As the respected broadcasters prepare to hit Kiwi screens this week, when AM returns on Monday morning, Lloyd Burr and Melissa Chan-Green talk to Spy about how they feel about the new partnership and reveal what viewers can expect.
Three’s new AM co-host, Lloyd Burr, thinks Melissa Chan-Green is the nicest person in the business and he can’t wait for viewers to have breakfast with the pair starting from tomorrow, as they serve up the soft and hard news of the day.
Burr is replacing Ryan Bridge, whose new 7pm current affairs show on Three will be announced in the coming weeks.
Chan-Green, 40, and Burr, 36, have a lot in common; the two cut their teeth as news reporters and have been Newshub’s Europe correspondents, where they both had their career “oh no” moment.
Chan-Green, who has hosted AM for two years, was in Paris when police were still looking for the perpetrators of the Bataclan Theatre terrorist attacks in 2015. “I was doing a live cross into the morning show with Paul Henry and there were loud shots, mad panic and people running for cover in the background,” Chan-Green tells Spy.
“I had to cut the live cross and shelter with a whole group of other people in an underground cellar at a nearby hotel,” she reveals. “I texted my mum to reassure her, as I was worried that she might have seen it all play out on the TV. It turned out someone had just let fireworks off — but it was one of quite a few moments of adrenalin in the job.”
Burr “went viral” during a dispatch from Moscow when, during the quarter-final of the Fifa Football World Cup in 2018 (which England lost to Croatia) an English fan threw a glass of beer over Burr while he was doing a live cross into AM.
“I loved my time working in Europe, it taught me a lot about myself; to back myself, trust myself and be myself,” he says.
Both Chan-Green and Burr are veterans covering the political arena and are keenly aware New Zealanders have many questions they would like to put to our politicians this year.
“With that in mind, getting answers to those questions will be an important part of AM. Of course, we can’t guarantee they will give a straight answer,” says Chan-Green. “But we will challenge both sides and call out anyone who looks to be ducking and diving for cover.”
Having just come out of the press gallery at Parliament, Burr can’t wait to hold the new Government and parliamentarians to account.
“They are planning on traversing many controversial topics this year and we will be there every day asking the hard questions.”
It’s also AM’s traverse of the softer side that has cemented the show’s audience, whom Chan-Green says are well-informed and like to stay up to date on the news.
“What I love hearing from people who come and chat with me in the street about the show is that they feel it’s informative and fun without being silly,” she says. “People want to feel positive when they’re getting ready for their day, so it’s just as important to have a laugh.”
Burr has admired how the show’s vibe is organic and isn’t forced.
“It’s natural and organic, which means the show is real. The laughs are real. The mistakes are real. The banter is real,” he says. “It’s Melissa to thank for this because she is real.”
Burr says he has known the rest of the AM team for years so he doesn’t think fitting in will be too hard. “I’m just going to be myself.”
How about the all-important co-host chemistry?
“If our on-screen chemistry is like our off-screen chemistry, it will be great,” says Chan-Green. “We have only had a run-through in so far as looking at some fun new techy stuff we will have in the studio this year.”
Burr cannot wait to solve the world’s problems over breakfast with Chan-Green.