Rachel Glucina 's Opinion

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen and author of The Diary.

The Diary: Hosking factor seems to be sharp at seven

One night's viewership well over twice that of Campbell Live.

Seven Sharp presenters Mike Hosking, Toni Street and Jesse Mulligan.
Seven Sharp presenters Mike Hosking, Toni Street and Jesse Mulligan.

TVNZ's daily current affairs show Seven Sharp is basking in the glow of a recent ratings success which can be attributed to a number of factors, not least "the Hosking effect".

Two months in and Seven Sharp has consistently built its average audience numbers per episode, with the last two weeks up nearly 20 per cent on last year.

Last Wednesday saw the show hit its highest-rating episode since the show debuted in February 2013, delivering a viewership well over twice that of rival Campbell Live. It was also the first time TV One won the coveted timeslot against TV2's Shortland Street.

On that night, Seven Sharp pulled in 485,750 viewers (aged 5 and over), Shortie drew 375,470 and Campbell 177,200, Nielsen figures show.

Media commentator Regan Cunliffe from TV website Throng credits the appearance of Hosking this year as the driving factor in the turnaround of the show.

"Seven Sharp was a bit of an experiment for TVNZ in 2013, but I'd suggest that Hosking is more interested in establishing his brand than playing with it. He was brought in to fix the problem and looking at the numbers, they certainly suggest he's doing that," Cunliffe said.

Hosking's experience as a broadcaster has lifted Seven Sharp's game. But there are other contributing factors to the show's improved ratings.

Consistency, for starters. The absence of a rotating panel of unfamiliar faces has brought steadiness and reliability. Hosking and co-hosts Toni Street and Jesse Mulligan present a tight ship. It's more streamlined, cleaner and less confusing for viewers. The panel appear to like each other and work together well.

Mulligan is in the studio on Mondays and Fridays, and plays roaming reporter during the week. The pairing of Hosking and Street as a twosome has changed the dynamic of the show and brought an intimacy. It is said TVNZ bosses sweetened the deal for Mulligan by offering him Best Bits, previously hosted by Te Radar.

Last year there was a drama every week - staff were dumped, driven out or jumped ship. But sources say the vibe behind the scenes now is more contented thanks to the leadership team of executive producer Pete Cronshaw and supervising producer Jonathan Williams.

TVNZ news boss John Gillespie told The Diary this week he was very pleased with Seven Sharp's performance.

"In the last couple of weeks the show has reached a new ratings level, which is great. Our viewers are generous in their feedback, and they can see the show has a real energy, they are enjoying that spark. The whole Seven Sharp team is delivering some great content, they're working hard to tell unique homegrown stories every day. We're having fun and delivering some must-watch television in the process."

Kim and Paula in fat fight

Move over Colin Craig, there's another thin-skinned ego with political aspirations. Kim Dotcom, the tycoon from Coatesville, took umbrage with comments made on air by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett on Monday.

Asked by Duncan Garner if she's the secret MP signing to Dotcom's Internet Party (to be launched tomorrow - again), Ms Bennett broke into a fit of giggles: "I don't think you'll see me cuddling a fat German any time!"

Dotcom took to Twitter seething.

"Anti-Social Development Minister & Fashion Icon Paula Bennett just called me a 'Fat German' on Radio," he harrumphed ... then posted a very old and very unflattering pic of the cabinet minister who has shed weight recently.

Wright stuff for Henry

Intimate photos of TV3 star Paul Henry, 53, holding hands, sipping wine and frolicking in the shallows of Waiheke's Man O'War Bay with co-star Rebecca Wright, 33, are spread over the pages of a woman's magazine this week. They are paparazzi pics taken with a long lens. Sources close to the pair tell The Diary their buddy-buddy friendship is "strictly platonic".

Linzi Dryburgh, Henry's longtime partner, lives with the newsman and his three daughters in Albany, and is soon to be holidaying with her mother around the Greek Islands.

Cameron Williams, Wright's beau, is a strapping cameraman who jumped ship from TV3 to TVNZ this month. He has been dating the gung-ho reporter for the past four years.

Bottom line is, Cam's a Thor-lookalike; Henry is not.

Dagg still partying

They got engaged in January and announced it with a paid-for story, but 11 weeks later have finally celebrated with a party. All Black Israel Dagg and fiancee Daisy Aitken toasted their engagement in Christchurch at the weekend with friends and family, including Dagg's sister Makeesha who posted pics to Twitter. Let's hope the party wasn't a sleeping pill and booze-induced bender.


Tashy Johnson (left) and Makeesha Dagg with her All Black brother Israel Dagg at his engagement party at the weekend (from @makeesha - D).

Dann in jam

While John Key was in China having a headline-grabbing love-in with the Premier, the press pool trailed. Some took time out of the hectic jaunt later with a spot of impulse retail therapy in Hong Kong, including TVNZ political editor Corin Dann. He shopped for musical instruments - guitars, actually. He was snapped performing an impromptu "shop jam" for customers. Dann, who's taken to the stage at TVNZ Christmas parties and belted out rock tunes, let rip in the store. He left after buying only an amp.


Corin Dann having an impromptu shop jam (from Paddy Gower's Instagram).

Big shoes to fill

3rd Degree returns to air tonight, but will need to do better in primetime this year if it's to avoid going the way of its former sister show The Vote - scrapped. Sam Hayes has stepped into Guyon Espiner's esteemed loafers. But they're big ones to fill. She has the celebrity factor, but does she have the credibility? Some say it would've been more plausible and sensible to elevate investigative reporter Paula Penfold to co-host alongside Duncan Garner. Hayes will need to step up and work hard to deserve the position she's been given.

Oi oi oi

PS: Stone the flamin' crows! Political tongues were lashing last week that Greens co-leader Russel Norman was taking diction lessons to sound more Kiwi. But the Ocker says he's proud of his fair dinkum Aussie accent. Strewth.

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen and author of The Diary.

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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