Adela Lupșe, outburst TV presenter, gives her side

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Adela Lupșe
Image: Adela Lupșe.

The call-in quiz show is a staple of cheap programming throughout Europe. The format is simple: a question is displayed on screen, and callers phone in with their guesses – paying a premium rate to do so. The programs are often repetitive, the average question simple, the average prize small.

Once in a while, though, something unusual does happen.

On December 6 2008, Adela Lupșe, presenting the call-in quiz Telepremii on Național TV on Romanian television, had what The Daily Telegraph described as a "tantrum on air". As the final prize became available, Ms Lupșe's show had no callers. Already excited, she began to shout. Throwing the telephone down on the studio floor and stomping on it, she admonished her viewers, "I want the telephone to ring now. Now. Call me now!"

Various reports in the English-speaking press went on to state that Ms Lupșe had been fired, or fired and re-hired, that the show had been fined heavily, forced to move to a late-evening time slot, or given an adults-only rating.

After presenting the broadcasts of this morning's call-in programs, including the same one she was supposedly fired from in January, Ms Lupșe spoke to Wikinews from her television studio in Budapest, Hungary to give her first full-length English interview and talk about her work and her version of events.

Adela Lupșe was born in 1988 to a miner's family in the village of Poiana, Bihor in Transylvania, Romania. A member of Romania's first post-Ceaușescu generation, she grasped the power of television at a young age: "I think television is the most interesting phenomenon that the modern day has given us....for my type of personality, I find it impressive, the power that television has worldwide....We dress like the people that television promotes. We want to look like the celebrities that television launches."

I wanted to get some attention and get people to know my face.

Knowing television was the career for her, Lupșe moved to the city of Oradea to study journalism, and began a job at a local television station as a health reporter. Using that position as a launching board, she found her way onto the national reality program Noră pentru mama 1 (Daughter-in-law for Mom) on Kanal D, a show in which mothers of single sons attempted to matchmake for their children. Lupșe unabashedly admits she took part in the show only for exposure: "Actually my goal from the start was not to win this thing or to find someone. I wanted to get some attention and get people to know my face. I want this attention because I'm aware of the fact that it is not easy to enter this world! And I was doing all this in order to increase my chances to get my dream job in television." That dream: to host a nationally-broadcast talk show.

After participating in Noră pentru mama, Lupșe was asked to audition for her first call-in program and was quickly hired. She describes a typical day: "One hour and a half before the show I'm in the make-up room. After I'm done with hair and make-up I go down to the studio for the before the show to talk to the producer. And then is the result that anyone gets to see." All of her banter on-air is improvised: "Definitely there is no script! Everything that you see comes out spontaneosly during the show."

On any given day, Ms Lupșe is on camera for between one and five hours, presenting a number of different call-in shows on several different networks: not only Național TV but also Prima TV and Antena 1, all broadcast from the same studio. Despite the repetition, she doesn't get bored. "For me it's always exciting. I enjoy it very much! If I'm tired at the end of the show it means I've done a good show. But I'm never tired during the show." When I play a clip of one of her energetic show presentations – not the one she's become best known for – she elaborates on her exuberance. "I'm always excited when I'm about to give big prizes! There is no show without winners!"

I was just involved in the moment!

Adela Lupșe's December 6 broadcast was a normal day. She went to the studio, prepared her hair and makeup, spoke to the producer, and went onscreen. The only thing out of the ordinary, she says, was the size of the prize: 1500 leu, about $US 450, or roughly a month's wage for a typical Romanian. She describes the critical moment in nonchalant terms:


How did you feel, then, when you began shouting? Many people have said you seemed angry...

  • Adela Lupșe: I was just involved in the moment! People have different opinions.

((WN)) You weren't angry at all?

  • Adela Lupșe: I would rather use the word excited.

((WN)) Even when you put your foot on the telephone.

  • Adela Lupșe: Even then, the whole moment was just my way to express my excitement!

((WN)) All we in most countries have seen is those two minutes. What happened afterward?

  • Adela Lupșe: Well the show went on, I got my winner and moved on!

She says she and her show weren't fired or fined. The first inkling she had, in fact, that there was something unusual about that day's broadcast was when, on January 9 2009, MTV Russia aired the clip of her shouting and stomping on the phone, mixed with some dramatic orchestral rock music. That same clip, uploaded onto video service YouTube, quickly garnered over one million views.

I think also I'm a little bit crazy. So it's all good!

Adela Lupșe says she's happy with the attention brought her from her outburst: she's been interviewed on talk shows in both Hungary and Romania so "people were able to see that I'm a normal, fun to be around person." She's occasionally recognized in the street, which she enjoys.

And as for the charge most frequently leveled against her, that she's "crazy": "I think it is normal that people have prejudicies, everyone is free to express his opinion in the same way that I'm free to do my job the best that I can! I'm hurt if my family is unhappy with people's comments but I think I gain the wisdom to ignore the negative feedback!

"I think also I'm a little bit crazy. So it's all good!"


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.