Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: Breakfast news leaves a hollow feeling

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Super-sized offerings stick to tried and tested formulas but as a viewer you want just that little bit more

Petra Bagust and Rawdon Christie wake up with you on TV One's Breakfast show. Photo / NZ Herald
Petra Bagust and Rawdon Christie wake up with you on TV One's Breakfast show. Photo / NZ Herald

I was brought up to believe watching television during the day was a sin, a pastime of layabouts, though these days you can feel like a sinner watching TV almost any time at all.

Still, there is something wicked about turning the TV on at six in the morning - though not wicked in a particularly interesting way.

Monday to Friday from the unseemly hour of 6am, TVs One and 3 offer super-sized breakfast news shows, both of them seemingly designed to have you screaming for escape within the first hour.

Cleverly, they're designed to drive you crazy in different ways. TV3 does it cheap, though not particularly cheerfully with their Firstline show, while TV One hurls some of its muscle at Breakfast, where it lands with the soft impact of an undercooked muffin.

Breakfast kicks off strongly enough with a decent news bulletin, a bit of sport and weather, of course.

On both channels, talk about the weather seems to hardly ever stop.

Peter Williams is Breakfast's newsreader muffin and Petra Bagust (banana muffin) and Rawdon Christie (bran) do the presenting, with Tamati Coffey (crumpet) on weather and other bits and pieces.

Christie could be the rogue element. He mightn't appreciate me mentioning this, but there's a touch of Paul Henry about him, a hint he might go feral for lack of intellectual engagement in this gig.

But I'm fantasising as you might, watching a show that swiftly begins to feel like Groundhog Day as previously-viewed items roll again.

The only escape is when the presenters regularly form a gossip circle to shoot the breeze on one of the news items but that only makes me shout in rage.

On Saturday mornings, Breakfast sleeps in till seven and mutates into Saturday Breakfast featuring Coffey presenting alongside Toni Street, with the untiringly perky Sam Wallace.

There are no complex grains in this bowl of cereal. Last Saturday's big moment was Coffey announcing he'd gone online in the wake of the Princess Kate boobs-in-a-magazine scandal. "I had to look," he confessed.

Things are a lot less frivolous Monday to Friday on TV3's Firstline, presented by the imperious Rachel Smalley and a small cast of bit players.

Smalley is an impressive news reading, interviewing, live-linking multi-tasker, though last Wednesday she did forget which day it was. Firstline is news (and sport and weather) and not a lot else.

But these are shows made for people who keep leaving the room to take a shower or brush their teeth. Sitting down for two or three hours induces a certain sort of madness.

Not the sort of madness induced by watching TV3's new show The Ridges, which launched last Wednesday evening promising, as it did, a dazzling and fun-filled look at the troubled lives of the country's most tiresome celebrities.

But dazzle and fun missed the party. The star of the show was a mouse which made the silly mother and daughter scream and jump on a chair.

This week, hopefully, a rat will make them jump right out the window.

Morning news
What: Breakfast, Firstline
When: TV one, TV3 weekdays from 6am

* What do you think of breakfast TV? Post your comments below.

- NZ Herald

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