Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Henry: 'I don't care whether (Channel 10) viewers actually like me'

Paul Henry doesn't mind if the Aussies don't like him. Photo / Doug Sherring
Paul Henry doesn't mind if the Aussies don't like him. Photo / Doug Sherring

Controversial broadcaster Paul Henry says he doesn't mind if viewers of his new show on Australian television don't like him - as long as they are entertained.

Australian media have put the chances of Channel 10 successfully cracking the lucrative breakfast market squarely on Henry's shoulders.

Henry has claimed to be relaxed ahead of the network's new Breakfast show's launch, which has not been confirmed but is rumoured to be by the end of the month.

"Normally, when you start something new, you are worried about not pissing off the people [already watching]. We have virtually no one to lose," he told the Herald Sun.

"I don't care whether viewers actually like me, but I want them to be entertained by me. I don't want people to watch just because they are outraged by me, but if being outraged by me entertains them, then I'm happy."

Channel 10's decision to take on the incumbent breakfast shows on rival networks Seven and Nine has raised eyebrows in the Australian industry.

The breakfast TV revenue market is estimated to be worth A$72 million ($93 million), and considered a key battleground as it influences viewership at other times of the day.

Henry will co-host with TV presenter Andrew Rochford and journalist Kathryn Robinson - but has been labelled the "X factor" of the group by Australian media.

"Given his tendency to polarise, he will either be the reason the show works, or the reason it fails. Anything in between is unlikely," wrote Michael Idato of the Sydney Morning Herald last week.

Henry has confirmed he will receive a pay-packet of more than $1 million for his new role.

He will stop his drive time show for RadioLive in March and become the station's Australian correspondent.

He will continue to work for TV3 with comedy panel show Would I Lie To You? premiering on Sunday at 7pm.

- NZ Herald

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