A secret meeting between a top TVNZ reporter and a TV3 boss became awkward when the journalist's boss walked in.
Political reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan recently met TV3 head of news Mark Jennings. It is understood TV3 wanted to talk to her about becoming a co-host for the station's new current affairs programme, set to replace the recently axed Campbell Live in the 7pm slot.
A source told the Weekend Herald du Plessis-Allan and Jennings had decided to meet in Wellington at the Bolton Hotel - an establishment many TVNZ staffers stay at regularly. The booking was made in the name of TVNZ, apparently to avoid suspicion.
However, unknown to the pair, TVNZ's head of news gathering, Phil O'Sullivan, was checking in to the hotel that day too.
A hotel staffer inadvertently gave the game away when Mr O'Sullivan was given access to the room booked under "TVNZ" - it is understood he opened the door to find the pair in secret talks.
Yesterday, du Plessis-Allan declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for MediaWorks, TV3's parent company.
But TVNZ's head of news and current affairs, John Gillespie, wasn't surprised by the meeting. "We completely understand why MediaWorks are targeting our people - we think they're the best in the business too."
Campbell Live, as well as its host John Campbell, bowed out just over three weeks ago. The prime-time slot is currently being filled by cooking show Come Dine With Me NZ.
MediaWorks has not yet revealed who will take the reins for the new 7pm programme, but du Plessis-Allan is among the names - including Duncan Garner, Alison Mau and Paul Henry - that media commentators have suggested are in the running to co-host the show.