Bad taste joke mars Shopping Channel's debut

New Zealand's first full-time shopping channel kicked off to great fanfare last night, but there were a few small teething problems - and a complaint about a bad taste banana joke.

Starring fulltime presenters Mike Puru, Candy Lane, Lucy Gallaugher and Monty Betham, the Shopping Channel broadcast for the first time on Sky channel 18 and Freeview 18 from 7pm.

It's the first dedicated shopping channel in New Zealand to screen 24 hours a day, and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria will be a special guest on the show on Wednesday night.

The channel is hoping for 600,000 Kiwi women to tune in each week.

But teething problems were evident last night, with viewers complaining on Facebook about a "creepy" banana joke, "disgusting" food, and a lack of contact details showing up on screen.

"Does the presenter know how to cook?" complained James Chen. "That food she cooked looks disgusting! And she doesn't even look like she knows how to use it! Please, get some new presenters!"

Anne Williams said: "Just checking out the shopping channel waiting for the bargains. Disappointed no phone number for the people who do not possess a computer or smart phone. Won't be getting too many mature people shopping at this rate."

A video compilation by Dan News proved there was plenty of sexual innuendo being used by the presenters, from Lane talking about enjoying "pat downs" and her love of "the boner" (a kitchen appliance), to some awkward kitchen conversation about bananas between Gallaugher and the in-house chefs.

"You can probably hold the bananas for me," Gallaugher said at one point after donning an apron for a cooking segment. "I'd love to hold your banana, Lucy ... yum yum," the chef replied.

Viewer Chardonnay Pascoe questioned why there was so much innuendo in such a short space of time.

"Hmmm it's been 13 minutes so far, is it the porn channel or the shopping channel or the shopping for porn channel? Peter needs to keep his banana jokes to himself;) CREEPY..."

Kathleen Crawfood simply said: "It's so bad it's good!"

But some were positive about the launch, with many saying the channel was more entertaining than they thought it would be.

Adele Krantz said: "Absolutely love what I have seen of the shopping channel the presenters are so loveable can't wait for my first purchase!"

Katie Gardiner: "Your all doing a great job and supporting New Zealand products and businesses is fantastic. Keep it x." (sic)

On Twitter, Megan Stuart (@MegsStuart) said: "the launch has gone off with a bang!!!love you guys!"

Sara Tetro (@sara_mail) said: "@MikePuruNZ awesome debut on @shopping_nz that's not an easy thing to do, you made it look easy & fun #isaluteyou."

The network admitted to first night "jitters" on Twitter (@shopping_nz) after one of the presenters had a coughing fit, but said: "The beauty of live television huh? You never know what's gonna happen!"

- nzherald.co.nz

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