The quick save did not stop bemused viewers going to town, though.
The embarrassing moment was tweeted by ABC show Media Watch on Sunday.
Reports of Exelby being reprimanded were met with a backlash, with dozens of journalists and some politicians taking to social media to defend her. Her next segment was sports bulletin but she kept fiddling with her pen without realising that she was back on live TV.
According to News.com.au, Exelby was told by ABC24 that she was relieved of her on-air duties. I screw up so often during test shoots that it's a miracle we can cobble something together for a complete video. "I've certainly made my share. and the audience loves live TV, they love this stuff", she insisted.
During Today Extra's panel discussion, Gardner pointed out a detail everyone else has missed - that there should have been floor staff on hand to help Exelby. Now, the internet at large and Exelby's fellow reporters are rushing to her defense.
Tillerson cites Russian inaction as helping to fuel Syrian poison gas attack
Syrians protest in Damascus against chemical weapons Saturday a day after the US missle launch on a military base in central Syria.
But if BBC Dad taught us anything, it turns out live TV is a minefield. Along with the photo, she wrote "it happens". "This seems harsh from the ABC", she said.
A petition on Change.org is calling for the experienced presenter to be reinstated.
Professionalism dictates that she shouldn't have been daydreaming on-air. I can only imagine how much she is copping from her friends. But I also have to take some responsibility here.
But ABC News director Gaven Morris said in a statement on Tuesday that Natasha was a freelance journalist who worked as a contributor.