Future of Seven Sharp among 12 questions making the gossip grapevine.


Is this the end of the embarrassment that is

Seven Sharp

? Mike Hosking and Toni Street will be taking up the reins next year, alongside Jesse Mulligan. And Ali Mau - despite emphatically denying it to The Diary last week - is leaving to join Willie Jackson at Radio Live. She replaces John Tamihere, who as The Diary reported, did not have his contract renewed.


The changes at Seven Sharp also include the exit of executive producer Raewyn Rasch. It follows a dismal year of ratings and reviews, which has forced TVNZ bosses to take stock. "Seven Sharp has been the most expensive embarrassment in TVNZ history," said an insider. The show will be revamped as a more palatable daily current affairs show, with real news.

Despite network executives in programming and acquisitions fervently backing the shallow entertainment-style, TVNZ knows Seven Sharp has been a failed experiment. Street is widely regarded as one of the nicest people in television and will warm Hosking's cold image. Hosking, who will be earning more than $1 million a year in total for his radio and TV gigs, is expected to also anchor the network's election coverage.

Mike Hosking will be earning more than $1 million a year for his radio and TV gigs.
Mike Hosking will be earning more than $1 million a year for his radio and TV gigs.


How will Ali Mau cope with the down-to-earth nature of talkback? Radio Live is attempting to reach out to a new audience. But does Mau have a radio following?

3.Who is the new host of More FM's breakfast radio show being announced tomorrow? The position was left vacant by former All Black Marc Ellis, who left the station seven weeks ago.

4.Isn't it ironic that Lorde penned a song about how disconnected stars like Taylor Swift are from reality, only to end up partying with her?

5.Hone Harawira took a taxpayer-funded junket to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral because he felt apartheid protesters were not represented in our official delegation. But he's miffed he's had to explain the trip. Was he accompanied by the chip on his shoulder he seldom goes anywhere without?

6.Is Mark Sainsbury putting his hand up for the role being made vacant by Geoff Robinson on National Radio?

7.Legendary stallion Zabeel retired on Monday, and ladies' man thesp Peter O'Toole made the final curtain call. But Len Brown refused to bid goodbye. He apologised to councillors for taking undeclared freebies during his sex scandal, but evidently expects to continue to run his mayoral fiefdom with the same sense of entitlement. How far will censures go?

8.Who's going to James Cameron's neighbourhood Christmas party at his Wairarapa farm? Last year, about 95 people turned up but numbers will be down this year, he reckons, because of his new commitment to veganism.

9.When did Len Brown tell his wife that he took a close female friend on his trip to Guangzhou?

10.Which TV3 star is leading a small cabal against colleague Paul Henry? Insecurity is rife in telly land and certain egos are feeling threatened.


Will Santa bring you the Sonny Bill Williams cuddle cushion? It's available on Trade Me. He's topless, in his jim-jams, ready for bear hugs and can listen for hours without interrupting.

12.Why did Mayor Len Brown's vast team of overpaid spin doctors advise him to grin like a schmuck and show no humility on the TV news this week? Big PR fail.

Outing cancelled
Auckland Council's annual Christmas outing yesterday for the Mayor, councillors, local board chairs and Maori representatives was cancelled after very few committed to a day on Kawau Island with His Worship. Given Len Brown is about to be censured by councillors, it would have been an awkward boat trip - but probably not as scary as the Brown family Christmas.

Benji and Zoe Marshall are too wholesome for a TV3 reality show.Photo / Dean Purcell
Benji and Zoe Marshall are too wholesome for a TV3 reality show.Photo / Dean Purcell

Marshalls too normal

TV3 looked at creating a reality show on Auckland Blues newbie Benji Marshall and his aspiring TV star wife Zoe but decided they weren't controversial enough, The Diary's been told. The Marshalls eat sensibly, exercise religiously and don't smoke. Their profile in Auckland is on the rise, but TV3 says the pair did not offer enough excitement for a fly-on-the-wall reality format.