TVNZ has confirmed its new 7 o’clock show, Seven Sharp, will air its first show on 4 February.
The current affairs programme replacing Close Up will be hosted by former Fair Go-er Ali Mau; TVNZ current affairs bloke, Greg Boyed; and Jesse Mulligan, funny guy from TV3’s 7 Days.
The trio replaces the venerable and moustachioed Mark Sainsbury, who said goodbye to Close Up in November.
Mulligan’s appointment seems to indicate the show will take a more lighthearted tack with the news than its predecessor, but Ross Dagan, TVNZ’s Aussie-imported head of news and current affairs, says Seven Sharp won’t be leaving the hard stuff to competitor Campbell Live.
“We are confident this team will tell compelling stories in a refreshing way that will engage New Zealand viewers. Seven Sharp will reflect the day’s events with smart thinking, different viewpoints, and plenty of laughs along the way,” says Dagan.
Mulligan’s new role means his stint at TV3 is over effective immediately, says a TVNZ spokesperson.
Rounding out the reporting side of things will be Heather du Plessis-Allan, Jehan Casinader, Tim Wilson, and staff from TVNZ’s Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch offices.
The naming of the hosting trio has been met with mixed reception. The ever-eloquent Bruce Russell, from Newstalk ZB, asked his talkback listeners if it was ok the show will be “populated by a dyke and a clown…”
Following public outrage, Russell later apologized.