How vapid is commercial television?

Vapid enough that the colour of a presenter’s top can mean minutes of very tense discussion in the seconds before a live news bulletin. Nine News’ Amber Sherlock is being pilloried today, after Mumbrella published a video of her berating sports reporter Julie Snook for wearing a white outfit too tonally similar to those worn by Sherlock and guest Sandy Rea.

SHERLOCK: “I need Julie to put a jacket on … I asked her before we came on … I told you two hours ago.”

SNOOK: “I’m sorry, I’ve been flat out …

SHERLOCK: “I made this clear two-and-a-half-hours ago.”

SNOOK: “Amber, if it’s an issue, I can get on out of here.”

SHERLOCK: “It is an issue. Go and grab a jacket … I wasn’t saying it for no reason. The wardrobe girls will be furious downstairs.”

SNOOK: “If there’s an issue I can just head on out and get back to work because I’m flat-chat, I genuinely forgot.”

SHERLOCK: “Fine, jump on out, if that’s what you’d like to do.”

SNOOK: “Amber, please, this is not the only thing I’m doing today.”

It seems the video was in wide circulation, though according to the Daily Tele, the leaker has been found.

Wardrobe is seen as crucially important in commercial TV news, as one Nine insider told news.com.au. “I’ve seen some big tantrums about presenters being given similar outfits to colleagues. This is not a rarity. Some stars often claim the others are getting preferential treatment because they got to wear some brand or another. It’s all paranoid stuff, but it sets them off.

“Producers often wish that some presenters cared as much about the content as they do about the colour of their top.”

The presenters issued a statement last night to Nine-owned 9Honey (Nine’s “women’s publication”), trying to make light of the situation, with Sherlock saying she “probably overreacted”.

“What can I say? Amber and I just really love white!” said Snook. “Amber and I are good friends, and I really enjoy working with her, News is a fast-moving environment, and sometimes these things happen.”

After watching the two women plaster warm smiles on their faces the moment the bulletin started, we bet not too many people buy it.