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SPY: Holmes in line for Henry's job?

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Paul Holmes. Photo / Doug Sherring
Paul Holmes. Photo / Doug Sherring

Riddle me this, amigos: If Oliver Driver killed his own television breakfast show why would TVNZ bosses hire him for theirs?

Still, that didn't stop his agent contacting TVNZ's news boss last Monday morning, moments after Paul Henry announced his resignation, to volunteer Driver's name for the top job.

A media commentator has Driver pegged as a frontrunner for the gig alongside contenders Mark Sainsbury and Sean Plunket, but insiders tell me none is in the frame.

The country's most public job interview is taking place in front of four million people now that controversial Breakfast host Paul Henry has resigned from his post. Also up for grabs is the female hosting position when Pippa Wetzell leaves to have her third child.

Spy understands TVNZ stars like Rawdon Christie, Greg Boyed, Peter Williams and Jack Tame will be utilised on a rotation basis until the end of the year.

This will be cheaper for the network than employing a big star to see out the year.

Paying current employees days-in-lieu is preferable over a hefty salary for a newcomer, especially in light of the payout Henry is rumoured to have left the building with.

But come next year, a new-look Breakfast is set to grace our screens with two new presenters.

TVNZ will be casting the net far and wide looking for candidates who fulfil the criteria of smart, funny, politically savvy, empathetic and likeable.

The latter is vital. Henry had it in spades, mostly. Driver does not. Neither does broadcaster Michael Laws. The ability to be personable and to hold a show for two-and-a-half hours is no easy feat.

Legend of the small screen and the air waves, Paul Holmes is a top contender. He possesses the vital everyman appeal TVNZ is searching for and his return to breakfast media, after retiring from NewstalkZB following 22 years at the helm, would be sensational.

"If Holmes pulls this off," a media insider told Spy, "it would be the greatest comeback of all time."

"I'd love to throw my hat into the ring," Holmes told Spy, "but I don't know whether they would think I was too old."

So, who are the likely nominees? Spy brings you the names most suggested....

The new Pippa

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby
Heather Du Plessis-Allan
Joanna Hunkin
Kate Hawkesby
Rachel Smalley
Stacy Daniels
Renee Wright
April Ieremia
Charlotte Ryan
Shavaughn Ruakere
Kate Rodger

The new Paul

Paul Holmes
Jeremy Corbett
Dominic Harvey
Duncan Garner
Jack Tame
Mikey Havoc
Greg Boyed
John Tamihere
Jeremy Wells
Jay Reeve
Rod Cheeseman

- Herald on Sunday

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