In another blow to MediaWorks, Paul Henry's half-hour Sunday evening TV show has been canned.
After dropping the bombshell he is moving to Channel Ten in Australia to be the network's breakfast host, Henry said he would continue to front the new TV3 chat show that was set to screen at 7pm on Sundays before 60 Minutes. Now that show has been scratched entirely.
"Basically , it was going to be too hard logistically to film the show in Sydney," a source said. Henry had planned to shoot the magazine-style show from Australia and honour his commitment to MediaWorks.
"We can get more high-calibre guests coming out of Sydney," he told Spy last month. "but it will be a New Zealand show filmed in Australia."
Now that programme has been canned, Henry's role in the TV3 comedy Would I Lie To You? has been increased. He was originally scheduled for a panel part in the BBC-format show, but now he is likely to host it.
The programme will screen in the timeslot that his chat show was destined for.
Henry told Spy he will tape some episodes before he leaves for Sydney and tape some more when he returns to Auckland briefly in February.
"It is an easier format for filming. It works better and requires less of me. We can shoot several episodes together over weekends in front of a live studio audience," he said.
Henry says it's full steam ahead for the Channel Ten breakfast show and Lachlan Murdoch has scheduled an on-air date for Monday, February 27.
"He wants me to be involved in employing the female co-host," Henry said, "so I'm keen for a late-February start to give me some time to do that."
Multi-million dollar injection for MediaWorks
Rumours circulated that MediaWorks would breach its banking governance in November, but the company's group managing director, Sussan Turner, happily told Spy this did not happen.
Instead, owners Ironbridge Capital - which bought the media company from CanWest in 2007 for about $790m - is set to plough "around $20 million" into the company across the radio and television divisions, according to an inside source. Turner would only say Ironbridge is "fully committed to the business".
"The fact Ironbridge is prepared to spend that sort of money on the company from its investment portfolios and piggy banks shows it's dedicated to growing it," the insider said. "Basically, it's an endorsement that they trust Sussan to deliver performances from the business."
Media commentators have long speculated the Australian private equity firm has wanted to sell the company, but it paid top dollar and would want the next buyer to do the same.
When the capital injection takes place, and I understand this will be in various chunks, it will make a significant impact. There would be big marketing dollars to spend on campaigns and money for operational costs. It's good news all round.