Ali Mau, Greg Boyed and Jesse Mulligan will front TVNZ's new daily current affairs show Seven Sharp, and insiders predict the new line-up will add a razor-sharp wit to the prized 7pm primetime slot.
Boyed has a piercing observational drollness, as judged by his tweets. Mau has become more self-deprecating in recent years, while writer/comedian Mulligan - familiar to TV3 viewers as a regular on Would I Lie To You and 7 Days - is no stranger to adroit repartee. All three are compelling interviewers but how will they stack up against rival John Campbell, whose show is pitched as the beacon of advocacy journalism?
TVNZ news boss Ross Dagan is confident his new show with three hosts - a vast departure from Mark Sainsbury's sole role - will be convincing, engaging and continue to win the ratings war.
"Seven Sharp will reflect the day's events with smart thinking, different viewpoints, and plenty of laughs along the way," he said.
However, some network staff have a more muted view. "The team still have no clear direction about the show or even an on-air date," scoffed one insider.
Campbell Live returns on January 21, but TVNZ won't say when Seven Sharp will start ("late January/early February" is all they'll impart), or who will replace Boyed and Mau on Tonight and Fair Go. As far as sharpness goes, the state broadcaster is evidently playing it a bit blunted, for now.
McGoldrick making impact at Hauraki
Laura McGoldrick, 24, is set to be the breakout star of Radio Hauraki's revised breakfast show which relaunched on Monday with Martin Devlin at the helm. And she has the support of her Black Caps boyfriend Martin "Guppy" Guptill, who is on tour in South Africa.
"He is 100 per cent supportive of me," McGoldrick told The Diary yesterday.
However, she was reluctant to reveal more about their long-term relationship. Reticent, she said, about stealing his thunder or giving the impression she didn't get the radio role on her own merits.
McGoldrick is refreshingly honest and her bracing self-confidence belies her 24 years. She has accrued an impressive notch of broadcasting jobs in her short tenure.
Setting out to be an actress, Laura left high school for drama school but the media industry soon beckoned. First, fronting kids' TV sports show Push Play, and then Sky TV's Friday Night Under Lights and The Cricket Show where she developed a cult following of fans.
"I'm the only woman to have ever fronted domestic cricket games," she says proudly. She was the face, too, of the television coverage at the ASB Tennis Classic last week.
McGoldrick says her interest in cricket stems from her family - mum Leanne is a leading player agent representing the likes of Shane Bond and Adam Parore, and brothers Chris and Tim play the game. "We're a sporting family from Canterbury," she quips.
After a freelance stint reading the sports news on various MediaWorks Radio stations, rival TRN came knocking.
Mike McClung, Hauraki's content director, said securing McGoldrick for his new-look station was a no-brainer.
"Laura is a super talent - smart, funny and willing to put up with Devlin for four hours each morning."
McGoldrick jokes that her role is "to keep Devlin in check and call him on his crap".
As co-host she reads the sports news and offers bright and spirited banter. Hauraki bosses are counting on an energetic show to drag the station's ratings back up. She has plans to introduce her own segments and add a feminine approach to the breakfast show, which primarily targets a male audience.
"I am more than just sport," she tells The Diary. She's keen to include lifestyle and entertainment content, too. She's also more than one half of New Zealand's next sporting power couple.
Laura wants to carve her own way in the world and not ride on anyone's coattails.
Lawless comes in to bat for Rainbow Warrior
Warrior princess Lucy Lawless has hung up her Xena sandals but continues her combatant spirit by supporting the new Rainbow Warrior. "Am in remote part of Northland, NZ. Gorgeous. On way to meet Rainbow Warrior," the actress tweeted this week.
The Rainbow Warrior III, funded entirely by donations from Greenpeace supporters, headed to Matauri Bay yesterday, where the original ship was scuttled 25 years ago. That vessel, a converted trawler, was bombed by French Government agents in Auckland harbour in 1985 before a planned protest mission to Mururoa. A whakatau, or welcome, will be held today with members of Ngati Kura who are the guardians of the site of the old ship.
McKenzie tipped to beat Swift, Mumford & Sons
Shooting for the Muppets sequel movie has started at London's Pinewood Studio with British comedian Ricky Gervais playing the lead role. He took to Twitter to announce he'll miss the Golden Globes on Sunday (LA time) because of filming.
Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote the Academy Award-winning song Man or Muppet for James Bobin's 2011 film, has written new songs for the sequel, Collider.com reported. McKenzie is expected to nab a Grammy award next month for Man or Muppet, beating the likes of superstar musos Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons.
Hunter and Campion to reunite on new project
Actress Holly Hunter told a panel audience at a press junket for the seven-part TV series Top of the Lake this week that she jumped at the chance to work with Kiwi director Jane Campion again - the first time in almost 20 years.
The pair collaborated on the 1993 film The Piano, in which Campion won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Hunter was named Best Actress for her performance. Karekare beach on Auckland's rugged West Coast provided the backdrop then; now it's (primarily) the South Island's Glenorchy, where Campion owns a property. Top of the Lake will screen here in March on Sky's UK TV.