The Diary: DeGeneres digs One News dance

Peter Williams maintains a convincingly serious posture while Matai Smith dances. Photo / YouTube
Peter Williams maintains a convincingly serious posture while Matai Smith dances. Photo / YouTube

Likeable curmudgeon Peter Williams appeared on a popular United States talk show last week as the apparent unwitting victim of a secret dance competition.

The clip screened to millions of viewers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and later to an audience of almost 400,000 on YouTube.

The TVNZ anchor, who can be seen on the set of One News preparing for a bulletin, is supposedly unaware that Good Morning te reo teacher Matai Smith is dancing behind him.

Smith was taped dancing and TVNZ sent the clip to DeGeneres' show as part of her dance dare competition.

The idea is to dance around people without them knowing about it. Smith's segment won Ellen's attention and a US$100 JC Penney gift voucher.

It features on YouTube as part of her global dance dare segment with entries from Austria, Guatemala, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

Williams was in on the joke from the beginning. "It was a set-up, but Peter was a really good sport," Smith said.

"I guess we will need to go halves on the voucher when we get it - or trade it in for one at The Warehouse."

Williams said he thought the taping was just for Good Morning.

"I just had to sit there looking stern, but I didn't realise the clip was going global."

Smith is ecstatic: "My friend said, 'Keisha Castle-Hughes may have been the first Maori on Oprah, but you're the first Maori on Ellen'."

SURFING THE BREAKERS

The Prime Minister sent his best wishes to the SkyCity Breakers on Tuesday, but others were quieter. Mike Hosking has had a commercial link with SkyCity but the broadcaster had other things to do than plug the casino-backed team and cheer courtside, as injured Blues rugby players Ali Williams and Jerome Kaino did.

Wife Kate Hawkesby, on the other hand, used her social media voice to endorse SkyCity's award-winning eatery Depot. "Every dish is delish," she chirped.

Hosking, meanwhile, was busy playing an offensive game of his own. He used the NewstalkZB pulpit to espouse the demise of TVNZ 7 - due, he said, to the lack of funds and cumulative audience - which prompted a lashing from the left, with Labour broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran retorting: "He forgets that there are some really clever professionals out there who can see through his spin."

Evidently only 9847 people. That's the number who've signed the online petition, Save TVNZ 7, to fight to keep public service television before it fizzles out in June.

Metro columnist Steve Braunias, a regular on TVNZ 7's The Good Word, said he didn't sign it.

"It would have felt a bit hypocritical, because I didn't actually watch much of anything on TVNZ 7. I never watched The Good Word. My daughter and her mother didn't watch it either."

Hosking, too, said no one saw his appearance on TVNZ 7. "If no one sees it, then it's nothing more than a state-funded job scheme."

Arguably similar to the government-devised SkyCity convention centre under debate.

BOWDEN BREAKFAST? NOT LIKELY

Despite The Diary's best efforts in touting a couple of cerebral names for the Breakfast couch, TVNZ management have their own ideas.

Sources close to Dominic Bowden suggest he could be replacing Corin Dann when he departs for the parliamentary press gallery next month, but we're not sold on the idea.

Bowden's agent said she didn't know where the rumour had come from.

"But he would be back in New Zealand like a shot if the right show comes up."

Bowden, who shifted to Los Angeles and worked as TVNZ's sometime correspondent, has recently been employed on Simon Cowell's X Factor working on production.

He offered inside scoops, blogging for TV3 - the rival network screening X Factor - about Paula Abdul's ex-babysitter and Cowell's lavish trailer and fascination for mammaries.

Sources say he was miffed TVNZ overlooked him for New Zealand's Got Talent, instead giving the hosting duties to likeable weatherman Tamati Coffey ... ironically from Breakfast.

Bowden has an energetic appeal best suited to reality talent shows.

He has fronted New Zealand Idol, The Next Great American Band and Are You Smarter than a Ten Year Old?

But is hosting a show that tries to outwit a child good grounding for interviewing national newsmakers?

Breakfast has endured flagging ratings since the days of Paul Henry and Pippa Wetzell.

Dann, no slouch in the intellect department, was brought in, but told to "develop" his personality.

A senior TVNZ source told The Diary Petra Bagust was given journalism coaching at the company on how to interview subjects and temper her zeal.

Bowden and Bagust cut their teeth on Telethons, talent quests, youth series and game shows, the likes of which Breakfast, a morning news talk programme, cannot be weighed against.

Its roving reporters do not need to outwit, outplay and outlast each other, and the presenters do not need to be poster kids for television-on-Ritalin.

We doubt that the rumour of Bowden and Bagust hosting Breakfast is true. TVNZ publicist Stephanie Taylor would neither confirm nor deny it. "All I can say is we're very close to signing someone."

Bowden is a talented TV star, but news broadcaster? Um, we're not so sure. We applaud his effervescence, but his upbeat zing each morning may be enough to give a Nurofen a headache.

BLOODSUCKER BROTHERS

With Boy opening in Hawaii at the weekend, director Taika Waititi is busy developing his next projects - a vampire comedy movie with Jemaine Clement to shoot in New Zealand; a World War II Nazi comedy flick filming in Europe this year; and an American adaptation of his Super City television comedy for the ABC network.

On vampires, Waititi told an American film website that he and Clement plan to finally kill the genre made popular by Twilight.

"We actually came up with the idea in, like, 2005, when no one was making vampire films and the only films that were coming out was something like Blade, or Underworld. We were like, man, vampires are f*****g lame, no one's into vampire movies - let's make a vampire movie.

"And it took us five years to write a script and get our s*** together ... and now vampires are lame again. So it's kind of cool to come in at the end of the reign of the vampire stuff."

- NZ Herald

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