Around 500 TV wannabes joined some familiar faces at auditions for the new Shopping Channel yesterday.

Candy Lane and Monty Betham were confirmed as full-time hosts on the new channel, and hundreds of hopefuls turned out in Parnell to fill eight remaining positions.

The Edge breakfast host Mike Puru was among those hoping for a chance on the small screen. Puru said he missed being on TV and it was a good chance for him to get back on it.

Puru told organisers he was "going to try to sell me to you".


Another contestant, Hayley Eaton, 27, said she was urged to try out by her boss, Gerry Brownlee.

Eaton also entered Chelsea New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker.

The Shopping Channel chief executive Alistair Duff said strong personalities were needed to bring merchandise to life through their demonstrations.

Duff said shopping habits had changed, and the show would build on rising demand to shop online.

Lane was more to the point. "I just want to see someone who is hot," she said.

Asa Tapatoutai, 18, who warmed up for his audition by dancing with Lane, said he hoped he would get to sell dance equipment.

Eight part-time presenters will be chosen from the 500 who auditioned.

The Shopping Channel premiers on October 1, channel 18 on Sky and Freeview. The show will also stream live on a website.


Lights, camera... talk!

Bright lights blind me as I stare down the camera.

I was convinced to try out by organisers, who said I needed to experience the pressure of auditioning.

So, I took a deep breath, stood on the white line in front of the camera and wondered how on earth I would talk about a pencil for one minute.

The organiser nodded and said "start". I told five onlookers everything I knew about a pencil. It was almost an out-of-body experience as I watched myself deliver an insipid and uninspired speech.

After making sure the footage would never appear on YouTube, I took my leave, more appreciative of contestants and their shameless willingness to sell near obsolete stationery.

- Siobhan Leathley