Talk about being left in the lurch by TV3.
The axing of the breakfast show Sunrise might not leave a hole in everyone’s life but for those of us who tuned in solely as a protest against TV One’s Paul Henry, it’s another small battle lost in the war against drongoism.
Let’s face it, as small as Sunrise’s audience share was, hardly anyone chose to watch it on the strength of its content – they only went there in the hope that droves would follow suit and cause a backlash that not even TVNZ could ignore.
Sadly, but perhaps inevitably, it wasn’t to be. Between Carly Flynn, Oliver Driver and his dog Jack there was about as much chemistry in Sunrise as you’d find in an organic vegetable patch.
Jack was probably the most interesting and he just lay there and did nothing.
Still, it was far better than watching a narcissistic nitwit on the rival channel.
Our options now? Re-runs of Magnum PI and Everybody Loves Raymond – effectively an invitation to not turn on your set until at least midday.
We could spend much time on criticising the channel for getting the casting of Sunrise so spectacularly wrong.
Having tried James Coleman without success, it’s hard to imagine why they thought Driver would fill the bill.
Why they didn’t go for an individual who would instead offer a point of difference – a presenter with an edge, be it comic or serious – is anyone’s guess.
Someone like Paul Henry, but with taste, would have been perfect.
I mean, it doesn’t seem a difficult task. Radio Live hit the jackpot by recruiting Marcus Lush as its breakfast announcer and TV3 successfully cast comedian Jeremy Corbett as the host of 7 Days.
Jeremy Wells would have been a better bet than Driver – not to mention Jaquie Brown who, after all, was formerly a journo.
But with every setback comes a silver lining. It wasn’t too long ago that the Campbell Live crew were being called back from their summer holidays and threatened with extinction unless they upped the ante.
With enormous pressure on budgets, the Campbell Live team were told in no uncertain terms that times were tough, resources were already over-stretched, and that sooner or later something would have to give.
No surprises then when Sunrise, despite its appeal as a ‘protest’ option, emerged as TV3’s weakest link.
Not only was it not making much money for the channel but the high costs of maintaining it were adding to the burden across the network.
Campbell Live’s renaissance, combined with the launching of the weekend current affairs show The Nation, would have thrown the performance of the channel’s breakfast show into sharp relief.
It’s axing should keep the bean-counters at bay for another year or so.
The only other possible bright side is the effect the demise of Sunrise might have on TV One’s Breakfast – particularly the thought that, without competition, Henry might soon become a reasonable man.
But no, I don’t believe that, either.