There is an old saying in journalism that you're only as good as your last story. You can walk in to the newsroom proud as punch with your yarn all over the front page and the chief of staff will simply say: "What's your follow up?"

Everybody in the media knows this - at least they used to - which is what makes the TV coverage of Harry and Meghan's bombshell interview with Oprah as bizarre as the interview itself.

The landmark event was making global headlines weeks before it even started, with feverish speculation about what they might say and who they might name. Audiences could not get enough of the program before it had aired.

Ten’s coverage of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah was as bizarre as the interview itself, writes Joe Hildebrand.
Ten’s coverage of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah was as bizarre as the interview itself, writes Joe Hildebrand.

When it did hit the airwaves last Monday night it was a smash hit for Channel 10, pulling in almost 1.8 million viewers - its biggest special in a decade.

And then … Nothing. No follow-up, no breakdown, no commentary or package on the fallout.

It was my shrewd radio colleague John Stanley who asked to see the News Corp metro daily TV guide the following day, as Nine furiously promo-ed its own sequel to the blockbuster on air.

Sure enough the Ten program listing was nowhere to be seen - TV bosses had seen the impact of Ten's show and turned around a special with Karl Stefanovic and Leila McKinnon in less than 24 hours. Yet Ten itself had still done nothing.

The following night still nothing had gone to air on Ten. It wasn't until Thursday - three days after the original broadcast - that it finally produced a follow-up to its own story, despite being the only network to have full access to it and knowledge of it well in advance.

This is really head-scratching stuff and makes you wonder who at Australia's third commercial network is making these decisions - or rather not making them.

Everyone in the media knows that royals rate - it's the only reason we keep them around. If you look at the top 10 stories on news.com.au the first nine will be about Harry and Meghan and the last, if there's room, might be about the outbreak of World War 3.

There are many fine people at Ten, including many dear friends of mine. But this is entry-level stuff and anyone who doesn't know it probably shouldn't be working in television - not least so all the other great people lower down the ranks can continue to.

Joe Hildebrand is on 2GB Nights with John Stanley on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8pm

Originally published as Channel 10's massive Meghan interview blunder



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