Seven Sharp: New hosts but same old story

Last updated 13:16 29/01/2014

My feelings on Paul Henry aren't exactly a secret - but it's another television host that's got me worked up this week.

We'll come to The Paul Henry Show in a wee bit (I took one for the team by tuning in) but let's deal with Seven Sharp first.

TVNZ's alternative to TV3's Campbell Live has had a difficult time since its inception - Greg Boyed, one of the initial hosts, quit in September and Alison Mau followed suit at the end of the last season.

In their place beside comedian Jesse Mulligan comes Toni Street and Mike Hosking.

I'll be honest and say I've never been a huge fan of Mulligan, even going back to his time on 7 Days - I always felt there were quicker and cleverer comedians on the show.

However on a show like Seven Sharp there is definitely a role for someone with a comedy background, particularly in the lighter moments or if used as a foil for an overbearing idiot presenter - more on that in a minute...

Toni Street? She's a competent host who hasn't done anything to turn me off, or anything to make me think she adds anything that Mau didn't previously.

Mike Hosking, on the other hand, makes me want to punch myself in the head so I can't hear him talk.

Like Henry, his politics are fairly obvious if you listen to him for more than 10 seconds.

But it's the smugness, the sense that he's right just because, that drives me wild.

If I'd clenched my fists any harder during the first show they could have turned a lump of coal into diamond which I could then have used to cut him out of my television screen.

Last night's second show wasn't as bad, if only because they didn't use him as much.

His last segment complaining about his children being out of school for so long and eating him out of house and home was his (lame) attempt at humour - and that's the kind of stuff that's perfect for Mulligan to lampoon.

But his interview with Hone Harawira - his main part of the show - was pretty awful too and wily old Hone knew what Hosking was going to try to do.

Hosking tried to get Harawira, over the course of just a few minutes, to admit he hadn't been turning up at Parliament and then, when that didn't work, to get him to admit that when he does it's a waste of time.

I'm all for asking the hard questions - but it seems much easier for 'journalists' like Hosking to ask the hard questions of someone who you either don't agree with.

I'll be interested to see if Hosking applies a similar manner of questioning if and when John Key makes an appearance on the programme.

Thankfully Hosking was nowhere near the best story of last night - a wonderful insight into the life and wedding of Nick Chisholm, who suffered a brain stem stroke a few years back and can do virtually nothing for himself.

It was heartbreaking and beautiful and tear-inducing. Some great television made better for not having that coiffured, puffed-up co-host make comment on it.

Seven Sharp has the glimmer of something good, particularly if it can offer more like last night's story.

But the format - three presenters who don't seem to have any chemistry - is wrong and while Hosking is there I won't be able to tune in regularly.

Finally, let's deal briefly with The Paul Henry Show.

Henry opened strongly with both David Cunliffe and Prime Minister Key appearing and was followed by a bit on Labour MP Jacinda Ardern DJing at Laneways.

There were moments when Henry was a touch smug or trying to be too clever - and his self-deprecation never seems truthful - but he actually did a fairly good job.

There was irreverence. There was news. There were no racist or misogynist jokes and there was little to raise my ire.

If Henry continues to be reigned in and maintains the level of guest he may be able to redeem himself in my mind.

I'll save judgement for a wee while yet, however. With Henry you sense an idiotic comment is never far away.

The best thing I can say is it's taken him way longer than Hosking to do so.

So have you watched The Paul Henry Show? Or Seven Sharp? What do you make of them? And will you tune in regularly?

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