EXCLUSIVE | SUNRISE ‘wunderkind’ Adam Boland is back!

The man who reshaped breakfast television in Australia is back with a brand new project and talking honestly about his past success… and failures

Adam Boland with David Koch and Melissa Doyle (image – News Corp)

I am team Bolo. There’s really no other way to express how I feel about the man who has helped shaped my media career.

The ‘crazy’ EP with a million ideas gave me so many opportunities over the years and we have become dear friends.

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with Adam Boland as he launches a brand new project for the Australian Academy of Science. Boland is producing videos for the Academy to be used on social media platforms.

Already Boland’s involvement with the Academy has seen its FaceBook page grow from 9,000 followers to over 2-million.

“The hunch was this: Can we use some of the techniques that you and I, Rob, have deployed in places such as News Corp and make video that works to an online mass audience, so have a direct conversation with the audience.”

His hunch, as usual, was correct.

Now Boland is teaming up with former Sunrise and Wake Up presenter Nuala Hafner for a series which will be distributed through the Australian Academy of Science and the International Science Council which means his videos will reach a global audience in the millions.

Adam Boland with the cast of WAKE UP (image – News Corp)

In my interview, which you can listen to in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, I couldn’t resist the urge to ask Boland about the state of breakfast television today:

“I think Michael Rowland has the cutest smile on TV!”

For years Boland was giving quotes about television, appearing weekly (if not daily) in column inches about the industry, but these days he’s trying to avoid the spotlight, hence his attempt to deflect from my line of questioning with a typical quip.


But after some good-natured pushing he relents:

“So the one thing I would do if I was producing a breakfast show right now is, I would ask the question, the fundamental question, “Why do people need to watch this show?” Not, “Why do people want to watch this show?”, “Why do people need to watch this show?” I’d love to obviously see a little bit more risks taken but risks sometimes backfire.

God, look how much money I wasted at Channel 10, right? Risks backfire, but risks pay off as well at the same time.”

Since leaving the television industry after his headline-making breakdown, Boland has spent a lot of time reflecting on his time in the television industry:

“I created a lot of enemies! I was a bit of an arsehole to some people. Because I was so competitive.”

That competitive nature saw him slash the tyres of a rival news crew’s car in his early days as a reporter:

“That’s not behaviour that should ever be condoned. I look back at what I call old Adam in horror sometimes, and I don’t think it’s who I am these days.”

But one of Boland’s biggest regrets is the breakdown of relationships with people he worked very closely with:

“Which to this day still creates enormous unrest in my mind. I wish I could rewrite some of that because in many ways that time at Seven was a time of family for me. It was where I was most at home. It was home. It’s where I spent most of the hours of every day.

Always chose to live very close to the station because that’s where I was most comfortable. But, for whatever reason and whatever way my mind worked back then, I decided to light that match. But I’m very proud of many of the people that I look at on TV and know I played a part in them being on TV, across the various networks now. I like that.”

Adam Boland’s legacy should never be underestimated. He redefined breakfast television in the Australian market and his two crowning achievements; Sunrise and The Morning Show are still number 1 to this very day.

He has lived a very public life full of controversy and personal struggles, but finally Adam Boland has found himself.

“We all have our demons and we’re all… I think that’s the one thing that I walk away with after everything that happened, this sense… I think my sense of empathy is greater than it ever has been. I think that is perhaps a really important quality for us all, particularly in times such as COVID, reaching out.

I’ve always often said that that concept of, “Are you okay?”, should be every day. That is important. So if I picked that up as a result of some of the bad stuff that happened, then that’s okay.”

*You can listen to the entire chat with Adam Boland HERE.


A full transcript of the interview follows:

Rob McKnight:

Here we go. Hello, Bolo, welcome.

Adam Boland:

Rob, hello to you.

Rob McKnight:

Bolo, I can’t believe we’re about to talk about a new project you’re doing, where after so many years away from TV… First of all, do you miss TV?

Adam Boland:

Well, obviously. Many things about TV. I miss the people. You know what that’s like, right? When you’re sitting in a production meeting in the morning and you’re just talking shit and some of it turns into a product the next morning. Extraordinary, right?

Rob McKnight:

Yes.

