As Jaime Ridge prepared for her boxing bout last night, her mother Sally Ridge was by her side offering support as the TV cameras rolled.

And every moment will be captured for their new reality television show, The Ridges, which The Diary can confirm has been commissioned.

MediaWorks has commissioned the six-part, 30-minute, fly-on-the-wall series which will be produced in-house and will screen on TV3 in the next couple of months.

"It will reveal the private lives of a mother and daughter who are in the public eye and will follow them while they renovate their Herne Bay house," a TV3 rep said.


"And it will follow Jaime while she participates in boxing and modelling, plus, their celebrity life in general.

"To be honest, it's the opposite of what I expected," said a source at the network.

"The show will really surprise people. Both Sally and Jaime come across as really engaging, funny and likeable."

But the 40-year-old mother-of-four is not placing her television dreams all in the TV3 basket. The Diary can reveal Sally is secretly auditioning for a role at The Shopping Channel, which launches on Sky Television on October 1.

"Sally Ridge is throwing her hat in the ring and trying out next week," a PR rep for The Shopping Channel told The Diary. Ridge is auditioning for a hosting role on the 24-hour selling channel alongside some other high-profile names.

A secret audition was held on Tuesday "for VIP celebs" using a mock studio at Blacksand productions, a business unit at TVNZ - not to be confused with Black Sand Media Ltd, a registered company owned by TV3 journalist Rachel Smalley.

The Diary understands April Ieremia, Alison Leonard, Aaron Gilmore and Tony Murrell auditioned for presenting roles on Tuesday. Candy Lane and Monty Betham (Jaime's boxing trainer) are already confirmed as two of the hosts.

The channel held an open casting call last week and many people applied, including radio stars Mike Puru from The Edge and Lorna Subritzky from Easy Mix, which was taken off air last month.


Shopping Channel CEO Alistair Duff told The Diary filming would take place in the Mt Wellington studios of Prime TV after the Olympics, while TVNZ's Blacksand studios are being used for auditions. Ridge did not return calls by The Diary.

Organisers of last night's fight said they were impressed Jaime Ridge, 19, lost 3kg this week in preparation for her bout against The GC's Rosanna Arkle. Both girls had television network executives keenly observing ringside.

Sources say Ridge had another inspiration. Rumours this week suggest she may have caught the eye of 21-year-old Warrior Shaun Johnson. Many of the Warriors are regulars at the boxing gym where Ridge has been training under the tutelage of former league star Monty Betham.

Jaime, the daughter of sporting legend Matthew Ridge, is no stranger to sports star romances. This year she had a short-term relationship with All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams.

Matthew Ridge is notoriously private and has not commented on his daughter's foray in the ring, or her attraction to sportsmen. But sources at Les Mills gym told The Diary jaws dropped recently when Matthew ran into SBW.

"It was a just a coincidence that Ridgey and the ABs were at the gym that morning, but when they both sidled up next to each other everyone waited to see what would happen. Sonny looked nervous, but Ridgey just gave him a friendly nod. Heck, even Richie McCaw looked worried, like there might be fireworks," the tittle-tattler gushed.

Ridgey, who's in Britain on holiday with Brent Todd, did not see his daughter fight last night.


Annabel Fay, who's launched a new single from her upcoming third album Brave the Rain, said goodbye to Auckland yesterday to make a new home in Sydney.

She told The Diary a publishing deal with EMI meant more opportunities for her across the Ditch as a singer-songwriter.

"New Zealand is my market, but Australia is where I can learn my craft better and develop more opportunities as a songwriter," she said. "I'll be writing songs for others as well as myself."


Paul Maher has completed his gardening leave from TVNZ and starts work on Monday at TV3 as boss of television and sales. "I can't wait," he told The Diary yesterday.

"MediaWorks is a smart operation that reacts nimbly across all its assets and is a formidable force for advertisers."

Meanwhile, 3 News man Paddy Gower is improving his image before his elevation to political editor in December when boss Duncan Garner moves to radio.

Gower, I'm told, has bought a smart wool coat at Crane Brothers and is going easy on gel to avoid the Tintin boy reporter look.