As a prematurely jaded millennial cynic (thanks climate change and the GFC) I sometimes struggle to buy into silver linings. Some things are just decidedly negative, no matter which way you look at them.

So when the news of Hilary Barry's shock departure from MediaWorks broke, it sent my heart hurtling into my mouth.

The earth moved. It was worse than Richie hanging up his boots.

What would we do without Hilary there to reassure us on the 6 o'clock news? How would we cope with emergency defecation situations without her? And who would rattle the swear jar at Paul?

Advertisement

The thought was too much to bear. Then another one replaced it.

The Hilary Barry Show.

It has a ring to it, and someone needs to make it happen. Pronto.

All signs seem to point to TVNZ.

With all due respect to the national broadcaster's great stable of talent, the lineup could certainly do with a shakeup.

I'm probably not the target market, but I was recently forced to watch Breakfast and it nearly sent me back to sleep. If there's a show that could do with a rebrand with Hilary at the helm, it's that one.

The thing about TV is that it will inevitably eventually die, and it'll die even quicker if it's boring.

The dreaded younger generation are so spoiled for choice online that we won't simply watch something because the programmers have decided to broadcast it at a certain time of day.

But Hilary Barry, she of the many brilliant online viral hits, could just be the Holy Grail. She's loved by the young, old and in-between. I'd tune in to watch her laugh any day.

With the "mother of the nation" title already taken by Judy Bailey, it's hard to know how exactly to describe Hilary Barry. Is she Aotearoa's cool aunt? Does that make her Aunty Helen's sister? It's all rather confusing.

Whatever her official title, she is one of my favourite human beings. She sent me a tweet after I'd sung the national anthem at the Cricket World Cup final and again after Jonah's memorial service. She gave me a hug on my first day on the Paul Henry Show panel and made my nerves disappear.

She's every bit as lovely as you'd think she is. And she's one of (if not the) best broadcasters in the country. No other New Zealand anchor's resignation would have the power to roll a network's CEO.

From her dignified and compassionate anchoring during the Christchurch earthquake, to her moving reporting of the death of Nelson Mandela, to her entirely appropriate eye rolling over the mind-numbing continual coverage of Pippa Middleton's dress, she's the great news chameleon.

Serious when the occasion calls for gravity, and light-hearted when it calls for humour.

I can't think of anyone else in New Zealand who can transition so gracefully from reading hard news to telling Paul Henry off.

Nor someone who is better loved by their colleagues. She is the glue that holds everything together (and keeps the Broadcasting Standards Authority happy). Being in the studio with Hilary, Paul and Jim is a special privilege. Theirs is a camaraderie that is likely to be impossible to replicate.

So wherever she ends up, the organisation needs to build a new team around her - one that will allow her to shine as the utterly relatable human being she is.

To amplify the best of her "Hilary-isms" rather than trying to force her to fit into their style guide. To bring young journalists into her team so that they can learn from the very best. And to give her the top billing she deserves.

It's about bloody time that a woman led a prime-time show in this country, and I can't think of anyone better to break through the white male gridlock. A true journalist, adored by the nation, with a wicked sense of humour and a razor-sharp mind - the prime-time men should be shaking in their boots.

So bring on The Hilary Barry Show. A mix of news, current affairs, wit and uncontrollable laughter. Sounds like a winning formula.

I want to thank the many people who have reached out to me over the past week, and all of the readers who have joined in the call for change in the New Zealand music business.

Last week's column was difficult to write, and I was very nervous before its publication. I'm deeply grateful for the support I've received.

It's not okay for women (or men) to have to put up with sexual harassment in their workplace, at work-related events - or anywhere, for that matter - and I hope that the industry can come together to address the issues it faces when it comes to gender, equality and safety.

Debate on this article is now closed.