The Diary: Blunt words voiced on future of Seven Sharp

Tamati Coffey is a regular Seven Sharp stand-in, but is not confirmed for next year.
Tamati Coffey is a regular Seven Sharp stand-in, but is not confirmed for next year.

Behind the scenes, drama is brewing on TVNZ's daily current affairs show Seven Sharp.

A fiery staff meeting has been held regarding the show's direction, and the advice of external consultants sought in a bid to redefine the show and retain its audience.

A TVNZ rep says they're "always looking for ways to improve and tweak the programme" and internal staff outbursts are "nothing more than working in a high-stress environment and in need of a holiday".

But insiders on the show say the problems run deep. Seven Sharp, they say, is in desperate need of direction and faces serious issues.

"The standard of journalism is too variable and Seven Sharp has lost its target audience. We are meant to appeal to a blue-collar male audience but the show has changed."

Ali Mau and Jesse Mulligan play hosts, but no permanent fixture has been found to replace Greg Boyed, who returned to anchor Tonight. TVNZ tells The Diary it is in no hurry to make an appointment.

Tamati Coffey, the effervescent face of New Zealand's Got Talent, has been the most regular fill-in presenter. Stacey Morrison and Clarke Gayford have also been short-listed.

But many other surprising faces have popped up on the panel, provoking mocking on social media on the state of TVNZ's current affairs.

This week, Morrison, Gayford, his soap star girlfriend Shavaughn Ruakere and Matt Gibb all took turns to front the show alongside stalwart Mau. None are journalists.

Surely a television current affairs show, no matter how cerebral, warrants more from its presenters than an ardent skill in reading an autocue. What happened to all the journos?

This has become the bugbear for some on the show. "The guys from U Live are now on board, too, and it's affecting morale. We feel the programme ... has no credibility," said one employee.

TVNZ reps are quick to dismiss internal drama as part and parcel of conduct in the television industry.

However, Coffey's future with the show has not been confirmed.

Seven Sharp boss Raewyn Rasch did not want to respond, but a TVNZ rep would only say: "There is nothing concrete yet on Tamati's availability next year." Coffey would only respond to queries by email - or through celebrity agent Sara Tetro. She told The Diary: "Tamati has been one of the many faces who has been on Seven Sharp's revolving door of hosts. Whether he stays or goes in 2014 is not decided. But there is a ratings spike when he is on the panel."

Just who will be on the panel next year remains the question.

Garner to replace Lush

It's musical chairs at RadioLive. Marcus Lush is taking two weeks of paternity leave from Monday, as his baby is due, and drive host Duncan Garner will fill in on the breakfast show. Paul Henry will return to his old afternoon stomping ground and take the reins of Garner's show.

12 Questions Diary-style

1. Which politician chatted up a 20-something waiter at an Auckland hotspot, exchanged numbers and later went out on a date, but rebuffed further advances because the young hospo darling was drawing government handouts?

2. Which married member of Parliament, quite au fait with happy-family publicity, was secretly linked to another politico - an outspoken lovely from across the party divide?

3. Why did Simon Dallow, ordinarily the publicity-shy TVNZ anchor, gatecrash the Herald's masquerade-themed Christmas party last week? Er, lion's den.

4. Which famous Mr Telly, in an all-out wooing assault, propositioned two high-profile media women after a recent awards bash with the barefaced request: "You two fancy a threesome?" Little surprise he was spurned.

5. How many weeks of dishes and dirty nappies will Dan Carter endure after his gallivanting adventures in NYC? While Honor sits at home minding Marco, Dan's globe-trotting with the lads. "Wish you were here with me," he tweeted his wife on Wednesday from Elton John's concert at Madison Square Garden. Later he posed with the superstar backstage. Dog box, Dan.

6. How many pairs of shoes did Sonny Bill Williams buy this week while Christmas shopping in Dubai? 30! "For the family," he tweeted. Basketballer Steven Adams bought gumboots. Big ones.

7. Is Don Brash for real? He's picking Rodney Hide as best new leader for the Act party. Amusing, given he rolled him as leader just two years ago.

8. Will Zoe Marshall (Benji's prettier half) stop with the inane product placement plugs and celeb self-help quotes on Twitter and Instagram and show how smart she really is? We saw her steal the show at the TV3 new season launch. Girl's got talent. Zoe, stop trying to be a Kardashian - we have the Ridges for that.

9. TVNZ's Craig Stanaway and his partner, Maya, have named their newborn son ... (drum roll) Craig Stanaway jnr. Bless. Will he follow in dad's footsteps?

10. Mistress of the dark arts Lorde, 17, was papped a fortnight ago by Kiwi photographers on a North Shore beach in the arms of her 25-year-old boyfriend and wearing a YELLOW FLORAL BIKINI. Good for her Goth cred?

11. Will John Banks return to his media muck-raking days of talkback, as close friends suggest? Or will he join Seven Sharp's non-stop panel rotation?

12. Which fashionably challenged couple did stylist Pebbles Hooper run into at Hong Kong's trendy IT boutique last week? Shopaholics MIKATE.

- NZ Herald

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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