Seven Sharp starts with a wobble

Seven Sharp presenters (L-R) Jesse Mulligan, Ali Mau and Greg Boyed. Photo: NZ HeraldI haven't always had a great track record when it comes to predicting the life and success of local TV shows. When Holmes launched, I suggested the star himself would be reduced to doing ads for opticians within weeks, writes Colin Hogg.

On the strength of an episode or two, I said Shortland Street wouldn't last. I ran into its producer soon after and she was so angry she invited me outside for fisticuffs.

So here comes Seven Sharp, TV One's latest answer to what comes after the six o'clock news bulletin. The name, at least, is half right. The show starts at seven, but sharp it wasn't.

Fluffy, I'd call it - a bit like that three-headed dog owned by Hagrid the caretaker in the Harry Potter stories. Though I admit Seven Fluffy isn't a good title.

I'm not even sure presenters Ali Mau, Greg Boyed and Jesse Mulligan are a good mix, though they gave it their nervous, sometimes clumsy, best shots.

Seven Sharp, of course, is a modern sort of current affairs show. In-depth and serious is out and short, snappy, viewer-inactive, bright and breezy and poll-driven is in.

There had been talk that Seven Sharp might feature as many as eight items in its half hour, but tonight it was hard to tell which pieces were actually items, which were banter and which were wobbly bits in between.

To be honest, it was easy to tell which were the wobbly bits in between and there were quite a few of them.

The show even started with some wobbly bits as the hosts indulged in some ill-judged banter about who might replace Titewhai Harawira to hold the PM's hand at Waitangi tomorrow.

Then, bizarrely we were off for a beginner's guide to Parliament with reporter Heather Du Plessis-Alan before we went back to the studio for a semi-funny backgrounder from Mulligan on David Shearer's selection today.

By the end of the first segment, Mulligan, in fact, seemed to be in charge.

After the break, more nonsense about Titewhai, and then a sudden old-fashioned field report about a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder. It felt out of place and Boyed's clumsy attempts afterwards to tie it to public awareness didn't much help.

Then more awkward banter and a pre-recorded satellite interview with singer Josh Groban, who's coming this way for concerts, natch. And that, after a bit more banter, was that.

No live interviews (except with each other), no hard-hitting current affairs and, certainly, no easy banter. Seven Sharp can only get better. And it had better and rather quickly.

Because that was a pretty embarrassing start. Though with Mulligan, they may just have a star of some sort in the making. They just might have to eventually ditch the straight people sitting next to him.

That is, if TVNZ wants this sort of show.