Henry won't be close-up at TVNZ
It looks like controversial presenter Paul Henry won't be the new man on a revamped Close Up next year.
He will be back in New Zealand after his struggling Australian breakfast show was axed last week, but MediaWorks - which owns TV3 and RadioLIVE among others - yesterday confirmed Henry would be back on board but were tight- lipped about whether his return would be on screen or via the airwaves.
"We were sorry to lose him to Australia and we're pleased he'll be returning," spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer said.
The company was working through the details of the contract and Henry's role had not yet been finalised, she said.
Henry had been touted as the host of a new TVNZ current affairs show to replace Close Up next year but the Sunday Star- Times understands Henry told a women's magazine he was offered a 7pm current affairs job at TVNZ but opted to honour his contract with Mediaworks.
His new role with Mediaworks was unlikely to be announced until February.
Henry famously resigned from TVNZ in late 2010 after he was the subject of hundreds of complaints.
His most high-profile gaffes included using a discussion on the Commonwealth Games to make fun of the name of Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit and suggesting former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand didn't sound like "a real New Zealander".
As Henry's Australian show continued to flop, rumours TVNZ were chasing Henry hotted up. TVNZ could not be reached for comment.
Australia's Channel Ten launched the Breakfast show in February this year, with Henry's opening words: "It is game on", but bosses last week announced the game was up and filming would end on November 30.
The show premiered to 51,000 viewers but quickly fell away. Ratings averaged around the 40,000 mark, and was as low as 24,000 some mornings. At one point, the show had zero viewers in Melbourne for a 15-minute segment.
At its annual new season launch a couple of weeks ago, MediaWorks revealed the big shows set to screen on TV3 next year, which included X-Factor NZ, prompting rumours Henry could be lined up for a spot as a judge alongside popstar Stan Walker.
TV3 journalist Duncan Garner described Henry as a "talented broadcaster" and was not surprised by the announcement of his return.
Garner will host the new current affairs show Third Degree and said he was not concerned about the veteran broadcaster coming back and stepping on any toes.
- Sunday Star Times