yet-kooky way for a few minutes before being told to hand over to Zane, who was then swiftly told to introduce the VT.
Now I’m no expert, but I think this situation was caused by Laverne, who had gushed on about Beyonce for 90 seconds even though Lowe didn’t watch her performance then asked him to add more, rather than her asking him about the other stage headiners to get some balance.
After she’d gone on about Beyonce for what felt like half an hour Lowe was in a ‘what more can I add to this?’ position- and laughed.
By this point he had no time left and just stated that he hadn’t watched her and had seen Queens of the Stone Age instead.
This was the fault of Zane- if he only had a few seconds before the VT was to be run he should have just agreed with Laverne- his short reply and laughter came across quite rude and you could see Laverne was taken aback.
He doesn’t have to like Beyonce! If he prefers Queens of the Stone Age who are we to judge? It was just the way in which he replied.
The next controversey was in that Lowe was supposed to be interviewing Beyonce but was replaced by Jo Whiley- after his rude reaction and admittance that he hadn’t even seen her perfromance how could he interview her about it? How could the audience think he was going to take a genuine interest in her answers?
A moment of live TV awkwardness and unprofessionalism has cost him an amazing broadcasting opportunity.