The Diary: Holt bolts after year of living dangerously on air

Hayley Holt said her gaffe with alcohol is not why she quit. Photo / APN
Hayley Holt said her gaffe with alcohol is not why she quit. Photo / APN

It's been a controversial year for broadcaster Hayley Holt, who is saying goodbye to More FM after just a year in the job. The station was counting on the sports presenter to boost its breakfast show ratings alongside Marc Ellis and Stu Tolan, but Holt made headlines for being affected by alcohol on the radio.

She says the decision to go was tough. "When Marc Ellis left [in September] it made me think about things. And then I got the amazing opportunity to go to Russia for a month next year, and I had to choose what I wanted. I will definitely miss my time on radio, but not those 4.45am starts!"

Holt, a former snowboarding champion, will cover the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, for Sky Television in February and will continue to co-host Prime's popular sports show The Crowd Goes Wild with Andrew Mulligan and Mark Richardson.

She says leaving More FM has had nothing to do with the on-air controversy in June.

"The decision to go was not based on that. But I do admit I made mistakes - and I was reprimanded for them. It was definitely a big stuff-up, but I've grown from it. I've learned my lessons," she tells The Diary.

Holt says she still drinks alcohol, but will never be affected by it on air again. At the suggestion not many personalities could have survived such a scandal, Holt laughs: "I only just survived!"

MediaWorks Radio has decided to return to its roots and a winning formula. Simon Barnett and Gary McCormick's high-rating More FM breakfast show, based in Christchurch, will be syndicated into Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Waikato from next year.

For the company, this signals a return to a safe, reliable and traditional format, rather than the experimentation of trying to target a younger demographic in the Auckland market.

Tolan now moves to an afternoon show with Joe Cotton, and Clarke Gayford, the current Drive host, is moving from More FM to a new role within MediaWorks Radio, to be announced.

Small-screen killings

Three New Zealand actors are leading the nominations in the prestigious Astra Awards honouring Australia's subscription television industry.

Danielle Cormack, Robbie Magasiva and Aaron Jeffery are 2014 finalists in the best actor/actress categories for their roles in the TV drama Wentworth. But as their careers skyrocket in Oz, television luvvies here face an uncertain future mourning the loss of jobs and several local programmes.

Who needs the Grim Reaper when TV network programme directors are wielding the scythe?

This year, entertainment undertakers have executed many of our beloved favourites, from long-running news show Nightline to drama series The Almighty Johnsons, Go Girls, Nothing Trivial and daily gimmick Seven Sharp, which is less dead, more comatose. Seven Sharp: Part Two will have the most dramatic rewrite.

Even Anna Guy's TV career appears to have come to a swift end. Her much-hyped third autobiographical report for TV3's 3rd Degree never eventuated. Word is, execs were miffed she peddled the story of her pregnancy to other news outlets. The show's executive producer is loath to discuss her. Guy's struggle in the current affairs game is no surprise. Neither is the ill-fated Seven Sharp. Its reincarnation next year - with Mike Hosking, Toni Street and Jesse Mulligan and harder-hitting stories - is sure to keep traditionalist viewers, news buffs and the old-fashioned TV advertising income model happy.

Television drama is coming back - albeit a lot of it in smaller, digestible morsels. New Zealand on Air is committing to more funding for local drama in 2014, but with a focus on one- to two-hour mini-series rather than full season dramas.

No first Act role for Boag

Michelle Boag pooh-poohs rumours she is considering a run for Act's Epsom seat. The former National Party president was a guest at an Act party dinner recently and gossip started swirling. "No, I'm not considering a run," she told The Diary. "They have plenty of great young contenders for that. But I do believe there should be more co-operation between the parties. National and Act are not enemies. Neither can be in government without the other."

SOE sales PM's asset

John Key has turned the asset sales controversy into a marketing campaign for his JK wine for Christmas. Twenty-five dozen bottles of the exclusive Central Otago Pinot Noir were made to raise money for charity, although a few have gone to prime ministerial favourites as Chrissie presents.

"You have in your hands a national treasure, a liquid asset that everyone would like to own," the wine label reads. "Straight from the heart of Central Otago, I give you the fifth term of JK - as exciting in promise and delivery as the first. Which is something the vines that yielded this Pinot Noir could teach us all - how to stand strong when it's inclement and steadfastly produce the goods.

"So go ahead. Pour with anticipation, admire its confident red hues (a colour, incidentally, I indulge in wine ... and socks), take in the dark, spicy blackberry and mocha aromatics and indulge in its lithe, silky, elegant texture, density and length.

"But not all of it, mind, just 49%. I'll be keeping the other 51."

Len's miffed namesake

First there was Patrick Gower of Kent, England, who was the unwitting recipient of a flurry of tweets last year destined for his namesake in the press gallery. Now Len Brown the Scottish TV producer is being confused with Auckland's lame duck mayor. Hey people, @LenBrown is not @mayorlenbrown.

Fed up with the mistaken identity, the creative Brit has changed his Twitter bio, which reads: "Len Brown writer, TV producer/director. NB I am not the dodgy Kiwi mayor who 'shares' my name! "Feel free to ridicule him @mayorlenbrown."

- NZ Herald

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