Adam Boland:

That’s only the result of having great people in that room with you. So I miss that. I miss that idea of that notion of being able to just throw ridiculous ideas around and people either throwing them back in your face and saying, “You know what?”… As you often did with me. You’d say, “That’s just not going to work, Bolo. You’re going to jump the shark there,” or some would work. I obviously miss that.

            I miss the intimacy. This might seem like an odd thing, right? I know you know this. There is an intimate relationship with the audience which is extraordinary considering the audience is often so large. There is a way, I think, particularly with the kind of shows we made at breakfast TV, there is, similar to talk back radio, there is a relationship. They tell you what they think, right?

Rob McKnight:

Yes.

Adam Boland:

So I miss that, day-to-day. I miss the ability to influence the national conversation. That’s not in any way to sound arrogant, as in I don’t think I had an influence on that, but I think having-

Rob McKnight:

But you did, in your position, you absolutely did.

Adam Boland:

The shows did. I miss that involvement because I do think sometimes the conversation can be a bit wayward and the media tends to take somewhat of a pack mentality at times. But my choice to walk away. So you can miss those things but not regret. There are many things about TV that I don’t miss. When you balance it all up, I think I’m in a pretty happy place but, like you, I’m sure, there are many things, many things that I miss.

Rob McKnight:

It’s interesting you talk about shaping the national conversation. I don’t think there’s been a show since your Sunrise, because I do think it’s a different Sunrise now, but your Sunrise did campaigns, like Cool the Globe and things like that, that created a national conversation, and I don’t see that happening anymore.

Adam Boland:

I think those campaigns created a community as well which I think was super important. That said, there are differences, in their defense. It was pre-social media. So to some extent, many of those… well, it’s was kind of at the birth. We played a lot when social media came around with Facebook and all that, we did some great stuff with social. But we had to create our own community, if you like. So there was that.

            Shows evolve, I guess, but I do think sometimes… Here’s the thing. Here’s a view that I keep-

Rob McKnight:

We’ve got a classic Bolo: “Here’s the thing.” I can’t wait!

Adam Boland:

I want to try to be as uncontroversial as I can, and I don’t-

Rob McKnight:

Oh, screw that!

Adam Boland:

… from the Rob McKnight school of… I don’t believe this is controversial, I think this is fair. I think often the far right has the loudest voice but I don’t think they reflect the majority view in Australia, and I think the same sex plebiscite was a really good example, right? The so-called quiet Australians are actually the majority. I’ve always found that Australians are generally a fair bunch of people.

            So I kind of feel as though the one thing that sometimes is missing from the conversation is conversations that appeal to those themes of fairness, those themes of… Australians don’t like discrimination, they really don’t, in the whole. Australians like seeing people get a fair go, and I do think sometimes, sometimes some of the conversations in mainstream media are played to a section of the audience that does not reflect the majority view and as a result, perhaps, over time, undermines their core brand. I think that can sometimes be dangerous territory.

            I get the appeal when you’re playing in minute by minute territory and you want a spike and, yeah, you know what? Controversy works, and nothing wrong with controversy. There’s nothing wrong with controversy. Nothing wrong with hosting a conversation. It’s the manner in which you host them and the people you choose to have those conversations. That’s in no way directed at any show, at any particular… I feel sometimes the conversation doesn’t reflect what the majority of Australians sometimes think and those concepts-

Rob McKnight:

It’s interesting you say that because you introduced the idea of really having political heavyweights talking about issues in breakfast TV. That idea seems to have been lost now in the fact that it’s well-known names on extremes. I do feel Australians are very centrist. They’re not hard left, they’re not hard right, and this is why we change governments all the time, because we go on policy. But what you see now in breakfast TV are producers booking extremism. It’s the Mark Lathams, it’s the Pauline Hansons. It’s the politicians with extreme views that they are trying to create controversy with, aren’t they, not actually have a conversation.

Adam Boland:

Yeah, which I get. I feel as though some of the conversations that we had were more about getting answers for our viewers as opposed to just inciting grabs. I think, particularly if you put fear at the centerpiece of content, that ultimately will backfire. Gee whizz, one of the most successful campaigns we ever ran was called Give Fear the Flick. It was intentional, right? People need hope. People need this sense of humanity, and particularly in times like COVID. I feel as though that sometimes we perhaps should be looking beyond the gimmicks of just saying, “We’re all in this together.” That’s an important message, but how are we? Show me more of that, as opposed to division. By the way, I’m sure there are plenty of great examples where shows have done just that. This is just a long-term observation I’m making, but it’s not necessarily directed at anyone.

