Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Race on for Close Up 2 as Sainsbury signs off

Pippa Wetzell (left), Miriama Kamo (centre), and Alison Mau (right) are show contenders. Photo / Supplied
Pippa Wetzell (left), Miriama Kamo (centre), and Alison Mau (right) are show contenders. Photo / Supplied

TVNZ is moving quickly to set up a new "infotainment" show to replace Close Up, industry insiders say.

One insider said that during a recent visit to TVNZ's Auckland studios he could not get into styling or the green room - and rumours suggested stars for the new show were meeting stylists.

"It was all very secret squirrel. The word was it was to do with what's happening at 7 o'clock."

The style of the show is a secret but suggestions are that it could follow the lead of Australian "infotainment" show The Project.

The Network Ten show features newsreader Carrie Bickmore and comedians Charlie Pickering and Dave Hughes discussing news events.

Paul Norris, a senior staff member at the New Zealand Broadcasting School at Christchurch Polytechnic, said there had been indications TVNZ would go "downmarket into something that is more entertainment- driven than information-driven".

"I've even heard suggestions it might involve some comedy.

"I don't know whether it would be run by comedians but you might have people with certain comic element who might form a panel to discuss stories of the day."

Close Up will finish as TV One's nightly half-hour current affairs programme today, ending Mark Sainsbury's six years at the helm. Close Up has also been hosted by Susan Wood, with fill-ins from Paul Henry, Mike Hosking and Greg Boyed.

Henry has ruled out a return, but other contenders include TVNZ's Sunday presenter Miriama Kamo, Fair Go host Alison Mau, or former Breakfast host and now One News website presenter Pippa Wetzell, who has been making a slow comeback following the birth of her third child in February last year.

TVNZ said the replacement programme would have "a distinctively different format" but "we're absolutely not saying anything".

- NZ Herald

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