John Campbell to leave MediaWorks

Today, MediaWorks announced via a story published on 3News that John Campbell would be leaving Campbell Live and that the show would be replaced by an alternative current affairs programme in the 7pm slot.

The new show is expected to start within the next six to eight weeks and will run Monday to Thursday, with a yet-to-be-announced entertainment show running on Friday evenings.    

This comes after a six-week review of the programme was conducted the executive team at MediaWorks.

“[Group head of news] Mark Jennings recommended we review Campbell Live because, despite the quality of the show, Campbell Live had lost viewers every year for 10 years, to the point where the show was unsustainable,” MediaWorks Group chief executive Mark Weldon was quoted saying in the statement on 3News.

Following news that Campbell Live could potentially be discontinued, many Kiwis responded with outrage, signing online petitions, bemoaning the state of journalism and criticising MediaWorks for the move. Others even went a step further by actually watching the show and this led to a spike in ratings immediately after the announcement was made public.

Until then, Campbell Live had been tracking well below the ratings for a comparable period in either 2013 and 2014. And the support of viewers did lead to significant increase in viewership, lifting the show’s rating higher than those recorded in 2014 but not improving on the 2013 numbers.

As Throng points out, in 2013 Campbell Live was performing well against TVNZ’s new show Seven Sharp and the future looked promising. However, TVNZ didn’t wait for its competitor to carry on chipping away at its viewership numbers and then in 2014 made the bold move to drop presenters Jesse Muligan and Ali Mau and bring in Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking.

This move proved effective, and Seven Sharp’s increased its lead over Campbell Live all the way through 2014. Since then, Campbell Live has not been able to recover its viewership numbers, leading to the eventual move by MediaWorks to review and ultimately rethink the primetime time slot.        

Weldon goes on to say that Campbell turned down an offer to continue working on a revamped version of the show, which would feature two hosts rather than one.   

“I want to pay tribute to John Campbell,” Weldon said. “He has made a huge contribution to TV3 and MediaWorks over the years, and I was hoping this would continue – which is why last November I offered John a three-year contract, which he did not sign. I respect John’s decision not to continue at MediaWorks and wish him well.”

At this stage it is still unclear where Campbell will next be taking his career, but no doubt various media companies will be interested in adding him to their lineups. 

MediaWorks is currently recruiting hosts for the new show. 

  • Read more on MediaWorks’ decision to review Campbell Live here. 

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