The Diary: Dallow a champion of ditched youth channel

Sex toy pic at U's closing party raises news anchor's cool factor among kids.

Rachel Hunter hangs out with pal Natalie Imbruglia. Photo / Instagram
Rachel Hunter hangs out with pal Natalie Imbruglia. Photo / Instagram

He swears it's not him holding the sex toy in the photographic farewell tribute to TVNZ U, which closed on Saturday, but TVNZ anchor Simon Dallow, 49, admits he is a champion of the youth channel and the bright young things behind it - unlike his employer.

"I was happy to go along on Saturday and show my support to TVNZ U. I thought there was a lot of young talent on the channel and they need encouraging," Dallow told The Diary yesterday.

But that's not Dallow dangling the dildo - he swears.

"Ha! No, that's not me!" he laughed uproariously. Polly Harding, snapped sitting in front of the newscaster, is clutching a vibrator (part of the props used on spinoff show U Late), but the image has done the rounds on social media and done much to enhance Dallow's cool cred among the kids.

"I'm big fans of Tim [Lambourne] and Guy [Montgomery]," Dallow said of the U Late hosts.

"They are good guys and I think it's important to encourage our bright young people. I'm pretty sure we'll see them again."

TVNZ's youth channel has been replaced with a time-delayed broadcast of TV2. The broadcaster said TVNZ U had run at a loss for two years and closing it was a commercial decision.

"We've seen experiments in youth TV before. In this day and age, where the media industry is expected to turn a profit, it comes down to how to monetise it. U had a loyal following but TVNZ couldn't make it work financially," Dallow said.

A rep for TVNZ admits the team worked hard. "They made some great TV right to the end and they go with our very best wishes. It's certainly a lot quieter in these parts now filming has wrapped up in our atrium."

Matt Gibb, one of the faces behind TVNZ U, said he was proud of the telly they made. "We worked our guts out and had a blast. Obviously we never had the budget of other channels but we made an impact and that comes down to the energy and talent of the hosts and crew," he said.

Dallow worries about the presenters and where they will go. He says he's happy to offer support and mentoring.

Asked about romance, the notoriously media shy Dallow, who's been romantically linked to a 20-something journo at rival MediaWorks, said only: "I'm focusing on the kids." He shares teenage children Paris and Joel with former wife Alison Mau.

Instagram pic of the <i>U Late</i> team.
Instagram pic of the U Late team.

Celebrity vistas
Rick Stein jetted into town recently to be guest of honour at an exclusive Cape Kidnappers dinner, taking to Twitter to boast about the "views of the Pacific Ocean and the best chardonnays". Meanwhile, Our Rach provided another sort of Kiwi vista: poolside with Antipodean pal Natalie Imbruglia.

Rick Stein, right, was effusive about the Pacific and chardonnay at Craggy Range.
Rick Stein, right, was effusive about the Pacific and chardonnay at Craggy Range.

Can Warney save Moa?
Moa brewery, whose share price crashed last month after chief executive Geoff Ross announced sales shortfalls, may have a secret weapon in Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne to boost its profile.

The friend-of-peroxide has made a whirlwind trip to Blenheim this week to try some of the locally crafted beer, but Ross told The Diary yesterday the brewery brand, no stranger to hype and hoopla, did not pay for his visit.

"No, Shane is a friend of ours," Ross said yesterday.
"He's making a visit to the brewery and is keen to try our beer."

Warne was happy to pay back in effusive commentary.
He took to social media yesterday in suitably gushing fashion.

"Early morning beer tasting and leading [sic] how to make it taste great!! Hick ..." he tweeted and posted an image to his Instagram page with the Moa brand in pride of place.

Warne's Sydney agency, SEL, was reluctant to tell The Diary about the secret visit.

"He's in NZ with his rep. I can't tell you more."

Shane Warne gave Moa beer a much-needed plug during a visit this week.
Shane Warne gave Moa beer a much-needed plug during a visit this week.

Musty smell at Fashion Week
Style queen Olivia Palermo was in Sydney on Friday launching a shopping centre's new-season collections, but no luck snatching the international fashion icon this side of the pond for our biggest week of the year.

Instead, New Zealand Fashion Week launched on Monday night with considerably less VIP fanfare than usual. It was positively anorexic on the celeb front.

Thin on the catwalk and thin on the ground seems to be the trend du jour, with only two big fashion houses showing - Zambesi and Trelise Cooper - while top brands like World, Karen Walker, Juliette Hogan, Helen Cherry and Kate Sylvester have opted out this year.

Huffer is avoiding the trade event completely, instead focusing solely on the public showcase.

This year, the trade event for media, buyers and international guests, which presents designers' next seasons, comprises just half of the week's schedule.

The other half, Fashion Weekend, has been extended to three days and is open to the public with in-season shows.

The wind has been knocked out of Fashion Week's sails.

Organisers have done well to keep trucking along during these economic doldrums, where sponsorship is significantly down, but when two ratepayer funded organisations are Elite sponsors (ATEED and Auckland Conventions), questions need to be asked about how long this trade show can survive.

Where once our national airline stepped up with naming-right commercial deals, Auckland ratepayers are expected to do the same.

Fashion is a fickle business where models are mocked for dining on large gulps of air and a sense of entitlement, and the fashion crowd put on more front than a prevailing headwind.

We want to smell the fragrant scent of success for our fashion industry, but is it time to face facts: after13 years is Fashion Week turning musty?

Kiwi ingenuity
Our boat will take to the San Francisco waters in the first race of the America's Cup series this weekend, but another Kiwi catamaran is making headlines as the world's largest solar-powered boat.

The Turanor PlanetSolar, designed by Kiwi Craig Loomes, cruised along the Thames in London this week in what could have been a scene out of a James Bond movie.

Meanwhile, another Kiwi was celebrated in the UK, too.

Automotive company McLaren, established by New Zealander Bruce McLaren in 1963, turned 50 on Monday and celebrated with speeches and champers. McLaren died tragically in 1970, but the eponymous Formula One company he founded went on to win a record 182 grand prix and eight team titles.

The names Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen, Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton ring out.

- NZ Herald

Rachel Glucina is New Zealand’s reigning gossip queen, notorious for breaking celebrity scoops and dishing dirt on the country’s best known personalities. She’s feared. She’s loathed. She’s courted by anyone with skeletons in their closet. Rachel knows where the bodies are buried. Mick Jagger wined and dined her. Mike McRoberts devoted a chapter to her in his memoirs. And John Key has her on speed dial.

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