Will Breakfast's new host Kamahl Santamaria be enough to keep TVNZ on top in the morning viewership wars between TVNZ and Three?
The former Al Jazeera news anchor starts his new role next week as replacement for John Campbell - who is now TVNZ's chief correspondent.
It comes two months after a shake-up at TV3 on AM (previously the AM Show). It launched in February with new hosts Melissa Chan-Green, Bernadine Oliver-Kerby and William Wairua. Ryan Bridge had replaced Duncan Garner in August.
But so far this year, TVNZ tells Spy it remains on top, with Breakfast being New Zealand's most watched morning news programme with an audience reach of 352,100 every day. Breakfast has achieved a 100% win rate against AM, they say.
A Three spokesperson did not entirely agree with TVNZ, saying AM has had lots of encouraging feedback and seen strong viewership in their core target audience 25-54, which they say has been ahead of Breakfast several times already this year.
Although Bridge shares some of the smarm of his predecessors Paul Henry and Garner, it seems so far, Santamaria very much has Campbell's "Mr Nice Guy" traits.
The 42-year-old is a spring chicken compared to 58-year-old Campbell and tells Spy he learned a lot from him when he was 17 doing his first interview at TV 3. Most of all, he learned just to be himself on air.
"Back then John was welcoming, so interested, and so willing to help and offer advice – imagine discovering that the guy off the TV was such a genuine and kind person? I don't think he's changed in those 24 years, and frankly I'm honoured to be taking up the Breakfast mantle from him."
Santamaria hopes he goes with viewers' taste in cereal and admits he has some nerves, which he hasn't felt for a long time, but he says it's a good thing.
"Nerves mean it matters and that you're aware of what you're getting into … I'd probably be more concerned if I just breezed in and thought 'yeah this'll be easy'."
Fresh back in Auckland from Doha, Santamaria is keen for viewers to get to know him, as he says a lot of the talk around his appointment was centred on whether a "serious international news anchor" from Al Jazeera would be able to adjust to breakfast news in New Zealand.
"By the end of week one, viewers will see that there'll be no issue there. Breakfast is going to give me the chance to be myself, and to talk to our audience just as I would talk to them in person.
"It doesn't matter what the story is – it's about making it relevant and interesting and informative for New Zealanders. And that's what we'll be doing."
Santamaria says he can lose sleep about the fear of failure … or making sure he has a desire to give everything he's got and not let himself or the team down.
Only back a few weeks after 21 years abroad means Santamaria hasn't had a lot of time to bond with his new team of Jenny-May Clarkson, Matty McLean and Indira Stewart, but at their photoshoot this week it was noticed Santamaria had a tear in his eye.
"Surreal might be a good way to describe it, it was definitely overwhelming.
"Seeing myself sitting on the couch, all together, it made it all so real. I never once imagined that I'd be returning to such an amazing job here in New Zealand with such a tremendous team – and yet there I was, right there in the photograph alongside them.
"They are such a talented team, each with particular strengths, and they're a close unit too. I think working with them is going to be professionally and personally fulfilling. Really, I just want to fit in and help create a fantastic new chapter in Breakfast's history with them."