Stan and Ellen’s awkward sign off — again
Two months after serving up a laboured and windbaggy sign-off at the culmination of the first night of the ABC's US election coverage, the public broadcaster's special news event co-anchors Stan Grant and Ellen Fanning have finally established which of the two is the bigger star and must therefore have the final authoritative word from the newsdesk.
No surprises for guessing it's high-salaried Grant who Fanning appeared to have problems winding up at the end of day one of the US election coverage back in November.
Back then the chemistry between the two, admittedly after several hours of technically fraught live broadcasting, was tested repeatedly but most memorably (to this scribe) during the pair's final throw to the ABC's 7pm news bulletin.
Fanning managed to restrain herself, resisting any urge she may have felt to roll her eyes - though unable to stop herself repeatedly glancing at her watch, as Grant rambled on and on during his attempt to offer some razor-sharp unscripted analysis of the day's bewildering and inconclusive election results.
At the time it prompted this writer to compare the partnership to that of feuding fictional news anchors Mike Pomeroy and Colleen Peck, played by Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton in the movie Morning Glory, a pair of incompatible presenters who sparred for the final word in their breakfast show sign-off.
Following some early teething problems, last week Grant and Fanning finally cracked their on-air sign-off at the conclusion of the public broadcaster's coverage of President Biden's inauguration. Well, she did anyhow …
"Only time will tell if (Biden's) administration can heal a nation that some say is more divided than ever. I'm Ellen Fanning …" said Fanning, her well-chosen words left hanging in the air as she turned her head to Grant, prompting him to take the sign-off reins.
"Yeah, remarkable day," Grant intoned, starting well.
"These moments are always historic. Those speeches are recorded for posterity. The challenges are … to … the … the battle of the … the better angels of the nation (or nature - audio unclear), the dark realities of the country. That's what Joe Biden has certainly sketched today."
Fanning managed a close-mouthed serious "mmm" - and managed not to glance at her watch, as the studio director took over and hit the switch on a musical wind-up to indicate, Academy Awards style, that Grant should stop talking.
Eventually, to everyone's relief, he did.
Originally published as Stan and Ellen's awkward sign off - again