Paul Henry says TVNZ 'begged' him to host a 7pm show

TVNZ admits it has had "multiple conversations with Paul Henry over the years" but wouldn't confirm it had "begged" Henry to host a 7pm current affairs show.

Responding to Henry's claims this morning that TVNZ "begged" him to join them, a TVNZ spokesperson said: "It's a small industry and I'm sure there have been multiple conversations with Paul Henry over the years - whether or not there was any begging, I couldn't say."

Henry told viewers he didn't want to host 7pm, while addressing a Weekend Herald report that he is set to takeover Story's prime time slot, replacing Duncan Garner and Heather du Plessis-Allan.

Read more: Paul Henry to take over TV3's primetime slot

"It's not true at all. I have on many occasions been offered 7 o'clock, not just by this network but by the opposition network, TVNZ, who practically begged me to do it," he said.

"On every occasion I said no, because I don't want to do it."

It's understood Henry was TVNZ's first choice for Seven Sharp when the programme was originally created in 2012.

Instead, Ali Mau, Greg Boyed and Jesse Mulligan fronted the show, before Mike Hosking and Toni Street took over.

Henry claimed the Herald "was specifically told" that rumours he was heading to host a 7pm show on TV3 weren't true.

But the only contact the Herald has received from Mediaworks came on Friday afternoon, when a spokesperson said there would be "no comment" on the story. No further communications have been received from the broadcaster.

Henry repeated the denial in an interview with Fairfax, saying if it was to happen, he'd be the one to announce it.

"I am an exceptionally good communicator. If there was a change of this significance you can expect that I would be the one to communicate it," he said.

Last week, the Herald reported Henry will move to 7pm, with Garner taking over the morning slot, currently fronted by Henry, Ingrid Hipkiss, Jim Kayes and Verity Johnson.

It came after TVNZ confirmed it was replacing its Breakfast hosts Rawdon Christie and Nadine Chalmers-Ross with Jack Tame and former TV3 presenter Hilary Barry.

- NZ Herald

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