Mike Hosking and Toni Street will be joining Jesse Mulligan as the presenters of Seven Sharp in 2014.
To make way for the new pair of faces, current presenter Ali Mau and stand-in presenter Tamati Coffey will accompany Seven Sharp producer Mauricio Olmedo-Perez as they exit the TVNZ offices for the last time on 20 December.
This announcement from TVNZ comes only one day after the Broadcasting Standards Authority ordered the broadcaster to pay a fine for comments made about politician Collin Craig on Seven Sharp.
For now, it is still unclear who will replace Street on Breakfast or what the future holds for Coffey, but it appears that Hosking will retain his current role as the breakfast host on Newstalk ZB.
We contacted Megan Richards from the TVNZ corporate affairs department for further information in this regard, but she could not be reached.*
The new role sees Hosking's long presenting career take him to familiar grounds, as he returns to the studio where he served as the 2008 host of Close Up, Seven Sharp’s primetime predecessor.
Today, during his Newstalk ZB show, Hosking alluded to his new role several times, and politician Annette King, who was on air at the time, made a comment that implied that even an intoxicated Hosking would be an improvement on the current format of the television show.
While such jibes have become commonplace, with many critics seeing Seven Sharp as overly focused on tongue-in-cheek entertainment rather than hard-hitting news, this has not stopped the show from maintaining high viewership ratings throughout its inaugural year.
“Seven Sharp’s audience has shown solid growth – and is second only to sister channel TV2’s ratings juggernaut Shortland Street in its timeslot. Last month Seven Sharp was watched by an average audience of 357,500 (AP 5+) each night,” said a release from TVNZ.
Although the show has consistently outperformed Campbell Live throughout the year, TV3’s current affairs show has enjoyed steady viewership numbers since Seven Sharp took the place of Close Up.
“Campbell Live has had such a fantastic year. They are in really good shape. We are delighted by the show’s performance for 2013,” says Mediaworks communications manager Rachel Lorimer.
The TV3 show’s growth could be seen as the reason underpinning TVNZ’s decision to revamp the format by bringing on Hosking, who is renowned for his interviewing prowess.
“Mike is one of New Zealand’s most respected and versatile broadcasters. He has a long history with TVNZ and we’re delighted to be welcoming him back. We think our new team will take Seven Sharp to the next level in 2014,” says TVNZ’s Head of News and Current Affairs John Gillespie.
As an open National Party supporter, who endorsed John Key when he was first elected, Hosking could also potentially serve as a foil to left-leaning Campbell, who has been accused by the right of being partisan in his approach.
Lorimer says that the TV3 team is, however, not intimidated by the arrival of Hosking, and that competition is good for the industry.
“We’ll definitely keep an eye on the progress, but journalists enjoy the competition. And the thing that makes the Campbell Live team so strong is that they don’t look over their shoulders. They focus on the stories that matter to them and get the job done.”
The changes at Seven Sharp have also rippled into the Mediaworks radio department, because Ali Mau will be joining Willie Jackson on a revamped afternoon show on RadioLive.
This will see Jackson, who was taken off air for his mistreatment of a caller during the Roast Busters scandal, return to RadioLive in 2014.
Lorimer says that John Tamihere, who previously co-hosted the afternoon show with Jackson, would not be returning, because Mediaworks was planning to take the show in a different direction.
“I think the new show will be great. Both presenters are very experienced and opinionated, so I think it will create an interesting dynamic,” she says.
At this stage, it is still unclear how the audience and, perhaps more importantly, advertisers will respond to the return of Jackson.