It was only ever a matter of time before David Robinson left Studio 10

David Robinson is a rare person in the TV industry in that he loves it. He lives and breathes it. But in this day-and-age where blandness reigns supreme there doesn’t seem to be a place in morning TV for his hilarious shenanigans. And I still can’t figure out why.

Today it was announced Robbo is leaving Studio 10. There was no explanation as to why he is leaving and despite a wonderful tribute to him using a montage of some of his best moments he failed to appear live in studio.

Network Director of News Content, Ross Dagan says:

“Robbo has made an exceptional contribution to the programme and we appreciate all he has done. He’s decided it’s time to explore the future and he goes with our very warmest wishes. He’ll always remain a friend of Studio 10.”

A Network 10 spokesperson added;

“After six glorious years, our beloved Robbo has decided to leave Studio 10. He’ll always remain a friend of the program and all of us wish him well.”

TV Blackbox can reveal Robinson did in fact resign but it came off the back of two years of turmoil with the network. Over those years Robinson has been cut back from on-air reporter to behind-the-scenes producer. The trouble started in January 2018 when Executive Producer Lucy De Luca (who later resigned after being told she would be replaced as EP) informed staff Scott Tweedie would be joining the show as a reporter. As the sole reporter of Studio 10 the news came as a surprise to Robinson who had not been informed until he read the group e-mail.

From that point De Luca and her offsider Kelly Sheppard (who was 2IC at the time) refused to allow Robinson on screen. Production meetings became awkward when the leaders would be talking about needing talent to host a segment but would ignore Robinson who was in the room with them.

Robinson was already going through personal issues and his treatment by some staff at the network only further added to these problems.

I first met Robbo at Sunrise and while we didn’t really get to know each other during that time I would come to consider him one of my best friends when I really got to know him as Executive Producer at Studio 10.

As a producer on the show he was creating outstanding work and compelling segments. Over time he also started appearing on camera and providing wonderful moments for the viewing audience.

As a lover of creative people I became drawn to him. His infectious humour helped cover up personal issues in his life but I came to admire his genuine talent. I admired it so much I decided to make him the on-air reporter for Studio 10.

The news didn’t go down well with some. One member of staff resigned because they had seen themselves in that role. I soon learned the network didn’t like my choice either as they refused to acknowledge he was an on-camera personality.

David Robinson on the Studio 10 panel

But Robbo became such a fixture of the show and the audience couldn’t get enough. I started using him as a fill-in on the panel and had him hosting break-out segments. He was a versatile talent who could do anything. There are few people who can be an on-the-road reporter, host studio segments and take part in serious debates on the panel, but Robinson could do it all.

When my reporting lines changed and programming took over control of the show one of the first orders I received was to remove Robbo from the promo pack shot. That’s the shot of the “family” you see on all the promos and marketing material. I was told in no uncertain terms that Robbo was not good talent and his role needed to be reduced. I couldn’t believe it. Here was a guy who would get a laugh every time he stepped in front of the camera but the executive believed Scott Tweedie was a much better option.

So it was no surprise to me that after my departure Tweedie became a member of the team.

While I was still running the show I fought for Robbo because I believed (and still do) he is great talent. I made the point that Scott is also great talent but in a different way. For example, if both reporters are about to abseil down a building there is no jeopardy when Scott is going down because he looks like an action man whereas with Robbo you don’t actually know if he will make it down alive.

My protests fell on deaf ears.

When Robinson was pulled off air the network was extremely surprised at the reaction from social media. Despite no announcement viewers kept asking where Robbo was and when he would return.

The network remained silent, refusing to respond. The ‘post to page’ comments on the Studio 10 Facebook page became so incensed at his disappearance the network actually resorted to turning the comments off.

With social media in uproar and phones ringing off the hook, the network was ultimately forced to put Robinson back on air, but the damage was done.

Broken by his treatment, Robinson spiralled and the network removed him from air once again.

It’s at this point I’m torn between what is right and what is wrong. Robbo was going through issues for sure, but to what point were those issues exacerbated by the way he was treated?

Studio 10 is a show that has been in turmoil and today seemed like the final straw for Sarah Harris, Joe Hildebrand and Angela Bishop. Ratings have plummeted to half of what they were getting two years ago and now dip below 50k often. All three love Robbo and the show. They have each fought hard to keep it afloat through uncertain times. The tears you saw today from those three hosts were very real.

I think Sarah summed it up beautifully when describing David;

“He is one of the most brilliant talents I have ever seen in years. He is just so talented and I don’t even think he realises just how special he is. We are all behind you Robbo and we can’t wait to see what you do next, we adore you”.

So, to all the people who work in the industry I simply ask that if you need a creative who can deliver serious stories or laugh-out-loud moments you might want to consider this bloke who stands out from the bland crowd.

I will be happy to pass on his details. E-mail me: rob@tvblackbox.com.au