Rob McKnight:

Well, talking about COVID-19 and science in general, you are part of a new project that’s getting science back on the agenda.

Adam Boland:

I’m excited by this. So, as you know, one of the things that my company has been doing in the past couple of years has been working very closely with the Australian Academy of Science. I love these people. This came about by pure chance. I was living in Canberra and living opposite what some know as the Martian Embassy in Canberra, that big dome building. I would often sit out on the balcony and think, “What is that place? What is it that happens there?”

            One day in the Canberra Times, while [inaudible 00:07:32], because I discovered they had a new CEO called Anna-Maria Arabia who was just dynamic. Everything she said in this interview just touched all the value points, and I thought, “I want to meet this woman,” because she wanted to make science more engaging, she wanted to make the Academy more engaging. The Academy of Science essentially represents the who’s who of Australians scientists. To become a fellow of the Academy, you have had to have been voted in by your peers, you have to have had some kind of groundbreaking research. I think sometimes we take science for granted, or we have up until things like COVID, right?

Rob McKnight:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Boland:

When you think about it, as she often says, science is the thing that will solve this. Science is everywhere. What you and I are doing right now is science. Science is extraordinary. Australia punches about its weight in science. So one of the things that we did with the Academy was, we talked about getting those messages amplified, that sense of all of the great work that Australian scientists are doing, how do we celebrate it in a way that becomes a lot more public and a lot more mainstream in nature, so not just appealing to the science crowd who already gets it.

            So one of the things we did was run an experiment, scientist live experiments. We took to social media. Our hunch was that we don’t necessarily need… well, the hunch was this: Can we use some of the techniques that you and I, Rob, have deployed in places such as News Corp and make video that works to an online mass audience, so have a direct conversation with the audience, if you like. So we gave it a six month phase to see how it would go. We started with 9,000 followers on Facebook, this is on the Academy’s Facebook page. They now have more than two million.

Rob McKnight:

Wow.

Adam Boland:

It has been a phenomenal success. Great credit to the Academy for being so bold in the area, right? So much so that the comms team that I now work with, has some of the best media people I know, including Paul Richards who used to be SP of Sunrise, right?

Rob McKnight:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Boland:

I was fortunate enough to be able to introduce him to the Academy. They fell in love with him. He came in initially to run the internal video unit but he just worked so well there he’s now the director of communications at the Academy which-

Rob McKnight:

Wow.

Adam Boland:

… is just phenomenal, right? Awesome. He was one of those just great producers who should have been doing more, is now doing more, and I love seeing that. He brought in some extraordinary people. Michelle Tapper, ex-Sixty Minutes and Sunrise. She now works there. A guy called Matt Newman, ex-ABC. Sonia Lear, ex Al Jazeera, she’s there. So you’ve got all these great media people working alongside science communicators and scientists, the best in the field. So you’re bringing together the best in science, the best in media, bringing those two together and then having a conversation direct with a mainstream audience, and it’s just worked phenomenally.

            Anyway, so the evolution of that, because that’s worked so well, the Australian Academy of Science has now teamed up with the International Science Council. The International Science Council essentially represents academies like the Australian Academy, but all around the world. There’s loads of them. Pretty much every nation has one. So the ISC is the umbrella group. They’ve decided, in conjunction with the Australian Academy, to launch a fortnightly web show called Global Science. Sorry about that long explanation, but that was the background to that. You know I can’t talk in a short [inaudible 00:11:05].

            So I’m helping to make that as well. The wonderful thing about this, apart from it just being a really good for the soul type of project, but it’s going to be hosted by none other than Nuala Hafner.

Rob McKnight:

Fabulous.

Adam Boland:

How’s good that, right? Who we used to work with at Seven and at 10. Talk about an over-achiever. I think people don’t realize. They saw her on the TV. Whilst she was doing Wake Up, while she was doing the news at Wake Up, after she knocked off each morning, she went to uni to finish her studies. She’s now a clinical psychologist working in a Melbourne hospital, in the trauma unit. Before that, do you know she’s also a lawyer?

