It is a matter of fact that Mark Weldon departed MediaWorks with a Bravo. That being the name of the channel, of course, that replaces Four, unveiled by the company's chief executive the day before he found himself whooshing along the rubbish chute down which he'd previously ushered so many TV3ers. A joint venture with NBC, Bravo is apparently targeted at the viewing appetites of women, and promises a fresh crop of reality television, including The Real Housewives of Auckland.
Weldon reportedly said this week that New Zealand in fact has a "very low" quotient of reality TV, and there is room for more, more, more. By contrast, his Edward Scissorhands approach of the newsroom suggests he's much less enamoured of news and current affairs. And while the debris of the old 3 News team have evidently delivered a Schadenfreude-powered economic stimulus to Auckland liquor retailers this week, the MediaWorks board has emphasised that the strategy remains firmly in the Weldonian mode.
Given that, the best hope for expanded coverage of topical matters may be to give them a shot of reality steroids. Isn't news, after all, reality on television? All it needs is some panel work and tinted windows. So: so long then, Mr Weldon, but as you go, and in the interests of helping your successors, here are some sizzling thoughts on ways to present the events of the week in a reality-TV format. Or as a game show, because they're cool, too.
The Koru Hour, or Nobody Puts Johnny in the Corner
A bit like one of those shows set in an airport, but in this case confined to the Air NZ elite flyer lounge.
Koru Lounges are in the news, of course, having been invoked by the Prime Minister to explain, in the wake of the Panama Papers kerfuffle, what happened a couple of years ago when his personal lawyer, Ken Whitney, raised the subject of New Zealand foreign trust laws. He had simply directed him to the Revenue Minister, Todd McClay. There's a bit of confusion about what the PM did or didn't say to his lawyer about the status of an IRD review of the relevant laws, but you can be assured that Mr Whitney erred in some way, according to Mr Key. Mr Whitney's claim that the PM had advised him there were no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime could be explained by "sloppy wording", said the PM. Or maybe it was "shorthand" - you know, the kind of shorthand when you say "he advised [etc]" when what you mean is "he said nothing". Simple as that.
But where were we? That's right: The Koru Hour. The PM elaborated on his accessibility this week by saying he did not live in a "test tube" nor in a "vacuum", and certainly not "off away in the corner" of the Koru Lounge. "I stand out in the middle" of the lounge, he explained, where "people come up to me from all walks of life". When a question was put to the PM in Parliament about his encounters with Koru members, he helpfully clarified: "I said I am in the Koru Lounge and I talk to people. I did not say I talk to Koru Lounge members." Those are actual, verbatim quotes.
In The Koru Hour, then, a mix of gritty cinma vrit and fluffy talk-show, the Prime Minister will greet visitors to the Koru Lounge, make them trim lattes while cracking barrister vs barista jokes, and direct them to the appropriate departure gate or cabinet minister. For a bit of comic relief, Toddy McClay, like a bundle of hay, will bounce about the place, eyes darting back and forth like pinballs, trying to work out which one isn't the Prime Minister's lawyer.
Sponsored by Jetstar
Rare, Medium and Weldon
In this innovative twist on the Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares format, change agent Mark Weldon will arrive at happy but complacent steakhouses and revolutionise their menus, replacing all the boring cuts of meat with a range of snackable and calorific goodies including road chops, beach chops, border chops and Gold Coast chops.
Sponsored by some chops
New Zealand's Next Top Fraudster
Members of the Overseas Investment Office learn how to use advanced online digital information technology web-internet tools such as "the Google", so they can investigate the character of foreign would-be purchasers of New Zealand land and companies by typing, for example, the applicant's name and "fraud" into the search field.
Sponsored by MySpace
The Mayoral Job
A new local series which sees mayoral candidate extraordinaire John Palino saving other mayoral campaigns from the brink of ruin.
Sponsored by John Palino
The US Presidential Campaign
Just the US presidential campaign, really. Possibly too implausible to qualify as "reality".
Sponsored by the Pyongyang Tourist Board
My First Home
A group of hilarious and desperate thirty-somethings set about trying to buy their first home in Auckland. They forego holidays to Bali, give up leased BMWs and Sky TV, and sell their plasma screens and blood plasma in an effort to save a deposit, which by one agent's measure rose by $1344 a day for a median-priced house through March and April. They all live in a bus driven by Nick Smith, who screams around pointing excitedly at traffic roundabouts.
Sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson
Squeal of Fortune
The cut and thrust of real-world politics with the Labour Party, where caucus members and staff shout furiously at each announcement issued by the government in the hope that one will gain media traction. For sheer nostalgia, to be set in the Sky City box at Eden Park.
Sponsored by the National Party
The cut and thrust of real-world politics with the Green Party, where strategic communications staff deliver piping hot OIA-based exclusives to a range of media, raise the middle finger at political editors, before announcing that tomorrow is their last day.
Sponsored by Flammable Organics
That's Right, Sunshine!
The cut and thrust of real-world politics with the NZ First Party, where Winston Peters watches video clips of his own parliamentary performances over the decades and offers a running commentary.
Sponsored by the Green Parrot Cafe
An insight into the way the United Nations works, we follow PM John Key as he greets two world leaders in two days to New Zealand. He takes the opportunity to seek their support for Helen Clark's Secretary-General candidacy. But - over to the audience! - which leader should he focus his attention on? The leader from a regional powerhouse and second most populous country in the world, or the leader from the a mid-ranking nation with roughly one 20th the former's population? That's right, viewers, the answer is the second leader, from France, which owing to the antiquated and arcane rules of the United Nations is one of the five permanent members, along with neighbour Britain - and unlike the other country, India - that actually get to decide who is appointed.
Sponsored by Suzie the Waitress
Dancing with the Cops
Building on the Running Man viral campaign, New Zealand Police capture lots of criminals while shaking their booties to popular Top 20 hits.
Sponsored by Energy drinks and sleeping pills
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