Today Show forced to back down and give 65-year-old fisherman $40,000 cash prize

The Today Show has U-turned on its controversial decision to refuse a 65-year-old fisherman a $40,000 cash prize because he appeared to say 'hello' before 'I wake up with Today'. 

When called by the show live on air this morning, Steve Donohue, from Mollymook, New South Wales, answered within three rings but said 'hell' in shock before he said 'I wake up with Today.'

Confetti and streamers fell from the studio ceiling as confused hosts looked at each other, unsure if he had won the prize - before bosses told them to let him down.

Mr Donohue told Daily Mail Australia he was devastated but accepted he made a mistake so did not complain. 

The Today Show refused to give away a $40,000 cash prize this morning because a caller said hello before he said 'I wake up with Today'

But an hour later, he got a call from Nine bosses saying they had decided to give him the money after a review. 

The retired fisherman was watching the show in the kitchen while drinking his morning coffee when he heard his name come up.

 I was extremely disappointed when they refused me but I accepted the result. I blew it - it was my fault

He looked down at his phone and was shocked to see a private number calling. 

As he pressed answer he said 'hell' in shock before he put the phone to his mouth - but his outburst was still picked up by the microphone before he said 'I wake up with Today.'

Mr Donohue said: 'I was extremely disappointed when they refused me but I accepted the result. I blew it - it was my fault.' 

After receiving the call saying they show had decided to give him the money, the married father of three said he would have a few beers with mates tonight and then spend some of the money on doing up his fishing boat before investing the rest.

He described his morning as an 'emotional roller-coaster'. 

A spokesman for Channel Nine confirmed to Daily Mail Australia the show had changed its decision after a review. 

Sylvia Jeffreys smiles as she believes the viewer has won before being told he failed

Sylvia Jeffreys smiles as she believes the viewer has won before being told he failed

Viewers vented their fury at the show for being so 'harsh'. One Twitter user called for a boycott

Viewers vented their fury at the show for being so 'harsh'. One Twitter user called for a boycott

After Mr Donohue answered the phone on the show, the hosts asked each other if he had won.

They were then told

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