Rob McKnight:

Yes.

Adam Boland:

And an actress. This is just phenomenal. So she’s going to host thing. When I asked her to host it, I thought, “Would she do it?” because she does all this good stuff, working in psychology and all the rest. She said, “I would love to do it,” because, to her, it goes to her personal charter of informing and entertaining. I think that’s really important, particularly now.

            Here’s the point. The whole point of this show is to be able to hear directly from the world’s best scientists because I kind of feel as though sources matter more so than ever now. We have to hear directly from people who are credible, and in this era of this term I hate, fake news, it’s more important than ever to hear from the people who actually know stuff, and that’s the point of the show.

Rob McKnight:

So let me get this straight though. The show you are producing, with Nuala presenting, is being used by the international science community.

Adam Boland:

Pretty cool, huh?

Rob McKnight:

That’s great. That is awesome.

Adam Boland:

It’s a real credit to the Australian Academy of Science and the International Science Council. I’m kind of honoured to be involved. The first show will go out in the next few weeks. Like you, we’re just having fun experimenting with how the hell to do something like this in the age of COVID, during the lockdowns. Because it’s global, right? So we need to access people who can’t necessarily get to places where we’d normally do interviews from. I’m sure you’ll be able to give me some tips on what works and what doesn’t.

            But ultimately it will be distributed directly via social and with the help of the many members of the ISC, including those two million followers of the Academy in Australia alone. It has great appeal, I think. I think Nuala, given her background, her expertise, she’s interviewed everyone from world leaders to celebrities, and with her own personal experience in education and science, I think will be perfectly placed to be able to conduct some really cool interviews.

Rob McKnight:

Absolutely amazing. Now, look, I cannot have you here, being the pedigree that you have when it comes to breakfast television and television altogether, without asking your opinions on a few things-

Adam Boland:

Oh, gosh.

Rob McKnight:

… of the state of play on television today.

Adam Boland:

Did we agree to that?

Rob McKnight:

Give me your thoughts on breakfast television at the moment.

Adam Boland:

I don’t have any. Look, I know what you’re trying to do and I love you for it but… You know those publicists who always used to say to us after interviews, “You specifically asked the questions I asked you not to ask”?

Rob McKnight:

You didn’t put any limits on this interview!

Adam Boland:

No, I didn’t but how many times have I dodged these types of interviews? Because, you know why? I kind of got to the point where I just thought people were sick of hearing what I had to say. I got sick of what I had to say too.

Rob McKnight:

That’s because you were a media tart who was in the paper every second day, but you know what? When was the last time you did an interview? It would be like five years ago, wouldn’t it?

Adam Boland:

Years. I just don’t. Intentionally. I just wanted to vanish and just do my own thing, and I’ve been very pleased about that.

Rob McKnight:

But I genuinely do think someone who’s stepped away, you’ve got nothing in the game now, right? So you are not biased, you don’t have agendas. I think people would actually care what you think.

Adam Boland:

Okay.

Rob McKnight:

We’re seeing a change in the breakfast landscape. The ABC news breakfast is now the number two show. Sunrise is out and ahead. Today has had its issues. Come on, you must have some opinions.

Adam Boland:

I’ll say this. I think Michael Rowland has the cutest smile on TV! Look, I don’t really. This is not me… well, it is kind of dodging the question.

Rob McKnight:

You are dodging.

Adam Boland:

I kind of am but I feel as though breakfast TV is so bloody hard to make, right?

Rob McKnight:

Yes.

Adam Boland:

I think it’s a real credit to all of the people on all of the shows who get up every day and fill so many hours of TV. I know you’re [crosstalk 00:15:51]

Rob McKnight:

When did you become a politician?

Adam Boland:

The other thing is, kind of what I said at the beginning, is probably my primary view, in that I kind of feel… No. Look, all I would say is, I think there are obviously some great things that are happening in breakfast TV land. There are some things I would be doing differently, obviously. But there is-

Rob McKnight:

Okay, let me ask you this. All right? What would be the kind of breakfast show you make now?

