The Diary

Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Tamati Coffey to join Seven Sharp?

Tamati Coffey could be set to join the panel on Seven Sharp.
Tamati Coffey could be set to join the panel on Seven Sharp.

The Diary was reliably informed this week that Tamati Coffey is to be signed as the new host of Seven Sharp, making his haphazard appearance on the panel more permanent.

However, a rep for TVNZ insists, "we have not made any decisions regarding a new host or how the show will look in 2014".

Sometimes that's code for, "hand's off, we're in control, and we're not ready to issue that statement yet".

The TVNZ publicity machine is currently a cluttered maze of people with much confusion as to who is responsible for what and when.

As to the show's survival, it looks set to return next year with continued sponsorship support from RaboDirect, if inside sources are correct.

CONCHORD BRET SHOOTS FOR THE STARS WITH FOX

It's business time for Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie who's been signed to develop an animated comedy series for American television studio Fox, home to The Simpsons and Family Guy.

McKenzie came up with the idea for the untitled show, about a workplace comedy set in an almost-obsolete Nasa space centre in Colorado, TV Guide reported yesterday. Fox has ordered a script from the Kiwi, who is executive producing the show with co-writers Tony Gama-Lobo and Rebecca May, from King of the Hill.

No word yet on whether he will commit his lulls to a voiceover part.

Also no word on whether the new show will screen on New Zealand telly. The major output deal between MediaWorks and Fox is still under renegotiation.

The foray from a small cult TV show on cable network HBO to writing and producing for a mainstream American television studio is a big step up for McKenzie and illustrates how versatile the Academy Award winner is. He is currently working on the music for the next Muppets movie, but frankly, the world's his oyster.

The Block's breakout star

Forget about Caleb and Alice. The breakout star of TV3's The Block finale on Wednesday was Sam Yeung, the exuberant Chinese agent from Bayleys. He acted on behalf of the Chinese bidders who successfully bought the couple's house for $1.126m.

More than 1.1 million tuned into the finale, but it was Yeung who stole the show. His animated behaviour during the live bidding of Alice and Caleb's house saw him trending on Twitter. In fact, during that auction, the hash tag #theblocknz trended number 2 worldwide - a reflection of the drama and his personality. Sources say he was thrilled about his newfound fame - and the big win. "Sam was the king of the bar afterwards."

From Shorty to stage

My favourite Shorty thesp Amanda Billing will take to the stage tomorrow night for the opening performance of Chicago - and with TV current affairs cameras trailing her every high kick. The show, a Michael Hurst production, is racier than most versions, I'm told, so 20/20 viewers are sure to get their own kicks.

The season was extended before the show even began, which is great news for Q Theatre. The longer run is due, in part, to the large number of Lucy Lawless fans who are coming from all over the world to see the Warrior Princess play Velma. At the Hollywood Bowl in July, Lawless played Mama Morton in Brooke Shield's production of Chicago.

Meanwhile, Hurst's wife Jennifer Ward-Lealand is teaming up with Shorty star Beth Allen in a theatre performance of Between the Sheets at The Basement Theatre this month. And Kate Elliott is back from New York to make her theatre debut in the Cold War comedy Whistle Solo at The Basement next week.

Music for two great men

Last night's fundraiser at the Powerstation for gravely ill musician Chris Sheehan was a heart-warming affair with industry pals and fans gathering in support.

Legendary Kiwi group Blam Blam Blam joined The Exponents to play the free gig, and everyone was encouraged to make a donation to Sheehan and his family.

In a recent Facebook post Sheehan illustrated how tough things are: "I can't justify any of my limited income to be spent on my own non-profit activities. Stage 4 metastatic nodular melanoma. Clinical trials and palliative treatment only. Wife terminally ill. Dozens of rescue animals. I don't own a computer anymore and would like a good laptop and software to see what comes out. I will not divert money from my family for selfish artistic urges. Maybe someone who enjoyed a Starlings record at some time is flush. Ta Chris."

Tomorrow night, another fundraiser is being held at the Powerstation in tribute to Dave McArtney who passed away earlier this year.

Lost in translation

While Waikato man Liam Messam struggled through Auckland's suburban streets to find Eden Park on Wednesday to launch Super rugby jerseys, in Japan, Dan Carter struggled to be understood. "After a day on the streets of Tokyo I've realised I need some Japanese phrases to get by," he told Twitter. Evidently he managed just fine when shopping up a storm at Martin Margiela, Y-3 and Billionaire Boys Club.

Battle of the TV pals

He may be used to trading barbs with Crowd Goes Wild co-host Mark Richardson, but on Sunday, Andrew Mulligan will be trading times. He takes on fellow Sky presenter Melodie Robinson in the Auckland Half Marathon as they pound the pavement to raise money for Starship.

For Robinson, it's about friendly competition. "Just as long as I beat Andrew, I'll be happy," she laughs. "We used to do weight training together for six months and I used to push more than him. He reckons he has sore knees from basketball, but I think that's just an excuse," the former Black Fern teased.

Training for the race has been made easier knowing she's helping sick kids. "When you're actually running for something like Starship, and not just for yourself, it's easier. Sometimes you need that extra motivation."

From Hendo to Hollywood

Big things are expected for the little South Pacific Pictures' feature film White Lies, which will premiere in Australia this month at the Brisbane International Film Festival. In coming weeks the movie will be shown at a series of Hollywood screenings for Academy members as part of the Oscar campaign for Best Foreign Language film. It is New Zealand's official selection for the Foreign Language Oscar category, and the first Maori language film to be submitted to the Academy.

- NZ Herald

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