He's not taking the weather with him, so much as leaving it behind. The Diary can reveal popular Breakfast weatherman Tamati Coffey will be the new host of Saturday Breakfast - starting tomorrow. He joins Toni Street.
Rawdon Christie left the spot vacant since moving to Breakfast alongside Petra Bagust. He replaced Corin Dann who relocated to the parliamentary press gallery as TVNZ political editor.
Coffey, host of the upcoming New Zealand's Got Talent, has been travelling the country this week filming his part in the audition process for the reality show. He has a degree in political science, and he told The Diary he hopes viewers will see a more thought-provoking side to him on Saturday Breakfast.
"I honestly expect people will be impressed with my serious side and my knowledge of news and current affairs ... I'm the weather guy, and as that guy you don't get to talk about serious stuff, serious issues, and I feel like at the moment New Zealand only knows one half of me."
Street is chuffed she'll be sharing the couch with Coffey and says the transition will be smooth. "There's been so much change lately, and working with Tamati on Saturdays will just be nice and familiar."
But she said she'll miss the rapport with Christie. "Tamati will be the next best thing."
The pair only learned two days ago they'd be teaming up, and with Coffey on the road, there hasn't been much time to prepare for tomorrow's show.
John Gillespie, TVNZ's editor of daily programmes, says Tamati's long-standing place with the morning show - he has been with Breakfast since 2007 - will be key. "Tamati has long been a big part of Breakfast's success. It's great we can extend that now to Saturday morning hosting, for him and for the benefit of all our viewers."
But what happens when Street leaves for maternity leave in four months? TVNZ says it's too early to talk about a replacement, but Street, who is on holiday next weekend, says her pick is Alison Pugh.
Coffey will juggle reading the Breakfast weather four days a week and hosting Saturday Breakfast. His pairing with Street will be keenly observed. Both come up trumps in polls on popular TV stars, and this year, TV Guide named them sexiest TV stars, beating Simon Dallow, Sam Hayes, Hayley Holt and Robbie Magasiva.
MIKE TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL
While TV One anchor Petra Bagust picked up her kids from a Westmere school embarrassingly sporting a TV3 umbrella, Mike McRoberts, also in Westmere, was playing fancy dress. Fake sleeve tattoos, handlebar moustache and a butch biker strut were all part of his cool costume as an outlaw motorcycle gang member. McRoberts said it was for a school fundraising night with a TV dress-up theme and his table went as the Sons of Anarchy.
NOT FLYING KIWI FLAG
When it comes to fashion, Anna Paquin said this week she likes "darker designs and edgier cuts", but Kiwi clothing, known for its sombre tones, rarely features on her back.
While Fran Walsh won three Lord of The Rings Oscars in 2004 wearing a black Zambesi dress and Keisha Castle-Hughes sported pink Liz Mitchell, Paquin opts for Alexander McQueen on the red carpet.
"I've always been a diehard McQueen fan," she told a Canadian fashion magazine. New Zealand fashion tourism is not ringing her bell.
CELEB 40TH HOTTEST TICKET IN TOWN
Reality TV star Colin Mathura-Jeffree (NZ's Hottest Home Baker) is celebrating his 40th birthday tomorrow night with a masquerade themed-party, a magazine deal and a rent-a-crowd.
"Everyone has been invited," an insider gushed breathlessly. Auckland City councillors Cameron Brewer and Michael Goudie said they were surprised to get the nod because they don't really know him.
Winston Peters received a last-minute invite when Mathura-Jeffree saw him chain-smoking over lunch in Prego's courtyard. In the shallow depths of the celebrity TV birdbath, popularity and party numbers, it seems, is currency.
Reality TV show The GC has been criticised for receiving taxpaying funding, but has TV3 gone too far to chase the corporate sponsorship dollar with upcoming renovation series The Block? Industry insiders said it would be a "cringing primetime advertorial," but MediaWorks is proud of the new ground it is breaking in what it calls "brand-funded content space".
Kiwibank, Bunnings Warehouse, Mazda and Wild Bean Cafe have signed high-paying sponsorship deals with TV3 to get their brands "into the creative process from day one".
ACP has secured publishing rights, and it is understood four more brands have offered products for airtime.
The Diary understands APN and Fairfax were both approached as media partners but rejected an offer (understood to be around $50,000) to pay for editorial coverage.
Critics say The Block will be pay-for-display television. It will be product placement on a grand scale never seen in this country.
Stars of The Block will be available, too, for promotional campaigns to those brands whose cash paid for the show's production.
Opponents liken The Block to The Truman Show.
"Viewers will think it's a television reality show, but everyone has paid to be on it. What kind of reality is that?" an industry insider said.
A hard reality, that's the truth. These shows cost millions to make and cash-strapped MediaWorks does not have large coffers for local productions.
TV3 told The Diary they've invested a large advertising spend and significant hard costs into making the show. They've secured investment from sponsors, too. Chasing that corporate dollar is vital for The Block, which received no public money. Its format wouldn't qualify.
TVNZ's New Zealand's Got Talent got $1.6 million of public arts and culture funding through NZ on Air. The show will be popular but many question whether our taxes should help fund it.
With a zero-spending Budget next week and a Government borrowing millions weekly, Act leader John Banks said the corporate dollar should be the future for primetime reality telly shows.
"So many get so much enjoyment from watching this kind of drivel, then let it be funded by a commercial sponsor that can make some money out of this," he said.
Corporate deal-making is evidently the way of the future for reality format television, but all eyes will be on The Block to see how those sponsorship dollars will be executed.
PS: Best wishes to Wellington-born film director Andrew Dominik whose movie, Killing Them Softly, starring Brad Pitt, is in competition for the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, under way this week.
Dominik and Pitt worked previously on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Jane Campion won the Palme d'Or in 1993 for The Piano.