TVNZ's departing head of news and current affairs, Anthony Flannery, is one of the most liked men of television. Replacing him will be difficult. Michelle Romaine from the BBC will fill in temporarily for a three-month period after Flanners leaves TVNZ on December 10. She is tipped, by some, to be a possible permanent replacement. Flannery takes up the post of head of news and current affairs at Channel Ten in January.
His new boss, Lachlan Murdoch, who is interim chief executive of Ten, said: "We are fortunate to have someone of Anthony's calibre overseeing the strategic development of our growing news brand. We welcome the fresh perspective that Anthony brings to the role as we look to take our news and current affairs to the next level."
Well, that's good news for Oz, but where does it leave the state of our local TV news? Who will fill the big loafers Flannery will leave behind? A variety of international names will no doubt apply, and insiders have speculated Shaun Brown and Paul Cutler may return to the mothership, but they're yesterday's men.
I've compiled my own list of contenders. Here's my picks:
Paul Patrick - Editor of TVNZ's daily news programmes
Pros: Been at TVNZ a long time and has a solid company name and reputation.
Cons: Friendly with staff.
Cliff Joiner - TVNZ's news gathering editor
Pros: Overly ambitious; has worked at both TVNZ and TV3 and therefore knows the system.
Cons: Friendlier with staff.
Mark Jennings - Head of TV3's news and current affairs
Pros: Has a long successful track record running the news department and is well-liked and highly-regarded within the industry.
Cons: May be considered institutionalised at TV3.
Mike Valintine - Close Up executive producer
Pros: Well-respected at TVNZ with a distinguished news pedigree.
Cons: Couldn't leave Close Up. Who else could rein in Hosking and Sainsbury?
Guyon Espiner - TVNZ's political editor
Pros: Wants to get out of the press gallery.
Cons: Dark horse.
Mel Jones - RadioLive director of news and sport
Pros: Former One News director and tabloid mag hag.
Cons: Yet to put RadioLive's breaking news on the map.
Bill Ralston - Been off the radar and out-of-the-loop for too long.
Barry Soper - Would award Heather the best stories.
John Key - He's already running the show
Richard Harman - More dictatorial than Gaddafi.
Keith Slater - His missus, Janet McIntyre, may squabble with him about Sunday stories.
Carol Hirschfeld - Couldn't extract herself from the celebrity circuit.
Dallas Gurney - Yet to lose his baby teeth and training wheels.
Mitch Harris - Would have to cut his surfie locks and have a shave.
Mike McRoberts - Not enough mirrors at TVNZ to satisfy his vanity.