Adam Boland:

I don’t know. I haven’t given it a lot of thought. The reason I haven’t given it a lot of thought is because, like me, and I think this is perhaps one of the great challenges for producers generally, is that because the landscape has changed so much, our appetites have changed, the way we consume media obviously has changed, and that includes me. I actually don’t watch a lot of breakfast TV. Not because breakfast TV’s not good, simply because it doesn’t necessarily fit into my overall media appetite anymore. I do tune in when I want to see pictures, right?

            So the one thing I would do if I was producing a breakfast show right now is, I would ask the question, the fundamental question, “Why do people need to watch this show?” Not, “Why do people want to watch this show?”, “Why do people need to watch this show?” I’d love to obviously see a little bit more risks taken but risks sometimes backfire. God, look how much money I wasted at Channel 10, right? Risks backfire, but risks pay off as well at the same time.

            So, look, I don’t know-

Rob McKnight:

The Channel 10 risk could have worked. It could have worked. Do you think it was because of the state of mind you were in or do you think your state of mind diminished because you put yourself in that position? There was a lot of pressure on you with the launch of Wake Up.

Adam Boland:

Yeah. Probably both. Look, I do think Wake Up could have worked, obviously. I think it had great promise, and it was trying to do something that was different from the other two, which I think was and is important. I think trying to carve out your own identity in breakfast does take a while, it’s not something that happens overnight. I think people always thought that Sunrise was an overnight success. It wasn’t, it took us quite a while, and we had to find our feet. Clearly, yes, me not being mentally as strong as I had been, or could be, didn’t help. But I don’t know-

Rob McKnight:

Because you were putting a lot of pressure on yourself. You essentially had that production unit set up where you were doing the job of like five producers really.

Adam Boland:

Yeah, which was probably, in hindsight, really dumb, right?

Rob McKnight:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Boland:

And one of many dumb things that I did, and many of those dumb things are things that still keep me awake to this day. But that said, it still, I think, had great potential. I still believe in breakfast TV generally. I still believe in the power of television. I still believe in the ability of TV to make a noise. I obviously love TV and despite the challenges that the TV broadcasters are now facing, they shouldn’t be surrendering, obviously. I’m not saying they are but it is, to some extent, easy to stop taking risks when you are under so much fundamental pressure, and I think that could be one of the problems.

Rob McKnight:

Why do you think people enjoyed the fact Wake Up failed?

Adam Boland:

Did they? I don’t know. You mean some in the industry?

Rob McKnight:

There was a section within the industry that enjoyed it because you had had a lot of success and we are a country that likes to cut people down and-

Adam Boland:

To be fair, Rob, I’d also created a lot of enemies! I was a bit of an arsehole to some people. Because I was so competitive. I think I’m [crosstalk 00:20:01]-

Rob McKnight:

Says the guy who famously slashed the tires of a competitor’s news car.

Adam Boland:

Right. That’s not behaviour that should ever be condoned. I look back at what I call old Adam in horror sometimes, and I don’t think it’s who I am these days.

Rob McKnight:

But we all do that. We all change, we all grow.

Adam Boland:

Correct, correct. This is the thing. If we were simply to walk anyway from experiences like those and just think, “Okay, learnt nothing,” that would be a huge problem. Did learn a lot.

            To answer your specific question, I don’t know. I feel like there were plenty of people who were sad about it. I feel like there are many, many great people in the industry. Most of my closest friends are still in the industry. But TV is more political than probably anything but politics, right?

Rob McKnight:

Yes.

Adam Boland:

So there will always be those people but that’s okay, if that’s how they want to… If that’s what gets them through, so be it.

Rob McKnight:

I know, right? There is a freedom and a beauty of being outside the bubble because television is in a bubble, and the people in television are in a bubble sometimes. I think that makes it harder for them to connect with what viewers actually want.

Adam Boland:

Yeah. I do, to some extent, and I was in that bubble. I tried to get us out of the bubble as much as possible by taking the team out as much as possible to things like [inaudible 00:21:28] or whatever. They’re gimmicky to some extent but it was part of that notion of being able to always make sure we were connected and listening to viewers. I think, fundamentally, that’s really important. I think the challenges that we’re facing are very different from the challenges often faced by our viewers, and I think shows should always reflect those challenges.

