The most embarrassing on-air blunders in TV history

Karl Stefanovic can't control his laughter on the Today show. Source: YouTube/Victor L. Rodriquez.

With live television there is always the risk that something could go wrong and these blunders are some of the very worst mishaps to have ever happened on air.

From news readers being harassed by members of the public during live broadcasts to presenters making embarrassing or rude gaffes and awkward exchanges with showbiz guests, these bloopers prove that television stars are only human after all.

Today show host Karl Stefanovic is guilty of regularly breaking into fits of uncontrollable laughter on the live Channel Nine breakfast show. In 2012 Stefanovic lost his cool during an interview with Melbourne farmer Will Jelbart after a visitor’s wedding ring was digested by a calf named Yogi.

Karl joked with the guest that the bloke would have had to go home and explain to his wife that “the cow sucked it off”, but it was the guest’s naughty response that set Karl off. Jelbart replied: “Maybe his wife was asking what else the cow was sucking off,” before adding, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have said that on telly.”

Read more: Cheeky Brit TV host turns an on-air blunder into a very funny video.

Sarah Murdoch put her foot in it when she announced the wrong winner of Australia’s Next Top Model in 2010. Murdoch announced that contestant Kelsey had won the competition, before a producer told her she’d made a mistake via her earpiece. The mortified presenter was forced to admit her error and break the news to Kelsey that she had actually lost to rival Amanda, despite already giving her acceptance speech and thanking everyone.

Holding her head in her hands, she said: “I feel a bit sick about this. This was a complete accident, it was fed to me wrong. This is what happens when you have live TV.”

Another telly star to commit the same on-air crime is the late Sir Terry Wogan who, in 2007, announced the wrong winner during a televised competition to find the UK’s next entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. Wogan wrongly announced that Cyndi had won the public vote when in actual fact the winners were Scooch, and blamed his blunder on the noisy studio environment after the BBC publicly confirmed he had been given the correct information.

Read more: Blunder costs news reader job but gains headlines in support.

BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker got himself into trouble back in 2010 when he reacted to some goading from news anchor Simon McCoy and stuck his middle fingers up during a live BBC News broadcast, not realising the cameraman had cut to him.

Tomasz Schafernaker flipped the bird on BBC One. Source: YouTube/dweebert58.
Tomasz Schafernaker flipped the bird on BBC One. Source: YouTube/dweebert58.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Tomasz was not aware that he was on air, and whilst the gesture was only shown for a second, it was not acceptable.”

Elsewhere, British presenter Mike Bushell became a global laughing stock after he fell into a swimming pool on live TV. The TV personality was filming an interview with some of Team England’s medal-winning swimmers, including Adam Peaty and Siobhan Marie O’Connor, during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, when he slipped into the water. But, like a true professional, Bushell accepted his fate and completed the interview, despite being submerged in the pool from the waist down.

What is your favourite TV blooper?

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