Colleagues of Jesse Mulligan on Seven Sharp have expressed dismay this week about his treatment in a recent publicity story for the show published in a women's mag which, they say, leaves the presenter out in the cold.
Mulligan was conspicuously left out of the four-page spread in Woman's Day which depicts the chummy camaraderie between his co-stars Toni Street and Mike Hosking. He was relegated instead to a trivial sidebar.
"Everyone feels for Jesse," said one staff member. "He looks sidelined. There are all sorts of rumours going around that he is unnecessary and will be dumped from the show at some point, and that story did not help. TVNZ's publicity department was behind it, but you have to wonder what was the aim.
"I hope they're not doing an 'Ali Mau' on him [who learned she was being dumped from the presenting line-up through the media]. The story was hardly conducive to team bonding or showing Seven Sharp as a tight unit. It looked like The Mike and Toni Show."
Mulligan looked very chipper on Monday at TVNZ following a week's absence on sick leave.
Seven Sharp has seen many faces leave the show since its inception. Last week, reporter Craig Stanaway quit for a media management role at Duco Events, organisers of the Auckland Nines. The Diary understands he won't be replaced because Seven Sharp is being downsized. Insiders say at least one other position is under review.
After this column printed the story last week about Stanaway's departure, TVNZ execs went on a witch-hunt for leakers.
News boss John Gillespie issued a fatwa, apparently telling staff they would be shown the door if they talk to this newspaper.
Managing bad press is important for the show, which has seen more than its fair share of it, but when the company's own publicity team are behind pieces that affect staff morale, you have to wonder who the foe is.
Radio host accepts apology over Facebook post
She's known for her outspoken views, and longstanding ZM radio host Polly Gillespie didn't hold back when a personal message she posted on Facebook was deleted without her permission.
Gillespie had posted an old photo of herself with good friend Jacqui Jensen - a former ZM employee who now works for rival MediaWorks - and said how much she missed working with her.
For Polly, the posting "caused a freak-out and then boom!"
"For the first time since I set up this page someone has edited it without my permission. I am furious," Gillespie wrote on Facebook.
"By tomorrow I will have details of my new fan page, it will be totally and completely adminned [sic] by ME.
"So, so, so outrageously pissed, hurt, violated and consumed by the injustice. You know me right? Good lord this [is] Big Brother."
Jensen's position on ZM's afternoon show has been filled by Zoe Marshall.
Dean Buchanan, chief content officer of TRN, said: "Yes, there was a deletion made on her Facebook page, an apology has been made and Polly has accepted this." The message has not been republished.
A message by Gillespie on Facebook said she had accepted an apology from those responsible.
Ali's media comeback bumpy
Ali Mau made her radio debut on Monday and proved more than a match for co-star Willie Jackson - if only she could lighten up a bit. Maybe it's the inherent good-girl, politically correct TV presenter in her, but no one likes a school ma'am on talkback.
Jackson introduced Mau via a long-winded, heartfelt prologue dedicated to former co-star and longstanding friend John Tamihere, who is suing the company. As far as welcomes go, it was a tad bitter-sweet for Ali.
Jackson's loyalties are tight. But sources say he is committed to making his new show work. "He gave me a bit of stick, but I expected it. I'm not feeling too bruised and battered. I know he's a big softie, really," Mau said on-air.
The RadioLive show has promise. There's a jovial spark between the pair, and with more experience under her belt, Mau will shine. "I have a lot to learn about radio and I know this marvellous man can teach me," she said.
Kiwis partying abroad
In Germany on Friday, filmmaker Taika Waititi and his partner Chelsea Winstanley rubbed shoulders with celebs at
The Hollywood Reporter
party during the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival, where his film,
What We Do in the Shadows
, has been selected to screen.
* Meanwhile in Henderson, reps for South Pacific Pictures were toasting their show, The Blue Rose, offshore.
The drama was dumped from our telly screens after low audience numbers, but it's been named a finalist in the drama category at the New York Festivals Awards.
The gala ceremony takes place in Las Vegas in April.
* But perhaps the best party memories this week are care of Sky TV presenter Hayley Holt, a former snowboarding champ, who attended an after-party in Sochi for the Olympic snowboard slopestyle athletes where there were, she said, "actual naked strippers ... no joke".
No word on whether friend of Tinder, Rebecca "Possum" Torr, was in attendance.