Pippa Wetzell and Paul Henry pictured in Queenstown during
their time on Breakfast. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
The replacement for Close Up
will be a magazine
show with two presenters - and Pippa Wetzell and Paul Henry are
understood to be the hot favourites.
A confidential brief circulating at TVNZ says the focus will
be on the "talking point of the day" and a mixture of news
But a journalism commentator said it would be "Breakfast at
dinner-time" and showed the broadcaster's lack of commitment
to strong current affairs.
Inside TVNZ, it was no secret the network had been courting
Wetzell and it wanted to give the well-liked presenter a
prominent role next year.
It was understood there had been meetings between executives
It is not known whether Henry was included in these, though
the two are known to be friends outside of work.
A TVNZ source familiar with the show's proposal said there
would be a big emphasis on lighter items and the programme
would not be shy of "having fun".
In the statement announcing Close Up's axing on
Thursday, TVNZ head of news and current affairs Ross Dagan
said the network wanted to reinvent the early evening slot
"to present the stories of the day in a way that is very
different to what has gone before".
Associate professor of journalism at the University of
Canterbury Jim Tully said Close Up had not been presenting
itself as a "hard-hitting" current affairs programme for some
"But it sounds as if the format is going to be something that
is lighter and more infotainment than what we might think of
as a strong current affairs package coming at the end of the
news," Mr Tully said. Wetzell did not return calls last night
and Henry could not be reached for comment.