The Diary: Insiders pick new role for reality show queen

Christie tipped for a TV network or NZ on Air after leaving company

Julie Christie's show The Block achieved stunning ratings for TV3. Photo / Supplied
Julie Christie's show The Block achieved stunning ratings for TV3. Photo / Supplied

Julie Christie resigned this week as CEO of Eyeworks, successor to the TV production firm she founded, but is staying schtum about her plans. She hung up on The Diary when we called. However, industry insiders believe she may switch to broadcasting.

Christie announced on Wednesday that she was leaving "the production side of television", but insiders don't rule out a potential position within broadcasting - either in network television or a large political organisation, such as NZ on Air.

Christie reportedly set her sights on the top job at TVNZ when Rick Ellis left, but businessman Kevin Kenrick, with no television experience, took up the reins at the state broadcaster.

MediaWorks boss Sussan Turner, a friend of Christie's, told The Diary the reality show queen will not be taking up a post at the company, despite industry rumours she's replacing ex-programming boss Kelly Martin, whose position remains unfilled.

Christie's hit reality renovation show, The Block, for which she's been nominated for a best directing gong at the Television Awards tomorrow night, was a ratings sensation for TV3.

Turner credits Christie with "an innate common touch" and says she wants the show to return next year.

Great White circling

Hall of Fame golfer Greg Norman is heading to Auckland for a glittering gala dinner next month and will host an exclusive golf day at Muriwai Golf Club for Rich Lister Craig Heatley's charity.

"I'm looking forward to visiting the land of the long white cloud for the first time in 30 years," Norman told The Diary. "I know Kiwis are passionate golfers and I look forward to sharing some of my own personal experiences, play some golf and catch up with my friend Steve Williams.

Williams, former caddy to Tiger Woods, played bagman to Norman during the '80s. The charity dinner will benefit the Steve Williams Foundation and First Tee New Zealand, a youth golfing organisation founded by Heatley.

"Greg transcends sport and business," Williams told The Diary. "His story is one that will entertain and inspire."

The 20-time US PGA winner will certainly attract the big-hitters.

Rod Duke's Rebel Sport - part of the Briscoe Group - is backing the black-tie dinner at the glitzy Langham Hotel on December 18, and the golf tournament the following day, where 12 teams will play at least one hole with Norman.

TV stars shine brightly

The who's-who of the television industry will exchange air kisses and fawning praise at the Television Awards tomorrow night. It's where TV news meets TV entertainment and everyone lets old rivalries lie.

John Campbell and his eponymous programme are up for a gaggle of gongs, much to the chagrin of his outgoing rival, Mark Sainsbury, who didn't make the cut. The TVNZ veteran is waiting for his show - nominated for three awards - to get the needle next month.

Early predictions have 3 News taking home the award for best news, while the network's Duncan Garner and Patrick Gower are tipped to get the nod for best news reporting.

It would kick off the celebrations early for political editor Garner, who's leaving his long-held post at the gallery next month with a party Shane Jones would be proud of.

"A number of MPs have offered to come and make sure I leave, and the feeling, I must say, is mutual," Garner chortled.

Agent to the stars Imogen Johnson continues her reign as the country's eminent celebrity power-broker with her wards Sara Wiseman, Kate Elliott, Miranda Harcourt and expectant Miriama Smith sweeping the actress categories, while Te Radar received three nominations.

Dom Bowden, who has separated from his wife Claire, a former 3 News reporter, will be presenting a gong.

He played presenter at last night's Tuis and will co-ordinate proceedings at TV3's new season launch next week. Much is expected of the NZ X Factor show he will host next year and his media saturation this week is evidence of how seriously he is taking his Kiwi comeback.

High flying residence

The London residence of New Zealand high commissioners from 1955 until the 1970s is up for sale - with an asking price of £100 million ($196 million). One Cornwall Tce, the neo-classical mansion overlooking Regents Park, boasts seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and 11 reception rooms. Britain's Daily Mail says it played home to lavish parties and hosted royalty and other members of high society.

Robin Hood painter

Tame Iti's Court of Appeal case was turfed out this week, but the Tuhoe activist said that didn't affect his "mind or thinking". He continues to paint while behind bars at Waikeria Prison, bringing new meaning to the term struggling artist. Iti gifted a new psychedelic artwork, entitled Myopia, to social service agency Cambridge Community House for a fundraising auction last night. A past auction of his artwork raised money for his legal bills.

- NZ Herald

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