TVNZ dumps low-rating entertainment show

By Claire Trevett

TVNZ is cancelling its entertainment show Headliners after it failed to do the crucial job of attracting younger viewers to watch the 6pm news.

Headliners, fronted by Jason Reeves and Renee Wright, screens at 5.30pm on weeknights.

It was initially listed as a returning show at TVNZ's 2006 programme launch, but its end was widely expected because it rated badly and was a damaging lead-in for One News.

TVNZ assistant chief executive Stephen Smith said it had been hoped that a change in programming would strengthen the lead-in to the news.

He said Headliners staff had worked hard but the show simply did not rate well. A new programme "that has wider appeal" would be announced in the new year.

The decision was part of a revamp of the entire early evening schedule on TV One to address the falling ratings of One News, especially in the metropolitan younger demographics.

Overall, Headliners averaged about 138,000 viewers a night, compared with Home and Away's 239,000, according to AGB Nielsen Media Research.

Headliners was delivering to One News less than a quarter of the number of viewers in the Auckland 25-to-54 age group that Home and Away was delivering to 3 News.

Headliners started at the beginning of last year. Its demise follows that of fellow youth news show Flipside, which was pulled from TV2 in November last year due to low ratings.

News chief Bill Ralston said the Headliners presenters were on fixed-term contracts specifically for the show, as were most of the other staff.

It is the third news and current affairs show axed in three months.

Headliners will screen for the last time on December 23.

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