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Channel 7 says ‘goodbye’ to BREKKY CENTRAL and ‘hello’ to MEDIA CITY

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The final program has been broadcast from Martin Place and now Rob McKnight looks back at his time working at Channel 7’s city studio over the past 20 years.

Channel 7’s Martin Place will always hold a special place in my heart. I was making news promos when the move from the old Epping studios happened in 2004 and this week I visited the studio for the last time as an on-air contributor on The Morning Show.

I’ve seen a fair few things during that time!

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Although the Martin Place studios revolutionised Australian television by allowing the public to see TV being made and broadcast, it didn’t come without its difficulties.

Almost anyone who has ever worked in the building will tell you the studio was built on the wrong floor. While the intention of being on the same level as people passing by had its merits, the concept never really worked and created many production issues.

The first such issue happened in the first week of rehearsals of the 6pm News with Ian Ross when a woman passing by decided to flash her boobs at Roscoe while he was reading an intro.

Thankfully that never went to air.

7 News presenter Ian Ross
Ian Ross presenting the very first bulletin from Martin Place in 2004 (image – 7 News Vault)

Straight away bosses decided they needed to add extra distance between the newsreader and the public. Later, a blurring contact sheet would be added to the windows.

Many production staff believed if the studio had been built on the newsroom floor, it would have allowed a better shot of Martin Place without people being right up against the window.

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Years later Sunrise would place cameras in that exact position to project onto monitors which would become the background behind the hosts.

The NightCap 7HD
The cast and crew of The NightCap – the first show made for digital television in Australia

A few years after Sunrise made the move to Martin Place, a new show was created which would mean more hours of TV being broadcast from Martin Place. That show was The Morning Show, which has remained number 1 in the slot to this day.

I was part of the production team that launched TMS before moving onto the short-lived The Nightcap (the very first show made for digital television in Australia), after which I headed to Sunrise as a producer and then line-producer before leaving for Channel 9.

When I first left the promotions department I went and worked in 7 News in the newsroom, which was an amazing training ground for developing many skills.

On set of Channel 7 show The NightCap
Jessica Rowe, Matt White and Rob McKnight on the set of The NightCap. Specially made panels were placed in front of the 6pm news set to hide the fact they were the same location.

The Sunrise and TMS production areas were a level up and it would be fair to say there was no love lost between the morning TV teams and the news teams.

Thankfully all that has changed now and at Media City everyone is on the same level.

Last Wednesday I appeared on The Morning Show in studio at Martin Place for the very last time. I have been an occasional contributor for THE BUZZ segment for the last year or so and it was nice to be in studio for the final week of shows.

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While I was there I decided to take some pictures of the studio. You can see a small selection below.

Seven is now embarking on an exciting journey as the teams get ready to broadcast from the new studio they share with 7 News.

The studio space is massive and set designer Mark Dyson has made great use of the space.

Unlike the news, Sunrise and TMS don’t rely on a video wall and a well-thought-out set integrates the video components really well.

The set and graphics for both shows are brighter and fresher while not reinventing the wheel.

Viewers will find the changes on Monday to be a nice evolution rather than a revolution.

The lighting is beautiful with those in charge not constantly having to fight with the ambient light from Martin Place. You’ve never seen the hosts look so good!

Sunrise and The Morning Show will broadcast for the first time from Media City on Monday morning from 5.30am

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Robert McKnight
Robert McKnighthttps://tvblackbox.com.au/robert-mcknight/
"Leading TV commentator" - The Daily Telegraph | "Known for his impeccable sources in the TV industry" - The Daily Mail | "Always first with the correct info" - Beau Ryan | Robert McKnight is a highly regarded Australian Television Producer having worked at SEVEN, NINE and TEN during his 30 years in the industry. Currently Rob can be seen every fortnight on THE MORNING SHOW (7) and heard on NIGHTS WITH JOHN STANLEY (2GB/4BC). He is also a producer on 7 NEWS SPOTLIGHT.


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