Breakfast’s new host, Anna Burns-Francis, on flunking her audition, Matty McLean’s dancing and making her mum proud – NZ Herald

Breakfast’s new host, Anna Burns-Francis, on flunking her audition, Matty McLean’s dancing and making her mum proud  - NZ Herald

Anna Burns-Francis thought she’d “flunked it” when she tried out for a role with the Breakfast team on TVNZ 1.

The former One News US correspondent tells the Herald she flew back to New Zealand to try out for a spot on the couch alongside Jenny-May Clarkson, Matty Mclean and Chris Chang, but thought she’d done “a terrible job”.

“I was jet lagged. I was a little bit stressed about trying to do a really good job. I flew back to the States just full of dread …” she says.

While waiting to hear what she assumed would be a hard no, Burns-Francis got engaged to her partner, Simon.

“That brought me back up to feeling like normal. I thought, okay, well, if it all goes terribly wrong for my career after this, at least I’ve got a good home life.”

But the 37-year-old’s feelings about her try-out weren’t echoed by the show’s bosses and she was offered the job on the weekday morning news show, which celebrated 25 years on air last August.

“I was like, oh my god, thank god. I probably should have been very excited, but I was definitely relieved first and then very excited.”

News of her new role has delighted Burns-Francis’ mum, too, who she’s looking forward to seeing more often now that she’s back home in New Zealand.

“She’s so happy. She’s so proud, which is such a nice feeling when your parent is proud of what you’ve achieved. Like, yes, she has always watched everything I’ve done, obsessively. I love that. Kept the Sky box just to record every program just in case I’m on it.”

Anna Burns-Francis was TVNZ's US correspondent. Photo / Instagram
Anna Burns-Francis was TVNZ’s US correspondent. Photo / Instagram

While Burns-Francis loved her correspondent role, based in New York, she’s happy to be home after being overseas in the middle of a global pandemic.

“America is an amazing place to live… It’s just full noise, all the time. Everybody loves talking to you because they love our accent. They would be very confused about where New Zealand is, but they would love Crowded House or Lorde. And they’d say, ‘I love your president.’

“It was strange and it was a once in a lifetime experience that I look back and think I learned a lot and I understood a lot about the world from that, but probably not an experience I would choose to repeat,” she says of being in the US during the height of Covid.

One thing she’s particularly chuffed about with her new role back home is the people.

“I really like the other people I’m going to be working with. Chris Chang is so funny. I’m really looking forward to getting to hang out with people. What job do you get to go and work with your friends at some berserk hour of the morning and just hang out and have fun and drink coffee and have a yarn to people for three hours?”

While she says, despite taking jazz ballet classes as a child, she doesn’t have any dance moves to contribute to McLean and Wendy Petrie’s famed performances, she will be bringing some more hard news content to the show.

“I think it’s no secret that I’m a bit of a hard news nut,” she says. “I really like good news. I like hard news. I like interviews. I really like live TV, so I’m looking forward to digging into some of the harder interviews. Obviously it’s an election year and… what a week to be starting the show,” she says of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s shock resignation on Thursday.

“New Zealand also has some really quirky stories and I like those as well as my hard news,” she adds.

But when it comes to a particular reality TV show, Burns-Francis plans to leave coverage of that to Breakfast’s resident expert:

“I’ll leave the Celebrity Treasure Island stuff to Matt. He’s very good at that and that’s his patch… I’ll watch on with wonder and amazement that he knows everybody’s name and can remember all that sort of stuff.”

Burns-Francis joins Breakfast on TVNZ 1 when it returns for the year tomorrow, Monday, January 23.

AM presenter Bernadine Oliver-Kerby won’t return with show tomorrow

Meanwhile across at the rival AM show, news reader Bernadine Oliver-Kerby remains on extended leave as she is suffering from Bell’s palsy, a condition which causes facial paralysis.

As the show gets set to return from its summer hiatus from tomorrow, it’s unlikely fans will be greeted by Oliver-Kerby alongside hosts Melissa Chan-Green and Ryan Bridge.

A Discovery Warner Bros. spokesperson has told the Herald Oliver-Kerby is still recovering from the condition which struck her in October and saw her treated at Auckland Hospital.

“Bernadine is still taking time to recover,” the spokesperson said.

This content was originally published here.

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