All's not well at TVNZ for Breakfast's 25-year birthday celebrations with the head of news and current affairs resigning this week, the show still down a host and ratings falling.
Kamahl Santamaria's dramatic exit in May brought the panel of four down to three. He resigned after only a month as a co-host following allegations of inappropriate behaviour directed at multiple women, including a broadcaster.
On Wednesday, an independent review found TVNZ's recruitment process was not suited to key presenter roles. The man who hired Santamaria and worked alongside him at Al Jazeera, TVNZ's head of news and current affairs Paul Yurisich, resigned the same day, nearly two months after taking leave from his position.
Spy hears Newsroom staff at One News are relieved the review is out and want to move on from "dark times". As it has since Santamaria's exit, the show must go on at Breakfast but Spy's been told a replacement fourth host will not be jumping out of any cake as a surprise for viewers on the show's birthday on August 11. "We don't have any presenter changes to announce," is all the network will say.
Only two of the hosts who debuted for the new-look Breakfast in January - Matty McLean and Indira Stewart - will be in the studio to celebrate the show's milestone. Their co-host, former Silver Fern Jenny-May Clarkson, will still be in Birmingham covering the Commonwealth Games but will no doubt make an appearance to blow out the candles virtually.
TVNZ might want to think about bringing back John Campbell for a special birthday appearance. The popular broadcaster replaced Jack Tame to join Hayley Holt in 2019 but left the show in April this year to become the network's chief correspondent.
After the show's new look relaunch in January, Breakfast had an average of 352,100 viewers in the 5+ demographic but over the past two months that has fallen to an average of 271,300, and is more in line with last year's ratings.
Announcing a new player in the presenting mix might gain back that hard-earned momentum.
Audiences don't appear to have jumped in massive droves to Three's new look AM show that also relaunched earlier this year. AM has reached an average of 186,400 viewers for the 5+ demo over the past two months.
AM, which relaunched with its own new look and team of four in February with Melissa Chan-Green, Ryan Bridge, Bernadine Oliver-Kerby and William Waiirua, says it's pleased with its steady progress.
A spokesperson from Warner Bros. Discovery told Spy that AM was steadily gaining audiences across multiple demographics as the show evolved.
"Ryan, Melissa, Bernadine and William resonate with viewers as they set the agenda and cover the news of the day."
A fresh-faced Susan Wood and Mike Hosking were the first to say "good morning" on Breakfast which became a morning ritual for hundreds of thousands of Kiwis.
Over the past quarter-century, we've seen a multitude of presenters cut their teeth on the show, many of whom went on to become household names. So popular was the two-hour show it expanded to three hours 10 years ago.
TVNZ tell Spy they are thrilled Breakfast is still the most watched morning news show in the country and look forward to celebrating its incredible 25th anniversary. To mark the occasion viewers can expect the best of the show, with bloopers and blunders, reporter disasters, epic giveaways and we are told, some very special guests.