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Kerri-Anne to host new-look GMA (1990)

November 17, 2012

90's Flashback

Flashback to Variety Today 1991

KERRI-ANNE Kennerley, the vivacious co-host of the nation’s premier early morning television program, Good Morning Australia (GMA), has a simple philosophy – `live life to its fullest, and take each day as it comes’.

In February GMA, the show that awakens thousands of viewers around the country each morning with news, interviews, entertainment and bright chatter, celebrates its first decade. And, later in the year, Kerri-Anne too notches up her 10th year as host of the highly successful program. It’s a success Kerri-Anne is taking in her stride.

“Except for the early mornings, I’ve enjoyed every moment of my time on GMA,” she said.

Kerri-Anne has shared the set with several co-hosts during the years – Gordon Elliot, Tim Webster, Mike Gibson and her current co-host Terry Willesee.

“Hey, when you really think about it, I’ve had the opportunity to do some great interviews, speak to some wonderful people and travel around the world to bring special reports to viewers. It’s a great job!”

There is no denying it – Kerri-Anne is attractive and has won many hearts both on and off screen. She genuinely cares about people and it shows. She’s not pretentious, is happy in her work and believes in living each day as it comes. If GMA came to an end tomorrow – she’d sleep in.

If GMA came to an end tomorrow – she’d sleep in.

“I don’t believe in worrying about what’s ahead. You have to take one day at a time. Life’s so much more enjoyable that way,” she said.

Kerri-Anne smiles coyly when asked about rumours predicting the axing of the top rating show. “There are always going to be rumours like these floating around, particularly when the financial situation at the station is not as healthy as we would all like. However, to my knowledge, GMA will be returning in 1991,” she said.

If ratings are the deciding factor, then GMA should continue for many years to come as the show has managed to consistently breeze in ahead of opposition almost since inception in 1981.

“It took a while to get people accustomed to watching morning television but now I think there would be a lot of people who would truly miss it if it wasn’t available.”

Kerri-Ann has both enjoyed and endured many memorable moments during the past 10 years on GMA. “My least favourite interview would have to be the one with the snakes – I wasn’t wrapped in them but they seemed to be wrapped in me. Never again!!” she said, rolling her eyes in indignation.

It is a whole different story when asked her most enjoyable times on GMA. “There were so many, but perhaps the one that stands out in my mind is two years ago when we took the whole show to Universal Studios, Los Angeles. The show didn’t go to air until 2pm each day – it was heaven, we could sleep in – although it did take a bit of getting used to.”

Kerri-Anne, 37, who began her career as a performer and co-host on Brisbane children’s television show, `Everybody In’ with Jim Illiffe, has since displayed her talents in various aspects of the industry.

As a vocalist, she has toured Australia and New Zealand, finally ending up in New York where, for five years she combined her singing with work as an actor, appearing in commercials and running a production studio. Her return to Australia with husband John Kennerley in 1979 (the couple were married in 1984) was followed by appearances in Restless Years, and leading variety shows including Don Lane and Mike Walsh. She worked with big showbiz names including Harry Secombe, Frankie Laine, Al Martino and Des O’Connor.

Despite a demanding schedule with GMA, Kerri-Anne still enjoys the occasional club appearance. “Ideally, I’d like to do a gig two nights a week with a 6 piece band. I wouldn’t want much more than that,” she said.

Variety, she said, was a tough industry today in which to make a living.

“There is no question that variety has slipped a lot compared to its hey day of 15 years ago. Venues have closed down and a new type of variety has taken over. Steve Vizard represents a new wave of variety. Since Mike Walsh left, there has been a change in direction – a new look.”

But, she added, there had been a period of over-dosing on current affairs shows. “There is certainly room for a good variety show, but it’s important we all move with the times and keep up with the demands of the younger generation.”

News to hand at time of going to press (1990):

Good Morning Australia will return in January 1991 under a new format.

A spokesman said Kerri-Anne will also be back at the helm of the show which, in its new format, will be totally different but also exciting.

- Shirley Broun

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