Two of the hosts of TVNZ's new 7pm show have hit back at critics for writing off the programme before it goes to air.
Ali Mau, who will present Seven Sharp with comedian Jesse Mulligan and former newsreader Greg Boyed, said the public had been "misled a little bit, not by us [but] by commentators, who ... really know nothing about the programme".
Speaking to Newstalk ZB, the former Fair Go presenter said the show would feature interviews, live commentators and hard-hitting stories.
''[People] have been misled into believing the programme won't have any harder stories, and that's not true at all.''
Mau also revealed the show would use new software allowing viewers to interact directly with the hosts.
"The three hosts will have screens that we'll be able to select real-time comments from and debate with the viewers and bring their viewpoint directly into the programme," she said.
"You can't leave the viewers behind and expect them to sit politely on the couch and swallow everything you say, you have to give them a chance to respond."
Meanwhile, Mulligan responded to the critics with some scathing satire on his popular food blog.
The comedian referred to Seven Sharp as the fictional new establishment Seven, which he was certain would be the worst restaurant in Auckland despite not having eaten there.
He skewered those who objected to Close Up being taken off air and pointed out that Holmes was blasted when it debuted.
"When Seven opens on the 4th of February I certainly won't be eating there. It's going to be the worst restaurant in Auckland, and I'm going to spend that night like I've spent the last eleven nights: sitting on my couch at home angrily drinking shiraz, staring at the wall and wondering why I care this much about someone else's restaurant."
Mulligan compared Seven Sharp's promise to provide smaller segments of news to a restaurant serving tapas.
"Yeah, I know tapas are big in Spain. F*** Spain."
The show, which replaces Close Up, starts on Monday.
Mau said she was very excited about it, but also quite nervous.
"[I'm] quite confident that it'll be a hit."
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