Henry foes, fans evenly split

By Beck Vass

Media commentators say it is likely to be at least a year before Henry's fall from grace is forgiven. Photo / Greg Bowker.
Media commentators say it is likely to be at least a year before Henry's fall from grace is forgiven. Photo / Greg Bowker.

If you want to see Paul Henry back on television soon, you are not alone.

But a Weekend Herald poll shows almost as many people oppose a return of the broadcaster this year.

Media commentators say it is likely to be at least a year before Henry's fall from grace is forgiven after a series of inappropriate comments forced his resignation from TVNZ's Breakfast.

Of 750 people surveyed, 42.1 per cent wanted Henry back on television this year, and almost 40 per cent (39.6) said they did not.

More women (44.3 per cent) than men (41.8 per cent) said they wanted Henry back this year.

But Paul Norris of the Broadcasting School at Christchurch Polytechnic doesn't expect Henry's return to New Zealand screens any time soon.

"What role would he have?" he asked.

There has been talk of Henry appearing in an American reality TV show and he told the Herald on Sunday he'd had "serious studio meetings" with Hollywood producers.

"An American reality show? ... Dream on, is all I would say to that, really," Mr Norris said.

"My instinct is that he will find a slot on radio, for which he's very well suited. Talkback flourishes on opinion - and he's got plenty of those and he's very happy to express them in a very powerful manner.

"He'd need to be ... off our television screens for at least a year before it could be said that he had done his time, as it were."

Mr Norris did not believe a return to New Zealand television could occur while Henry's remarks, which included racist comments about Indians, were still fresh in people's minds and while there were complaints outstanding with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

But media commentator Brian Edwards thought Henry could go to work with TV3 immediately.

"I think he could come back now. I think what this poll may show is that the issue has now sort of vaguely gone away and so you've got quite a lot of people who don't care."

He said a return to TVNZ would be hard because of a rumoured "substantial" golden handshake.

Edwards said there had also been talk of Henry joining Mediaworks, which owns TV3 and Radio Live, possibly in a role combining radio and TV work.

"He's multi-talented ... he can do all of that."

Henry could not be reached for comment.

- NZ Herald

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