There's been a bit of chatter in the media recently about whether MediaWorks will renew its licensing deal with CBS and whether the end is nigh for its flagship current affairs show 60 Minutes. That decision is still up in the air, but what is clear is that 60 Minutes host Mike McRoberts and new arrival Guyon Espiner are involved in a new international current affairs show called Three60 that's screening on Sunday mornings and is being sponsored by Massey University.
MediaWork's publicity manager Rachel Lorimer says the new show is most definitely an addition to 60 Minutes rather than an instead of, and even if the 60 Minutes brand does get the heave ho at some stage, she says the network has made a commitment to funding long-form local current affairs. Given the parlous financial state of the broadcaster, this seems slightly counter-intuitive because syndicating international content is much cheaper than producing local current affairs, which is at the premium end of the content scale.
Three60 taps into that syndication model and offers viewers an opportunity to look at some of the week’s major international political and business events, with much of the material coming from the UK's ITV and Channel Four and America's CBS. There will also a be interviews with politicians, academics and key newsmakers to provide background and analysis and bring a New Zealand slant to the international stories.
"A lot of the stuff we get access to doesn't suit the 6pm format," Lorimer says. "So this will be like a department that looks at international news. And it's really going to firm up our Sunday mornings for us [the show screens at 9am between The Nation and John Tamihere's Thinktank]."
So, for those lamenting the imminent departure of TVNZ7 and its higher-brow content, this show—and McRoberts' velvety voice—might just help fill the void.
- Three60 premieres this Sunday, 6 May at 9am and will kick off with a focus on the French election.