Summer Diary: Seven Sharp delays return to air

Toni Street is one of the new faces on controversial TV One current affairs show Seven Sharp.
Toni Street is one of the new faces on controversial TV One current affairs show Seven Sharp.

Seven Sharp will return to air with a new executive producer, supervising producer and two new hosts - but the start date has been delayed a week.

TVNZ has resuscitated the "infotainment" show with a new presenting line-up and a new direction.

But the on-air date, first scheduled for January 20, has been pushed back to January 27 to implement the changes.

"It's not a biggie, it's good to have that time up our sleeve. It gives the team more time to prepare," a TVNZ rep told The Diary.

However, it means Seven Sharp no longer has a seven-day lead with viewers over its TV3 competition, Campbell Live.

Instead, both daily news shows will return on the same date.

Pete Cronshaw, a former reporter on TVNZ's current affairs show Sunday, will executive produce the Seven Sharp programme with Mike Hosking, Toni Street and Jesse Mulligan as anchors.

Jonathan Williams, formerly from Breakfast, will be supervising producer.

"Pete is a nice guy and very good on current affairs, but he's a bit limited in the news area," said a well-placed source.

Cronshaw replaces Raewyn Rasch at the helm, who will remain at TVNZ in a job yet to be announced. "We are currently finding her a senior role," said a rep.

In December, this column reported that Rasch would be another casualty from the show, as confirmed by a TVNZ spokesperson. However, in an emotional meeting with staff at that time, Rasch, through tears, said she was not exiting. Two days later, she confirmed her departure in an email to the team.

A staff member said: "Raewyn didn't know she was going to get the axe. It appears your Herald article was the first she heard that she was going - like Ali Mau."

Mau learned from this column that TVNZ had secret plans to change the Seven Sharp presenting line-up, which did not include her. She has moved to RadioLive to co-host the midday show with Willie Jackson. A start date is yet to be announced.

Rasch did not return calls yesterday, but sources say there are no hard feelings between her and Cronshaw, who remain good friends.

The ruthless changes at Seven Sharp - in presenters, bosses and strategy - heralds a dogged fresh start for the show that's regarded as one of the most expensive embarrassments in TVNZ history.

A dismal year of ratings and reviews forced TVNZ execs to take stock and revamp the programme to a more palatable daily current affairs show. TVNZ has wiped the slate clean.

Staff met on Monday over lunch and sources say there is a feeling of positivity brimming.

Broadcaster rejects Dotcom overture

Wallace Chapman has turned down an offer to stand for Kim Dotcom's new political party.

The broadcaster was approached by a party insider - who he won't name - but declined the offer because he's not interested in entering the political fray.

"I was asked to put my hand up for the Kim Dotcom party, and I was hugely humbled to have been asked, but I said no. I'm fascinated with politics, but I'm not interested in standing as leader or as a candidate for a political party. I've never joined a political party and I'm quite proud of that," he told The Diary.

Chapman, a radio and television broadcaster, fronts Back Benches, a political interview show on Prime. He is leaving RadioLive to take up the reins of Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning show, which he says is yet to have a start date.

Dotcom is launching a new political party but details are scarce. He has said he will announce more on Monday.

Many questions remain, not least of all what space the party will occupy politically.

Besides personal vengeance against John Key, it is unclear where Dotcom's political views lie: left, right or centre.

Interestingly, in an interview with commentators Mike Williams and Michelle Boag on his RadioLive show on Monday, Chapman inadvertently revealed a few policies central to Dotcom's party.

"Some big issues he wants to push are our spy laws, the role of the Government Communications Security Bureau in our society and in our country, and the way that our fibre connectivity is woefully outdated," Chapman said on-air.

Dotcom can't stand for Parliament because he is not a New Zealand citizen, but he can play a role in the party as leader or president without being a candidate.

As for Chapman, being a member of Parliament will never be on the CV. "I was asked by a Labour MP years ago to run, but I turned that down too."

Brekkie shows size up
Early-morning rolling news programme Firstline returns to TV3 on Monday with not one, but two presenters. Sacha McNeil and Michael Wilson will helm the breakfast show.

TVNZ's Breakfast returns next Monday too, but who will be at the helm is anyone's guess. Toni Street has left the show to co-host Seven Sharp, and no replacement has been named. TVNZ said yesterday that the show was "likely to use a temporary fill-in alongside Rawdon [Christie] until a permanent can be found."

The state broadcaster appears disorganised and unprepared as it kicks off the new year. We hope it's not a forecast of what's to come.
The Hairy Maclary MP
Does David Cunliffe look sexier and brawnier with his new summer beard? Media stars Duncan Garner and Hadyn Jones have adopted the holiday facial scruff too, but unlike the Labour leader, they needn't worry about a little facial hair going a long way to being unrecognisable in an election year. Evidently Cunliffe had the same thought. The holiday stubble was gone by lunchtime. He returned to work on Monday "feeling fit and ready for a big year".

- NZ Herald

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