Heather du Plessis-Allan's less-than-Storybook demise
OPINION: Broadcaster Heather du Plessis-Allan will be denied the television journalists' ritual fond farewell after the co-host of Story was taken off air on Monday by MediaWorks' news chief Hal Crawford.
The end was nigh for du Plessis-Allan after she claimed that, along with co-host Duncan Garner, she was told Story was kaput back in July.
In an interview with the Herald on Sunday, the Story host announced she was quitting television. Her announcement provoked an email, sent to MediaWorks staff, from Crawford confirming that du Plessis-Allan was leaving forthwith and that her services at MediaWorks were no longer required.
So what got the news chief in such a snit that du Plessis-Allan was given the DCM (Don't Come Monday) and the show went to air on Monday with Amanda Gillies in her seat? Neither Garner nor Gillies passed comment on the absence of du Plessis-Allan and it was business as usual.
In his email, Crawford intimated that du Plessis-Allan's sin was a matter of timing. She said she knew of the show's axing in July, while Crawford maintains that the boom on Story was lowered only recently.
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Either way the show is no longer and it's farewell to the gun-toting host whose most memorable moment on the 7pm magazine/current affairs show was to purchase a .22 calibre sports rifle with false documentation.
Apparently it's news to the 32-year-old broadcaster that one should see out your time with dignified silence and not give interviews to print media divulging your intention to quit the ranch for good.
Was the experienced broadcaster, who has worked in television for 10 years, simply talking off the top of her exhausted head, or was she irked that her co-host had been given Paul Henry's breakfast host slot and there was nothing of substance for her in the pipeline?
Du Plessis-Allan told the Herald reporter that she hadn't informed Garner she was leaving TV, adding as an afterthought that she'd better give him a ring. Working two jobs – hosting Story plus fronting a Radio Live radio show on Sundays, and commuting to her home in Wellington had tired her out.
With only a couple of weeks to go till Story would have hung up its bucket and spade and Garner and du Plessis-Allan could have ploughed to the finish line together, Crawford's over-reaction only makes the MediaWorks' meltdown seem worse.
It's a pity du Plessis Allan didn't shoot her mouth off earlier and viewers could have had the pleasure of Amanda Gillies co-hosting. Unlike du Plessis-Allan, who mugged to camera and made the show all about her, Gillies has natural charm, warmth and a sense of humour.
However, personality alone can't deliver the goods and there wasn't room in the 7pm slot for two competing, increasingly irrelevant current affairs shows, which fail to deliver cut-and-thrust interviews with politicians on the issues of the day.
Both Seven Sharp and Story deserve to be consigned to their moronic inferno after stupefying viewers – one with right wing tutorials, the other with its genuflection to social media.
The decay arc of television journalism continues on the downward spiral and MediaWorks has ended up paying the price for aiming too low.