For a small country sometimes it seems we're spoiled for choice when it comes to TV news.

That's a nice way of saying there's probably too much on offer in the early evening.

But news this week that TV3 is reviewing its half-hour current affairs show, Campbell Live, has sparked uproar, mainly because many people believe "reviewing" is a nice way of saying "canning".

POLL: What would you watch at 7pm?


Campbell Live screens at 7pm weekdays opposite Seven Sharp on TV1 and Shortland Street on TV2, among other things.

It is New Zealand's most earnest daily TV news and current affairs offering, but its greatest asset is that it has heart, great heart, and a serious passion for the people, particularly the hard done by and less well off.

Its loss would leave a gaping hole in the TV news landscape (despite news NZ On Air is to fund a TV3 investigative journalism show called 3D Investigates).

But despite its worth, maybe too few people are watching.

Regan Cunliffe from ratings website Throng was reported yesterday as saying the review was a logical commercial decision given the "massive" decline in audience.

He said that in 2013, the show was averaging an audience of 382,000. But in the corresponding period this year it was drawing just half that - 191,000. (This week it's been getting numbers in the 200,000s.)

Some commentators have pointed to matters of politics and preferences at TV3's highest levels - Campbell Live is an unapologetically liberal voice operating in a big business environment. I've thought lately it's an interesting mix having Campbell and Paul Henry on the same channel at opposite ends of the day.

Others have suggested viewers want to be entertained at 7pm rather than watch a worthy current affairs show.


I guess that would explain changes to TV1's post-news offering.

But is there any reason TV3 can't have its cake and eat it, too?

In the media-saturated weeknight TV environment do we really need 90 minutes of news and current affairs every day?

To misquote Jerry Seinfeld: "It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the news bulletin."

What if that bulletin was just half an hour, with half an hour of Campbell Live, then something more "entertaining" at 7pm?

We time-hungry news consumers might just appreciate it.