While Jim Mather, chief executive of Maori Television, announced on Friday that Native Affairs host Julian Wilcox is to be promoted to boss of news and current affairs, our other state-owned broadcaster, TVNZ, revealed its current affairs show Sunday will be cut back to make way for New Zealand's Got Talent.

The award-winning, hour-long current affairs show will be reduced to a half-hour format when NZGT starts screening in September.

It is a clear message TVNZ expects the television talent quest to be a ratings winner.

It needs it to be after $1.6 million of taxpayer dollars from NZ on Air was invested in the show and the rest covered by the state-owned broadcaster.


The network says it is "the largest entertainment production undertaken by TV One in a decade" - but should it come at a cost to local current affairs?

In a release on Friday, TVNZ said "Sunday will follow immediately after One News in a concentrated half-hour format" for the duration of NZGT. But TVNZ won't stipulate how long that period will be.

Insiders on NZGT told The Diary the talent show will run for 13 weeks, but TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards would not confirm or deny it, saying that information would give competitors an advantage.

TVNZ says Sunday will return in an hour-long format when NZGT goes off the air. TVNZ believes a reduced time-slot for the current affairs show will give greater focus to local investigations.

But if TVNZ viewers are forced to change their behaviour to watch a half-hour Sunday, how successful will the show be if it returns to the status quo?

Meanwhile, MediaWorks has not renewed its output deal with CBS, makers of 60 Minutes, and its current arrangement expires at the end of the year.

TV3 is shifting funds into the creation of local content, including a new homemade current affairs show. They will be keenly observing how their rival copes with the changes made in the Sunday night TV schedule.


The funeral for murdered teenager Jane Furlong on Friday at St George's Anglican Church in Epsom was meant to be a sombre affair to celebrate the life of the young woman who vanished from Auckland 19 years ago.

However, a stoush between two rival television journalists inside the church has been branded bad taste and very inappropriate.

The Furlong family allowed television cameras into the church, but a dispute between One News reporter Kate Lynch and 3 News journalist Ingrid Hipkiss over the positioning of their respective TV cameras left onlookers surprised.

"Basically they had a stand-off over camera pole position," said an eyewitness not associated with either television network.

"Both wanted their cameras at the front of the church and both thought they were in the right."

TVNZ were there early to set up, but Ingrid was not happy and thought she had monopoly on the best spot. She name-dropped Paula Penfold's name and said 60 Minutes "had organised it".

"There were no raised voices, but it was really rude and unfitting at a funeral to argue over camera angles - especially as Judith Furlong [Jane's mum] was only steps away," the eyewitness said.

Penfold had presented a piece on Furlong for TV3 current affairs show 60 Minutes and created a slideshow which ran at the funeral.

Both networks were keen to downplay the incident when The Diary asked for an explanation.

MediaWorks spokesperson Rachel Lorimer said she was confident the TV3 crew "had worked professionally alongside other media," while TVNZ spokesperson Stephanie Taylor suggested the networks were now buddying up. "I think you'll find TVNZ and TV3 both completely agree that this was an amiable conversation about where to place cameras," she said.


Anna Paquin says her male co-stars on True Blood are more fazed by nudity than their female counterparts.

Paquin says she's not sensitive to showing off her body and stripping off in front of a camera because women are used to being seen as objects of sexual desire.

"The boys are just a bit touchier about it because they are not used to being treated as an object, like women are," she told German publication Der Spiegel. "We don't really care - we are half-naked almost all the time anyway, aren't we?"


Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry may have called it a day on rugby, but he's got one more team talk to deliver. The World Cup-winning coach will be honoured at four ticket-only dinners held in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Invercargill next month. Duco, the company behind the events, said All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter will pay homage to the man they call Ted. Speeches will also be made by John Key, Sir Colin Meads and Sir Peter Leitch.