            To swing that conversation back to the beginning, that’s one of the reasons I think the Big Guns of Politics was such an important segment, is because we were able to break free of the conversation that was normally had with politicians where we would just ask the default questions. The questions that were being asked of politicians were the ones that were faced by our viewers, and the reason we knew what those questions were is because we listened to our viewers. That was fundamentally-

Rob McKnight:

The ROSwall was revolutionary.

Adam Boland:

Well, yeah, and it was the key to the success. To me, that was the key to the success of Sunrise, the fact that it reflected the attitudes of its viewers. That’s the basis of many, many shows really. That should be at the heart of any show that values community. Some of that, I think, could be embraced a little bit more from time to time, but outside of that, TV’s hard and they do great stuff, and you and I both know how tricky it can be.

Rob McKnight:

Look, there’s highs and lows in television. Let’s focus on the highs for a moment. When you look back, what is something that you think, “I can’t believe we got to do that”?

Adam Boland:

Oh, so many. Jeez, so many. I think perhaps probably the thing I’m most proud of during that time was the tsunami concert that we did, Reach Out to Asia. So that was after the Boxing Day tsunami, and in the space of four hours we raised $20 million, in a broadcast that was simulcast on all three networks and radio stations coast to coast, and live into 20 countries, with an extraordinary concert on the steps of the Opera House. It was organized in a week-

Rob McKnight:

Amazing.

Adam Boland:

… with some of the biggest names in entertainment. To bring three networks together, and David Leckie deserves immense credit for that, was, I think, one of the things that I… that was an amazing experience. I was proud of that. I feel as though that’s TV used at its best, when TV can actually make a difference. They’ve done it recently through the bush fires. They did some amazing stuff, very similar to that. We’re seeing it a little bit with COVID as well, right?

            Growing up, always seeing in Epping, always seeing the tower above Channel Seven in Mobbs Lane covered like a Christmas tree, they used to put the lights on it, it would look like a Christmas tree up there, and there was something about that. It was always like Channel Seven was at the heart of the community, it was something which should make you smile and happy. I think that’s when the media is great, when you look to the media as something that makes you happy. It’s something that can motivate us to do good, as opposed to being a place that spreads fear. I think that’s the good and the bad in the media. I prefer the good.

            So Reach Out to Asia was probably, I think, one of the highlights. But there were so many. It just was-

Rob McKnight:

Tell me about that because you were in the meetings where executives across all the networks were in the one room talking about how you make this thing come together. Because you were going to do something, and then Nine were going to do something, and you all made the logical decision to come together. But everyone’s got different ideas. How do you facilitate that and make that all come together? Was there any hand banging on the table?

Adam Boland:

Oh, my God. It was the trickiest production meeting ever, the first one. The three Ps were great. So it was myself, Glenn Pallister from Nine, Craig Campbell at 10, and just a bunch of great people from all three networks that came together and contributed stuff. The biggest debate was who should host from each network. We had to make sure there was an even number of people from each network represented: “Oh, we’ve got too much face time, you’ve got too much…” And I refused to separate Kochie and Mel, and I kept saying that Kochie and Mel essentially were one person, which was another, “You’ve got two people.” I’d say, “I don’t, I’ve got Kochie and Mel. They’re one!”

Rob McKnight:

Did you get away with that?

Adam Boland:

Yes, I did.

Rob McKnight:

Of course you did!

Adam Boland:

Which was cool. Ironically, they co-hosted with Larry Emdur who at that point was still at Channel Nine. So it was before he came across to Seven. So that was fun. We all had our respective… Craig took care of Melbourne. Glenn was downstreaming, essentially, out of [inaudible 00:26:20]. It came together really, really well. It was just a beautiful production, and it showed what can happen, when everyone just works together. Come Monday morning, of course, we were all back warring, but it was nice for a little while.

Rob McKnight:

And all wanting to know which network everyone watched the concert on [crosstalk 00:26:37]

Adam Boland:

I think Seven, from memory, wasn’t it?

