Following the announcement that John Campbell is leaving Mediaworks, the company will be tempted to place Paul Henry in to Campbell's spot at 7pm, continuing with his morning experiment broadcasting on TV3 and RadioLive from 6 am to 9am.

On the face of it that would be a disastrous decision, turning around the target audience and abandoning a newly revived following. Their audience is diametrically opposed and Henry has had a rotten start in his morning show ratings.

But chief executive Mark Weldon and board member Julie Christie love Henry as the face of the company. MediaWorks has already made it clear the new show would not be just a tweaking of the Campbell Live format.

Today's announcement ended a six-week review of John Campbell's show. File photo / Jason Oxenham
Today's announcement ended a six-week review of John Campbell's show. File photo / Jason Oxenham

Having lost Campbell and serious current affairs at TV3, and with 3 News rating poorly, news boss Mark Jennings has to do something radical to survive, and something that is acceptable to the bosses.


Jennings has lost a lot of influence at MediaWorks.

Commentators have been kind, but Henry has been a ratings disaster in the morning for TV3, and we have no way of knowing if it is working on radio.

But Henry - unrestrained by scripts - would not need much work and he could easily riff off the day's events, creating controversy along the way. It's current affairs in 2015.

As for 2016, know that MediaWorks' favourite programme maker - Eyeworks - is working on a New Zealand version of the UK reality show Come Dine With Me, but it would not be ready until September at the earliest.

It's not clear whether other experienced journalists on Campbell Live would survive in the new environment.

MediaWorks has chosen Henry as the face of the future and he seems the obvious choice to fill in for a while.

Who else could host?

As an alternative to Henry, two names spring to mind.

The first is Duncan Garner, who has a job hosting the drive time show on Radio Live. At the end of last year, Garner opted to stick with MediaWorks and rejected an offer to take over from Leighton Smith at Newstalk ZB.


Garner was coaxed back with the offer of a greater TV role and a role with the new 3D current affairs show.

Another name being mentioned in dispatches is Wayne Hay, who has been pushed out of a role on Prime News with the return of Eric Young.

Jack Tame would have the ability to host such a show - if he could be coaxed away from his role with TVNZ in New York and his work with NewstalkZB.

The appointment of Henry as the main host for the new show would create the biggest problems. Some people just could not work with him.

In my opinion, the best option - if they could get her away from Seven Sharp - would be Heather Du Plessis Allan. She would be able hold her own against Henry, or with any co-presenter.

There is, of course, the chance of Henry and Hilary Barry working together again. But she would have to give up on 3News, and TV3 will be looking for a younger face for the renewed show.

Another option is Alison Mau, who is experienced at working alongside Henry when they hosted Breakfast for TVNZ. Mau now works at MediaWorks alongside Willy Jackson on RadioLive. However, it is understood that chief executive Mark Weldon is not a fan of the Willy and Ali show in the same way he is with Paul Henry.

Other potential hosts include Samantha Hayes, who has always been a glamorous figure on the outskirts of TV3 news and current affairs, or it could go for an outsider like Stacey Morrison - who previously tried out for TV One's Seven Sharp.

TV3 has previously sought for Campbell to have a female co-host, but he has resisted this change of format.

The latest upheavals with Campbell Live has added to the problems in the news and current affairs which has long been a foundation of TV3 ratings.

News and current affairs boss Mark Jennings has challenges everywhere.

Apart from Paul Henry making a very slow start in the morning programme 3 News has been rating poorly and One News is doubling its audience.

The losses started with the decision of former Mediaworks receivers Korda Mentha - in 2013 when they were receivers for MediaWorks - to turn down an offer for a long term contract for the Australian soap opera Home & Away, because the commitment was too long.

However the loss of the show - which delivered a big young audience to 3 News - is blamed for a big fall in ratings for 3News in 2014 and 2015. Home & Away was picked up by TVNZ.