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Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen and author of The Diary.

The Diary: MP backs talent over TVNZ

Curran questions NZ on Air's place in commercial venture.

Kylie Price says she always wanted to stay in New Zealand's Got Talent. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Kylie Price says she always wanted to stay in New Zealand's Got Talent. Photo / Otago Daily Times

The 19-year-old Dunedin singer at the centre of the New Zealand's Got Talent storm says she never wanted to withdraw from the semifinals - and she has the support of her local MP.

Kylie Price said she told producers she did not want to sign an exclusive contract because it was restrictive. The contract pertains to a Sony management deal and other recording agreements that are part of the NZGT prize package.

"I tried to find ways to solve it, but there was no negotiation allowed. I always wanted to be in the show, but it was the contract I didn't want to sign. My desire to be in the show never disappeared," Price told The Diary.

Now Labour's broadcasting spokesperson, Clare Curran, is backing the young music student and questioning the role of NZ on Air and private media interests behind the taxpayer-funded show.

"NZ on Air funded New Zealand's Got Talent to the tune of $1.6 million, despite the programme being a commercial venture," Curran wrote on her website.

"What is most worrying for Kiwi taxpayers is not just the extent to which commercial content is increasingly being funded by NZ on Air, but also the extent to which it has allowed itself to be bureaucratically captured by private media interests.

"If taxpayers are funding these programmes, then who has the decision-making power over contracts and licence? Handing over $1.6 million to help TVNZ make a local clone of British broadcaster Simon Cowell's international format is a straight-out subsidy to a commercial venture which then has control over the successful talent," Curran said.

TVNZ says contracts are universal to the format. "It means that New Zealand contestants agree to the same contractual terms and conditions as Got Talent contestants the world over. Imagination TV has no influence whatsoever regarding the contract," a spokesperson said.

As for Kylie's absence on the show this Sunday, TVNZ says they are not obliged to address it. "She was never announced as a semifinalist, so there is nothing to acknowledge."


Henry's big dilemma

Paul Henry, who was dumped from TVNZ, hired by MediaWorks, then poached by Australia's Network Ten, finds himself in a state of television limbo.

He is awaiting news as to whether his Breakfast show will return next year in Australia. If Network Ten dumps the programme in a review - which many believe is likely - then he will be in a position to come back to TVNZ and take up an offer to front the revised Close Up programme.

Sources say his existing contract with MediaWorks in New Zealand, which allows him small roles in radio and television while working for Network Ten, is "ambiguous".

But he can't come back to the state broadcaster until a decision is made about the future of Breakfast. Henry would not be drawn on returning to TVNZ. "I'm contracted with Ten and can't talk about anything," he said.

His Channel Ten boss, Anthony Flannery (nee TVNZ), said the status quo remains until otherwise stated. "As far as I'm aware Paul is staying with Breakfast ... All programmes - including news and current affairs programmes - are continuing, but under review. No decisions have been made yet."

A decision is "unlikely to be reached by the end of this week," a source said.

Network Ten is battling with scarce resources, weak ratings, poor programming strategies, huge debt and a global plunge in advertising revenues. The company has embarked on another strategic review to slash costs and is accepting voluntary redundancies.

TVNZ news boss Ross Dagan won't be drawn on whether a discussion has been held with Henry about fronting Close Up. However, a well-placed source tells The Diary Henry is earmarked and has been approached. Stay tuned.


Garner stays home

TV3 is pulling out the stops in their political coverage of the US election, sending deputy political editor Patrick Gower and 3 News anchor Mike McRoberts to the frontline. Gower will report from Chicago, home to the Obama campaign, while McRoberts will be at the Romney headquarters in Boston.

"Paddy will be a bit like Hurricane Sandy, sweeping through the states of the US causing chaos and mayhem," laughed news boss Mark Jennings. "Seriously, I think he will bring a unique style to bear on the craziness that often surrounds US Presidential campaigns.

"Mike should be nicely warmed up for the election after running in the New York marathon."

Guyon Espiner will host an afternoon election special on November 7 on international current affairs show Three60, but outgoing political editor Duncan Garner will be oddly absent. Garner, who's in a transitional period moving to RadioLive, has been hired to save TV3's current affairs next year. He'll be covering Kiwi politics during the US election and nominated his deputy to go gallivanting.

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen and author of The Diary.

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen, notorious for breaking celebrity scoops and dishing dirt on the country’s best known personalities. She’s feared. She’s loathed. She’s courted by anyone with skeletons in their closet. Rachel knows where the bodies are buried. Mick Jagger wined and dined her. Mike McRoberts devoted a chapter to her in his memoirs. And John Key has her on speed dial.

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