Rob McKnight:

Do you ever think, and I bet you don’t, but do you ever think about your legacy within the industry? Because you look at what you’ve done. You turned Sunrise into a hit and no-one, as much as they might try, can rewrite that history. You are the guy that turned Sunrise into a powerhouse. You put Mel and Kochie together. You gave Nat Bar the job there. You gave Mark Beretta the job there. They’re all still there, all still kicking goals. The show has gone on without you, as shows always do, but you created that. You created The Morning Show. You basically came up with that show and it hasn’t lost a week since it’s been on air. You must have a sense of pride in what you have achieved, and I hope you focus on those things and not the negatives at times.

Adam Boland:

Yeah. Thank you for saying that. I do. Obviously I’m very proud of all of those things, and overall loved my time in television, loved it. I regret, obviously, many of the things at the end of those years. There are so many things I regret, Rob. You and I know, we’ve spoken about many of these things, right?

Rob McKnight:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Boland:

And the fact that I was my own worst enemy a lot is-

Rob McKnight:

You ended up cutting a lot of relationships, didn’t you, because you went in hard.

Adam Boland:

Yeah, which to this day still creates enormous unrest in my mind. I wish I could rewrite some of that because in many ways that time at Seven was a time of family for me. It was where I was most at home. It was home. It’s where I spent most of the hours of every day. Always chose to live very close to the station because that’s where I was most comfortable. But, for whatever reason and whatever way my mind worked back then, I decided to light that match. But I’m very proud of many of the people that I look at on TV and know I played a part in them being on TV, across the various networks now. I like that.

Rob McKnight:

You gave me so many opportunities. I wouldn’t have achieved the things I achieved without you.

Adam Boland:

I’m sure that’s not right. I think talent will always, in the end, find its feet. I was just happy to, along the way, help some people on that path. It was a good chapter but at the same time, I’m also enjoying… Funnily enough, I find myself more at peace these days than ever. I’m actually in a place that I feel more comfortable.

            We’ve spoken about many of the things I miss but I feel like I’m in a pretty happy place these days and doing stuff that I actually… I’m very lucky. The business I run, Bohdee Media, I went into partnership with David Gordon who, while we were at 10, was on the board of 10, he was the chairman for a while. He’s been great and he’s been able to give me the ability to just play in spaces I want to play in and work with brands I want to work with.

            So I’ve got the luxury of being able to do stuff that I really want to do, such as the stuff with the science academy. I’ve done stuff with mental health charities like Beyond Blue. I’ve enjoyed that. I enjoy using the skills that I was able to pick up across the years in TV, and other places, to use in places that I want to be playing in now. So, overall, pretty happy.

Rob McKnight:

You have had so many million dollar ideas and I’ve always said to you, “Bolo, the moment you hold onto one idea for long enough, you will make millions of dollars.”

Adam Boland:

I know. That’s the problem, right?

Rob McKnight:

Bohdee Media seems to be the one that’s sticking because you were going to have the resort in Vanuatu, which I still think would have been an amazing… I went to that location and it just would have been amazing. But you’ve ended up where you are, which is a bit of home to you because it’s media based as well. Have you finally settled down?

Adam Boland:

I don’t know. I get restless, Rob.

Rob McKnight:

I know you do, Bolo.

Adam Boland:

I’m enjoying it. I work with some great people and we do a lot of experimental stuff which I’m really enjoying. We’re doing a lot of stuff, for example… this is a tangent, but we do a lot of stuff in the mainland Chinese market, which is a market that I just don’t understand a lot. So I hired some Chinese journalists who do understand the market. So I’m learning about the Chinese platforms, which are phenomenal.

            I’m playing in the science space and working… One of the awesome things I did a year ago, I went on a science expedition with these Chinese scientists to dig up some fossils near Eden, and came down cliff faces where I thought I was going to die. Who knew that I would be doing stuff like that, right? So I’m challenging myself in different ways, which is fun.

            But in terms of where the business will go, I don’t know, and this is why I’m so… David kind of gives me… I’m sure he gets annoyed at times, but he gives me the freedom to just play, knowing that at some point one of those ideas may pay off in a bigger way, but in the meantime the stuff we’re doing, I think, is worthwhile at least.

Rob McKnight:

Indeed. You talked about relationships and you talked about the ones that you regret, but have you… Television’s a funny game. When you’re not in it, do those relationships hold up?

