John Campbell is twice as popular as Paul Henry, according to TV3's own research.

Campbell Live's final broadcast last night received the show's highest ratings ever, with more than half a million viewers tuning in.

It was watched by 484,000 viewers live and a further 48,000 on TV3 + 1. Campbell Live tweeted that it was TV3's biggest show of 2015.

It beat TV1's Seven Sharp, which had 411,580 viewers in the 7pm time slot.

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Meanwhile, according to TV3's own research, John Campbell is twice as popular as Paul Henry.

Extensive polling commissioned by Mediaworks late last year, understood to be when the channel's bosses were weighing the future of the now-departed broadcaster, showed Campbell was picked by 29 per cent of respondents as their most preferred current affairs presenter.

Paul Henry, who then fronted a late night show bearing his own name at the time, rated 14 per cent. Henry has gone on to headline MediaWorks' breakfast television and radio show.

The research also showed Campbell Live was watched by more people than Seven Sharp and the Paul Henry Show - results at odds with official rating information that was used to justify an ultimately terminal review of the show.

In the 25-54 year-old age range, 26 per cent watched Campbell Live at least once or twice a week, compared to Seven Sharp's 20 per cent and 17 per cent for Paul Henry.

Ranked third in TV3's stable was Samantha Hayes on 10 per cent - who hosts a new evening show Newsworthy from June 8 - according to the study analysing TV3's target demographic of 25 to 54-year-olds.

The closely-held research was obtained by the Weekend Herald as part of a cache of internal MediaWorks documents that includes internal briefings given to announce the closure of the long-running show.

That document, titled "Confirmed Changes 7pm review" outlines management's problems with Campbell Live as being an unwillingness to change, and a recent rating spike being "a big improvement, but analysis shown that it is unlikely to be sustainable unless change is made".

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Campbell Live's ten year run ended last night, along with host Campbell's 24-year tenure at the station. The show will be replaced in the short-term with reruns of Road Cops, with a lighter program with two hosts expected to take over more permanently in July.

The decision last week to axe the show, following a controversial six-week review, is understood to have come as a bitter blow to the show's host and 22 staff, who believed the ratings spike - and continued advertiser and sponsor support - had been enough to save the program.

The briefing document said Campbell's crusades should not "go past the point of audience fatigue e.g Pike River", and steps would be put in place to prevent this happening with the show's replacement.

"To facilitate this there will be greater editorial oversight by News leadership," the document.

The replacement show would have a "greater emphasis on entertainment," as a lead-in to the channels' entertainment-heavy schedule from 7:30.

Most preferred current affairs presenter
John Campbell - 29%
Mike Hosking - 15%
Paul Henry - 14%
Miriama Kamo - 13%
Toni Street - 13%
Samantha Hayes - 10%
Duncan Garner - 2%
Sonya Wilson - 2%
Lisa Owen - 2%

Source: Perceptive Research polling commissioned by MediaWorks in 2014 of viewers in the 25-54 age bracket.