After weeks of speculation and rumour, TVNZ has confirmed Radio Hauraki's Jeremy Wells will join Hilary Barry as the new hosts of Seven Sharp.

The pair will make their on-screen debut together when the series returns to air on Monday.

The announcement comes after widespread reports last week that Wells had been offered a contract by the state broadcaster.

Wells said: "It's nice to be a part of a grown-up, credible, ratings juggernaut rather than the low-rating, late-night schedule fillers I'm usually involved in.

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"I'll be leaning heavily on Hilary's intelligence, professionalism and pronunciation to get me through."

Spy first suggested Wells would make a good replacement last year, when Hosking announced his sudden departure from the show.

Wells has long-relished mocking Hosking in the Radio Hauraki series Like Mike, in which he parodies the broadcasting titan.





But what began as a joke quickly became reality as Wells was invited to screen test for the role, reportedly impressing TVNZ bosses.

Radio Hauraki boss Mike Lane confirmed Wells would still host the Hauraki Breakfast with Matt Heath and remain part of the often-controversial Alternative Commentary Collective.

"When life imitates art you know things will get interesting, Jeremy has been honing his massively popular Mike Hosking impersonations for three years on the Hauraki Breakfast Show with Matt Heath and now he is morphing into him. Happy days," said Lane.

Wells, who has long been known for his satire and pushing broadcasting boundaries, represents a new direction for Seven Sharp and TVNZ, which traditionally favours more conservative hosts.

Previously known as Newsboy on TV and radio shows, Wells also hosted Eating Media Lunch on TV2, which was an ongoing magnet for Broadcasting Standards Authority complaints. Likewise, he and Heath have attracted their fair share of formal complaints. One stunt resulted in NZME being fined $8000.

In November 2016, the BSA ruled Heath and Wells seriously breached standards when they intentionally broadcast live a phone call from Deborah Stokes, who had asked to make a complaint off-air.

The Seven Sharp desk was left vacant last year when Hosking and Toni Street surprised viewers with news they would not return in the new year.

Together, Barry and Wells mark a new era for the 7pm slot, which has long been considered the most prestigious role in broadcasting, ever since Paul Holmes debuted the top-rating Holmes programme in 1989.