Adam Boland:

No. Well, yes and no. Still my closest friends work in TV, right?

Rob McKnight:

Yeah.

Adam Boland:

My best mate works in TV. My oldest friends are still in TV. I went 20 years and the only people I knew were in TV. So it has actually been quite nice to increase my social circle, by the way. I like it that I’ve got friends outside of TV. Who knew there was life outside of it?

Rob McKnight:

I know.

Adam Boland:

There is, as you would be finding, right? You do, you get exposed to all kinds of new people. Obviously some relationships do break down. There are some that were there simply because of either the position you’ve had or what you [crosstalk 00:32:46]-

Rob McKnight:

I think that was the hardest thing I learnt.

Adam Boland:

Yeah. Good lesson, right?

Rob McKnight:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Boland:

That’s okay. I think it’s a human characteristic, to some extent, to be selfish, and that’s okay. There are many, many great people in TV, many great people in TV who I still talk to almost daily. So relationships come and go but I’m not sure that’s exclusive to TV, just perhaps sometimes we have agendas that are perhaps a little bit more self-centered in TV.

Rob McKnight:

Indeed. Well, Bolo, I could chat to you for hours. I know I’m making you very-

Adam Boland:

That would be very dangerous. I was very reluctant, Rob. I tried twice to postpone this, right? It’s not your fault, it’s me, not you.

Rob McKnight:

But you knew where I’d go, and I have a million questions I could ask you, but I really do appreciate you just having the chat because I know this is very uncomfortable for you. And you’re not one who actually takes praise very well. Despite what people might think about you, you don’t take one-on-one praise very well, do you?

Adam Boland:

Well, I get embarrassed because of the many things I’ve done wrong. So it’s still just trying to balance those things.

Rob McKnight:

We all have.

Adam Boland:

I know, I know. We all have our demons and we’re all… I think that’s the one thing that I walk away with after everything that happened, this sense… I think my sense of empathy is greater than it ever has been. I think that is perhaps a really important quality for us all, particularly in times such as COVID, reaching out. I’ve always often said that that concept of, “Are you okay?”, should be every day. That is important. So if I picked that up as a result of some of the bad stuff that happened, then that’s okay.

Rob McKnight:

Bolo, you are a legend. I love you dearly. Thank you for talking with me.

Adam Boland:

It’s been fun. It’s been scary but been fun. Thanks, mate.

Robert McKnight
"Leading TV commentator" - The Daily Telegraph. Robert McKnight is a highly regarded Australian Television Producer having worked at SEVEN, NINE and TEN during his 25 years in the industry. Publicly he is most well-known for creating and producing STUDIO 10 but has worked on Sunrise, The Morning Show plus other prime time productions in addition to creating award-winning news campaigns for both 7 News and 9 News. Currently Rob is the host and producer of the TV Blackbox, McKnight Tonight and Monsters Who Murder podcasts plus host & Executive Producer of the video streaming show The Ben, Rob & Robbo show
Advertisement

Similar Articles

Comments

  1. hey rob. your team Bolo comment has upset the Sunrise sycophants. check your followers. all is not what it seems.

We Want To Hear From You

Advertisment

Follow US

3,325FansLike
282FollowersFollow
16,396FollowersFollow

Latest

PROGRAMMING WRAP | Nine continues #1 momentum with a strong slate in second half 2020

Nine started 2020 strongly with Married at First Sight, which flowed into a successful second season of Lego Masters with Nine’s The Voice rating strongly thereafter.

PROGRAMMING WRAP | Despite COVID restrictions, Seven has a full slate of first run Australian content

Seven has had a rocky start to the 2020 television season, but at the mid-year part of the television season they are...

NINE dumps racist PAULINE HANSON after yet more ill-informed commentary

“The fact is a lot of them are drug addicts as well, they are getting their medication, they are alcoholics so they’re being looked after in that way."

ABC recognised in LGBTIQ+ Inclusion Awards

The badge recognises that the ABC has substantially increased the visibility of people of diverse sexualities and genders

10’s hit phenomenon prepares to unmask itself

The most over-the-top costume party will see our new masks bravely step into the spotlight for season two of the runaway hit sensation that had viewers across Australia screaming "take it off!".
Advertisement
%d bloggers like this: