Sainsbury to head Close Up

Mark Sainsbury has been named the new host for current affairs programme Close-Up, beating out Television New Zealand (TVNZ) colleague Paul Henry for the role.

The position was made vacant after host Susan Wood unexpectedly resigned on December 4 following a cancer scare.

Sainsbury had been support host, alongside Wood.

TVNZ Head of News and Current Affairs Bill Ralston said he was delighted to have a journalist of Sainsbury's ability and experience at the helm of Close Up.

"Mark is a consummate broadcaster with an outstanding News and Current Affairs pedigree.

"As Susan's co-presenter, Mark has been an important part of the Close Up success story this year. It is fantastic to have him on board for 2007."

Sainsbury said he was excited by the opportunity to front the programme fulltime.

"It's one of the great jobs in current affairs.

"Close Up is a terrific show put together by a wonderful team. I enjoy working on the show immensely and I'm very much looking forward to putting my own stamp on it."

A TVNZ spokeswoman said Paul Henry, co-presenter of the Breakfast news show, would be the new support host for Close Up.

Close Up's final programme this year will be on Friday -- a one-hour show presented by Sainsbury.

The programme returns on January 22.

- NZPA

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