Word is that MediaWorks is looking at familiar TV3 face Rachel Smalley to replace John Campbell.

Who will replace John Campbell in TV3's 7pm slot is the topic du jour, and sources tell me MediaWorks, with only two months to find new presenters and develop a new show, is looking to a familiar face - Rachel Smalley.

The former Firstline host and Campbell Live fill-in anchor left TV3 in 2013 to make her mark in news radio. She jumped from MediaWorks to NZME. (parent company of the NZ Herald), and fronts Newstalk ZB's Early Edition show. But the question is, will she jump back again?

The return of Smalley to the telly would be seen as a significant step in the progress of women on primetime, where the focus has traditionally been on male presenters and their perspectives.

Campbell turned down MediaWorks' offer of a revised show with a three-year contract and the chance to work with a female co-host. It was this unwillingness to share the desk and the spotlight that became a basic flaw in the show, in my opinion. One voice, one perspective, is not universally representative.

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Hard-working and respected female journos left Campbell Live, such as Smalley, Rebecca Wright and Mihingarangi Forbes.

Wright moved to Paul Henry's late-night show and is now a senior reporter on One News. Forbes became the presenting face of Maori TV's Native Affairs, and Smalley repositioned herself in news radio and print journalism penning op-eds and columns for the Herald.

John Campbell. Photo / NZME.
John Campbell. Photo / NZME.

"Roadblocks were definitely put in the way to their development," said an insider. "They had to think about their own career paths. Campbell Live was John's show. Full stop."

Now TV3 is addressing the female quotient at 7pm - or the lack of it.

It knows a serious contributing factor to Seven Sharp's success in winning the ratings war is due to Toni Street, whose broad appeal talks to nearly all of New Zealand.

TV3's biggest challenge will be finding contenders with credibility and natural warmth. The new anchors will need to be formidable journos who can convey a story and emotionally connect to the viewer. It would significantly help, too, if they came with their own social media following. Popularity at primetime is essential.

Barker's bromance will rankle with Dalton

Jimmy Spithill (left) posted this picture of himself with Dean Barker on the dockside in Bermuda yesterday. Photo / Instagram
Jimmy Spithill (left) posted this picture of himself with Dean Barker on the dockside in Bermuda yesterday. Photo / Instagram

Team Japan's new skipper and chief executive, Dean Barker, threw shade at his former boss Grant Dalton yesterday when he posed, matey, with former yachting arch-rival Jimmy Spithill in Bermuda. The picture appeared on Spithill's Instagram account.
"Who would have thought ..." wrote the Oracle skipper, adding the hashtag "#letsgetdalton".

Reow. Sailing is brutal. Loyalties run shallow deep, and the newfound bromance between Barker and Spithill will provoke all sorts of resentment in Dalton, who has little love for the former Team NZ skipper, and even less for Spithill's boss Russell Coutts.

Who would have thought.. #mates #letsgetdalton

A photo posted by Jimmy Spithill (@jspithill) on