Funny man Jason Hoyte is the king of the airways in TVNZ's new series TALKBACK.
The show, shot in the fly-on-the-wall mockumentary style of The Office, sees Hoyte play the win-at-all-costs Malcolm White who leads his newsroom as they fight to keep his flagship breakfast show at No 1 and save all of their careers.
Hoyte insists his inspiration came from a range of different characters and his own radio experiences — although his character does drive a high-performance vehicle like the real king of breakfast, Mike Hosking.
"While Mike and I are very similar looking and very handsome men, I can say unequivocally it's not based on him, though it would be fair to say the odd line that Malcolm says certainly has a Hosking fragrance," Hoyte told Spy.
"The show is really based on talkback hosts in general and the relentless pursuit of ratings." Hoyte, who hosted Radio Hauraki Drive with Leigh Hart for five years, says the OnDemand show is partly based on "some of our shenanigans during those years, and what goes on when the microphones are off".
White has some famous faces playing themselves in his studio, including Seven Sharp's Hilary Barry and singer Stan Walker.
"Hilary was magnificent and there's a reason she is so loved in this country," Hoyte said. "She was also really open to what we were doing and went in guns blazing. Stan was also brilliant. I was nervous about our scenes together but you'll have to watch to find out why."
Hoyte is looking forward to viewers seeing who really does the work behind the scenes.
"So much of the work for a show is done by people whom the public never see or hear. The presenter is the final piece of a collective effort and generally the most highly paid, which is why everyone tends to want their job."
The stellar cast are Mike Minogue, Ginette McDonald, Morgana O'Reilly, Olivia Tennet, Milo Cawthorne, Simon Prast, David De Lautour and Jeremy Randerson.
McDonald, a Kiwi media institution, made a lasting impression on Hoyte.
"Ginette was fantastic. I learned through her the essential history of New Zealand television in between takes. She's a very funny human being on and off air."
Hoyte said the show, which starts streaming at the end of this month, is one for our times.
"In this age of 'fake news' and misinformation, where it seems the more outrageous the comment, the more clicks you get, it's a lot of fun to not be shackled by the truth, or have to deal with facts."