More than a quarter of New Zealand houses now have more television sets than people. Why? Is there a feeling afoot that having more TVs will make the programmes better?
So far it's not working - except in the odd little spot. And one odd little spot notched up its 100th episode on TV3 last Friday night.
It's called 7 Days, the first truly comic local show since sometime back in the last century and now, at 9.30pm, the centrepiece of a funny Friday night on the channel, starting swimmingly with the star-studded Graham Norton Show and sinking a little at the end with starless and slightly desperate Jono and Ben at Ten.
Last Friday, 7 Days marked its 100th with a greatest bits show fronted by host Jeremy Corbett and team captains, the short and noisy Dai Henwood and the long and slippery Paul Ego.
Now greying shadows of their younger selves on the old shows, the trio sat all dressed up on big old gentlemen's club chairs in a little sea of a studio audience just being endlessly cleverly, stupidly, rudely, charmingly and charmlessly funny.
No mean feat on TV in this country, though it's hard to fail with so many funny old moments to harvest from 99 previous episodes of the panel show, which pitches two teams of funny guys - and they are nearly all guys - at each other across a variety of themes for the general purpose, as they say, of taking the piss.
It was hard to choose favourite moments, but a sure one was Henwood explaining Rodney Hyde to a visiting comic as "a massive leather baby in a yellow suit".
Another one of those moments had Ego artlessly asking studio guest politician Phil Goff, "Why are you never normally this good on TV?"
There have been suggestions that TV One should replace the soon-to-die Close Up with a thoroughly modern satirical news show. Should such an outrage come to pass and a front person is required, someone should take a long, hard look into the cold, quizzical and fearless eyes of Paul Ego.
Though he is a sightly more dangerous proposition than Pippa Wetzell.
Quite laughed out by 7 Days, I hung in for even more with Jono and Ben at Ten. Like 7 Days, it seems to have been given its title by the Ministry of the Bleeding Obvious, but unlike 7 Days, it's not half as funny as it thinks it is. It did have at least one truly disturbing moment last Friday though, with a multi-costumed appearance by the awful, indestructible Michael Laws starring as various versions of himself in a segment called (Ministry of the Bleeding Obvious again) "Laws and Order".
TV One, in a bid to spoil TV3's Friday night effort at decent entertainment, has responded a little like an old man dragging his deckchair into the sun.
They've stuck a pair of local comedians, Brendhan Lovegrove and Jason Hoyte, on to a grab bag of elderly English comedies, some of them so old and familiar, a good portion of the audience was probably shouting the punch lines back at one or several of their three or four TVs.
Friday night comedy
7 Days, TV3, 9.30pm
Jono and Ben at Ten, TV3, 10pmBy Colin Hogg Email Colin