Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: It's the plane crazy news

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The missing airliner is a story refusing to unfold fast enough for short-tempered TV.

Alison Pugh is a good foil for Rawdon Christie, who can ramble.
Alison Pugh is a good foil for Rawdon Christie, who can ramble.

It's hard to tell whether television loves or hates those news stories that refuse to unfold, the ones that have no easy answers. In the case of the story of the disappeared Malaysian airliner, in fact, hardly any answers at all.

It all made John Campbell, of TV3's Campbell Live, so crazy he took himself straight off to Kuala Lumpur to flail around for facts with the rest of the fishies in the sea of media.

Wiser than we mere easily bored viewers, the people at TV news went wild for the story, at all odds to its import and potential loss of life.

Instead, TV tuned in to the mystery factor, the vast demographic of fearful flyers in viewer land and the fact that everyone was talking about missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

But it was one of those stories that refused to unfold fast enough for short-tempered TV, which kept demanding answers when all that existed was fading desperate hope and footage of something floating in the southern Indian Ocean that may or may not have been part of the plane.

It was being described as a "possible object" in the midst of long reports about very little indeed in which the words "could" and "if" featured very heavily.

Even TV One's determinedly lightweight Breakfast show sagged under the high-rotate heavyweight reports from stern correspondents in Kuala Lumpur and Perth saying, at length and in considerable detail, that nothing more was known.

That story took up a quarter or more of Friday's three-hour show. Otherwise, Breakfast was taken up with the usual stuff - a Justin Timberlake giveaway and weatherman Sam delivering his forecast live from the Horse of the Year Show.

Just why he should do such a thing was never properly explained and several of the horses looked distinctly unimpressed - unfortunately, not enough to lash out at the squawking weatherman.

Alison Pugh, who now fronts the show with Rawdon Christie, seems a nice fit and a bit of a step up from Toni Street, her boisterous predecessor, now of Seven Sharp infamy. Pugh is sharper and a better foil for Christie, who doesn't half ramble sometimes.

The show, though, remains the sort of thing you can't watch for three hours straight without going slightly soft brained. By its nature, Breakfast repeats itself over and over, with very few developments on anything.

Apart, that is, from the growing drama of whether Sam - the aforementioned weather man - would actually get on top of one of those horses and take a ride.

In the end, if he did, I missed it. I didn't miss political editor Corin Dann's piece from China on Prime Minister John Key's visit there, with the tangle-tongued PM voicing his concerns that New Zealand shouldn't become too China-centric in our trade arrangements.

"We don't want all our eggs in the China basket," he said, in a collectable Key quote.

The other slightly collectable quote of Friday's show came during a studio match-up of Justice Minister Judith Collins and Labour hit man Shane Jones, in the guise of "assessing the week", with Christie umpiring.

"I can't keep apologising day in day out," said Collins, apologising yet again for her recent political transgressions.

Which, really, is about as exciting as it got.

- NZ Herald

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