A new story: Duncan Garner and Helen du Plessis-Allan announced as hosts on Campbell Live replacement

In a recent opinion piece by Duncan Garner he said he strives to find more of a work-life balance and prioritise the important things after the loss of his father and realising Parliament was “a ridiculous place to work”. He might find that a bit difficult now, as it was announced today he will be a co-host on Campbell Live’s replacement Story, alongside Heather du Plessis-Allan, while continuing to present his RadioLIVE drive show from 3-6 weekdays. But no doubt the show will be welcomed with open arms after Come Dine with Me has failed to deliver in the ratings department as TV3 hits an all-time low.

However, despite the busy work schedule, Garner seems pretty pleased with his new role. “I see this as a great chance to be part of a programme that will reflect our country and our lives – no matter where we live,” he says. “I expect us to have fun, to laugh, to entertain and to tell your stories. And when those in power in Wellington, or in your own community, make bad decisions, mislead you or are hypocrites, I promise – you can rely on us to keep them honest – simple.”

Du Plessis-Allan says she’s also excited to be a part of a new chapter for TV3. “Duncan is one of the best journalists around so I’m stoked to be able to learn from him. But Duncan, if you’re reading this; don’t let it go to your head. I’m not your sidekick. In fact, they told me you’re my sidekick.”

“Duncan and Heather are two of New Zealand’s top journalists,” says MediaWorks group head of news Mark Jennings. “They will be a formidable team at 7pm. Story will focus on the issues that are relevant and important to all New Zealanders. We will be looking for the best stories, the most interesting stories and the stories New Zealanders are talking about.”

And after a scout around on Twitter, the general consensus so far seems to be in favour of Garner and du Plessis-Allan’s placement, with the odd exception:

Heather and Duncan are two of the most engaging and talented journalists in New Zealand, MediaWorks CEO Mark Weldon says. “Together they represent a major investment by MediaWorks in the future of current affairs leadership in New Zealand.”

The new show will screen at 7pm four days a week.

Meanwhile, we’re sure New Zealanders will let out a sigh of relief knowing Come Dine with Me hosted by Guy Williams can’t possibly go on for too much longer in that slot, though no date has yet been set for the debut of Story.

Nielsen ratings show it isn’t performing too well, with an average rating of 161,700 in the five-plus category  between 15 June and 19 June and 96,000 in the 25-54 age demographic, which advertisers focus on. To compare TVNZ’s Seven Sharp was sitting at 545,800 in the five-plus numbers and 141,100 in the 25-54 numbers.

According to Throng 144,488 on average tuned in each night (in five-plus ratings), which equates to a 59 percent drop on the same time two years ago when Campbell Live was at its peak. “The local adaption of the cooking series, featuring Guy Williams, fell a further 7 percent on the previous week to the lowest average audience we’ve seen TV3 have in the 7pm slot.”

There has also been speculation that Come Dine with Me could be moved to TV3’s primetime 5.30pm slot, which helps drive viewers to 3 News at 6pm. TVNZ poached Home and Away from this spot two years ago.

Throng also says while TV3 is hitting new lows, Seven Sharp has enjoyed another good week with every episode delivering more than half a million viewers each night to TV One, with the average audience for the week being 536,550.

As a testament to New Zealanders’ opinion of the cooking show, the tongue-in-cheek hashtag #SaveComeDinewithMe has also been floating around on social media, in reference to the popular #SaveCampbellLive hashtag, we’re not quite sure how effective that’s going to be.

Because of the changes 3 News has also been suffering. On 8 June the Herald reported Prime News outrated its competitor with 3News drawing in 166,000 on 7 June which was 13,000 less than Prime News.

To put that into perspective, two weeks before 3 News attracted nearly double that figure, with 314,000 viewers tuning in.

In related news, it’s been announced John Campbell has taken a one-off job for Sky, his first role since leaving Campbell Live last month.

Stuff reported Campbell would be joining Sky Sport’s presentation team for the historic All Blacks’ match against Samoa in Apia 

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