We were all tuning in to see how much WTF Jeremy 'Newsboy' Wells was gonna bring to stuffy old Seven Sharp.

More than I thought, but that ended up complicating things. And not just for the viewer.

Throughout the broadcast it was fairly obvious that Wells was also struggling with how much WTF he could get away with.

You can't say he didn't try. An early apology to those "tuning in for Extreme Cake Makers", seemed like a prepared throwaway gag that didn't quite stick, before becoming an integral part of the show.


After telling viewers the baking show "rated its socks off over the summer," he then broke the news, "now you'll have to go cold turkey," in his best newscaster voice.

"But there's a cake challenge coming up," beamed fellow host Hilary Barry, in case anyone was upset by all the no-baking going on.

This "challenge" involved a blink and you'll miss it skit that saw the two hosts larking about while pretending to bake. It was a bit awks.

"Do you bake often?" Barry asked.

"Most days," Wells answered.

Later, they displayed their wares. Barry had - supposedly - baked a delightfully extravagant, frosty pink, towering masterpiece, while Wells presented two flat sponges.

"Mine is a stronger metaphorical cake," he said, explaining how the splodgy brown mess decorating one was a P for pakeha and the splodgy white mess of an M was for Maori.

"It's subverting race relations," he said.

This was straight out of the Eating Media Lunch playbook. But was it funny?

Eehhh. As a bit it was a little undercooked. But Wells certainly seemed far more comfortable behind his familiar shield of satire than he did fronting pieces about rock climbers and school lunches. And it's impossible to imagine anything like it happening under the show's old regime.

But Wells did seem nervous. Straightening up only for his scripted lines, he spent most of the time hunched over with his cupped hands in front of his face.

Perhaps the clashing of worlds was causing an existential crises. Perhaps there was offscreen pressure. At one point, after another lamentation of Extreme Cake Makers finishing, Barry lamented, "the truth is you may get it back if we don't rate."

If Wells was a bit nervy then Aunty Hilary was every bit a pro. Cool, calm and clearly having a ball. Obviously besotted with her new hosting buddy she gamely set up jokes and gags wherever possible, happy to play it straight for the sake of a good lol.

Which is all very well but, in the immortal words of a famed attack dog political reporter, this is the f***en news!

Kind of.

It's safe to say the news was letting the side down. Leading with a worthy but dreary piece on school lunches and then swerving to a glorified Instagram story about EXTREME rock climbing it was hard to work out what I was watching.

Especially as these longer pieces were sandwiched between the hosts' slightly awkward bants and smaller rapid fire pieces. Because Wells has satirised the format so thoroughly over the years I kept waiting for punchlines that never came.

Instead Barry and Wells sat around their too small desk in front of a retina burning pink background, desperate for bants but often getting lost in each other's eyes rather than ours, those info bursts bled into loooong news features and then there were cake skits and PSA's about not paying Westfield parking fines and Super Bowl ad highlights and sometimes Wells was satirising stuff and sometimes he was a serious newsman but even then it seemed like he was taking the piss, and we still haven't got to Anika Moa stealing the show with her Celine Dion interview yet.

So yes, they crammed a heck of a lot in. Too much, really. There's pacing problems and expectation problems. Seven Sharp feels a little like they don't know what they want it to be and are still trying to figure out how to make this bold experiment work.

I know what I want it to be, and sadly that's not a 7pm current affairs show.