The Diary: Paul Henry hits back at critics

Paul Henry says it will take time to improve ratings on his new Australian breakfast news show. Photo / Supplied
Paul Henry says it will take time to improve ratings on his new Australian breakfast news show. Photo / Supplied

He was headhunted for big bucks and big ratings, but critics have slated Paul Henry's Breakfast programme on Australia's Channel Ten for failing to deliver the goods.

However, Henry (above) has struck back in defence of his show and says viewers haven't seen the best yet.

"If it is truly going to evolve properly it will take a long time to do its best, but it's a long way from its best," Henry said of his show in an interview with Australian media website Mumbrella. "I would like it to be No. 1. I would like the ratings to be much, much better than they are. Do I take it personally that they're not? Absolutely not.

"It's a combination of factors, not the least of which is that there are two Goliaths in breakfast that have been there for a long time and doing a half-decent job."

Henry said the show's ratings would improve as its inexperienced production team found its feet. "The whole idea of producing three hours of live television five days a week is very new for them.

Everyone is catching up to different levels as the programme is evolving and growing."

But the Kiwi broadcaster, who fronted a successful breakfast show on TVNZ for six years, admitted he found the inexperience of the Australian team frustrating.

"Where do I begin? You want everybody to be on the same page at the same time. I'll call for shots and I can imagine 20 people in the control room thinking, 'Why didn't that arse tell us what he was going to do'?"

Henry said advertising and marketing would help persuade viewers to watch the show, but he feared Breakfast might never catch its competitors on rival networks Nine and Seven.

He said the show would improve, but the ratings could take longer to accrue. "It still doesn't mean you're going to catch them up - it's going to take a long time for people to find that out. It's probably going to cost a lot in terms of advertising."

Henry, not known for his patience, says it's a waiting game.

"The reality is I would hope in six months' time, or within the next six months, we would be producing a product which anyone with a modicum of intelligence would be able to see is at least as good if not substantially better than the others."

But he reckons controversial outbursts - for which he was known in New Zealand - are not the answer. "I wouldn't want a 'moustache-gate' right now to attract viewers. What we need now is to get better and better at what we're doing ... We are not as good as we should be yet."


Televangelist Bishop Brian Tamaki is encouraging his flock to move to his purpose-built community planned for south Auckland. He calls it the City of God - not to be confused with the Oscar-nominated Brazilian crime film of the same name.

The Weekend Herald revealed Tamaki's Destiny Church is selling its Mt Wellington headquarters to help fund "the new Jerusalem", spread across 4ha in Wiri.

But later that day, the Christian leader took to Twitter to lash out at television media, labelling them racist.

"TV One & TV3 Must b Dumb, Racists or Clowns when using th term 'Self-Appointed Self-Styled Bishop ... as if they understand Gods Appointments," Tamaki tweeted on Saturday.

Tamaki, a former forestry worker and dairy farm hand who created his own Pentecostal church, was ordained bishop by a Destiny kaumatua pastor. The bishop title is one he takes seriously.

The title of bishop is used in some African-American churches in the same way as pastor - to refer to the leader of the local congregation.

"Bishop has a kind of ring of authority to it that many in this generation of leaders find highly exciting," said American theology professor Riggins Earl.

He said many were caught up in "the celebrity culture".

Tamaki, who rides a motorbike, lives in a mansion and makes appearances on the telly, took umbrage with the TV media describing him as a self-styled church leader.

But is it fair to call it racism?

Janine Cardno, a media rep for Tamaki's Destiny Church, puts the onus on the media. "They are ignorant to call him 'self-appointed'."

The day after Tamaki played the race card, he appeared in a television interview on One News propounding his "City of God".

His disdain for the Fourth Estate is countered only by his desire for media attention and column centimetres. Tamaki uses it as an opportunity to preach his message.

KEY'S JUBILEE DINNER AT DOWNING ST

Prime Minister John Key told The Diary yesterday that he was honoured to be a part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London, where he joined the flotilla on the Thames aboard The Sarpedon with other Commonwealth heads of government and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Wife Bronagh, who was with him, wore a custom-made teal dress and matching jacket by Trelise Cooper.

"No amount of rain could take away from a historic day when Britain came out in their hundreds of thousands to celebrate a Queen they love," Key told The Diary.

Tonight, he will dine at Downing St with British and Canadian Prime Ministers David Cameron and Stephen Harper. Bronagh will join him, sharing girl talk with SamCam and Canada's First Lady, Laureen Harper, who was once married to Kiwi Neil Fenton. She rides motorbikes and uses her house as a foster home for kittens.

TVNZ PIPPED AT POST

The interview with Martin and Jane Weekes, following the tragic deaths of their triplets in a Doha shopping mall fire, was available to all media on Thursday.

TVNZ flew Sunday correspondent Ian Sinclair and his cameraman to Qatar, and the network heavily promoted the interview for its current affairs programme three days later.

However, the piece did not go to air. TVNZ was pipped to the post by TV3, which sensibly ran the interview on Campbell Live on Thursday - following the 3News story.

But where was Close Up? When TVNZ realised TV3 had the same interview and it would appear that night, why wasn't there better communication to share that interview with another current affairs programme at the network?

TVNZ's editor of current affairs, Briar McCormack, acknowledged the horse had bolted.

"Much of the interview was played throughout the media during the week, and on Sunday we felt as though there was no new information to give to the public from playing it again."

- NZ Herald

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