Lisa Millar makes her debut as the ABC's new News Breakfast co-host on Monday.
Lisa Millar makes her debut as the ABC's new News Breakfast co-host on Monday. ABC-TV

Country gal's back home for brekkie TV gig

THE 3am wakeup call that comes with breakfast television doesn't worry Lisa Millar.

After more than a decade as a foreign correspondent for the ABC, the Kilkivan-born and Gympie-raised journalist is used to the unsociable hours that come with the job.

Now, as the new co-host of the national broadcaster's News Breakfast program opposite Michael Rowland, Millar is happy to be home and looks forward to settling a new routine.

"I did 12 years all up in Washington and London. The further away I am from it the more I realise how hard I worked. I still don't know if I've fully recovered from how full-on it was," she says.

"I'm excited about the job and that I know I can turn up for a social outing somewhere. I'm not going to get a phone call at 2am and have to jump on a plane to cover a terrorist attack and never know when I'll get to bed again."

News is in Millar's DNA, but one of the ways she's preparing for her new role may surprise you.

"I watched The Bachelor," she says.

"I said to my big sister 'I'm going to do something now that is going to shock you and I need you to be OK with it. I'm going to watch The Bachelor'. She looked at me like I'd lost my mind but  a breakfast program needs you to be across a whole lot of subjects, not just politics and hard news.

That wide-ranging preparation might also have something to do with an experience Millar had recently when she was filling in for outgoing News Breakfast co-host Virginia Trioli.

"It had been a really busy morning on the show, going from one live interview to rolling breaking news, and all of a sudden this guy is walking towards the couch to do an interview with Michael and I and I leaned over and said 'I don't know who this guy is'," she says.

"It was Joel Creasey and Joel was so good. He could probably clearly see I hadn't prepared questions, which is just a good reminder it's great to have a pal next to you on the couch.

"Having been out of the country for 10 years, it's fun to catch up on pop culture. Now I'm a massive Joel Creasey fan.

"A lot of people think of me as Lisa the serious news journalist covering all these huge global events over the years, but I'm hoping it will be easy for the audience to adapt to me."

While the transition has been smooth so far - especially in comparison to the recent shake-up at Nine's Today show - Millar has prepared herself for period of adjustment.

The Walkley Award winner has copped her fair share of flack, most notably in 2015 when a viewer pointed out on social media she'd been wearing the same black jacket while covering the Paris terror attacks.

Millar slapped down the Twitter follower and her response sparked a flurry of debate about the way women are treated on television.

"I found that whole period still quite shocking that so many people had died and the attention was on what I was wearing," she says.

"I suspect I am in for that kind of attention with breakfast television. I'm going to try to not let it worry me. I still have that black jacket and when I look at it, I smile."

Millar, who has also taken up a guest presenting role on the ABC's popular Back Roads program, promises a greater focus on the issues affecting regional Australia.

"One of the things with having a Queenslander coming into the show is I'll try and make sure our focus on regional Australia is greater and increased," she says. "It's my intention because I love regional Australia."

Lisa Millar makes her debut as News Breakfast co-host on Monday at 6am on ABC-TV.



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