"See, he is a complete loser on both sides of the Tasman – even the Aussie rednecks wouldn't watch him."Featured comment
It is a "no comment" from TVNZ on rumours Paul Henry is tipped to return for TV One's new 7pm current affairs show.
Fuel was added today after Channel Ten in Australia canned the controversial host’s Breakfast show.
It is no secret Mr Henry has always wanted the 7pm slot, publicising his views about outgoing host Mark Sainsbury, and his own time as the show’s fill-in, in his autobiography.
The Breakfast axing was announced by Ten network this morning in the following statement:
“It is proposed that Breakfast and Ten Morning News will cease production on November 30. Breakfast television still represents an opportunity for Ten and we will return to the breakfast TV market at some point next year.”
While rival breakfast shows on Nine and Seven generally rate an average of above 300,000 viewers, Breakfast never even came close to 100,000. On Thursday of last week, Sunrise rated 370,000, Today 345,000 and Breakfast just 47,000.
NBR understands from a well-placed source in TVNZ that the state broadcaster has been chasing Paul Henry for its new 7pm show, with Pippa Wetzel as a foil.
But as of late last week there was concern the controversial broadcaster continued to resist overtures, and little inhouse internal enthusiasm for fallback candidates Greg Boyed and Tim Wilson.
Now, the door is open.
In October 2010, Paul Henry resigned from TVNZ half way through a two-week suspension without pay.
The broadcaster said he was "astonished and dismayed" at the level of controversy generated by his quips about New Zealand's then governor general, and an Indian cabinent minister.
In June last year, the Broadcasting Standards Authority fined TVNZ $3000 over the Breakfast host's comments and ordered it to broadcast an apology.
Mr Henry said the BSA ruling was a "ridiculous decision made by ridiculous people".
The broadcaster has most recently been on New Zealand screens as a pitchman for Snickers.
Media commentator Brian Edwards was dubious if Mr Henry would look comfortable pushing confectionary, but had praise for his day job, saying "Paul is an interviewer by trade and a bloody good one".
Close Up's replacement will launch early in the new year, which should give Mr Henry and TVNZ plenty of time to negotiate.
One complication: MediaWorks has Paul Henry on contract. Mr Henry has hosted the panel show Would I lie to you? for the broadcaster. A MediaWorks spokeswoman refused to comment on the duration of the contract, or other details.