Hold the knives for Seven Sharp

If a television test pattern ran at 7pm on TV1 during the week it’d still get ratings.

While that may be an extreme stretch of a point, the network’s latest incarnation of a current affairs show, Seven Sharp, has a major head start when it comes to other news-based shows.

It is on the highest rating channel, in a slot that any show producer would kill for, and falls at a time when people expect to see a certain kind of show.

For almost 25 years it has been this way.

A generation of viewers have been conditioned to this, first with the Holmes show and its successor, Close Up, which was wound up late last year.

In the world of New Zealand television, there isn’t a more enviable slot.

As soon as the name of the new show and its triumvirate of hosts was announced, the knives were out, ready to butcher the new offering well before it was even broadcast.

It couldn’t be similar to the previous shows in the slot, so some risks had to be taken – the most obvious of which was bringing in comedian Jesse Mulligan.

News and current affairs can get a little stuffy, so there’s nothing wrong with bringing some levity in.

The key is getting the timing of those moments right, otherwise it comes across forced and – worst of all – cringeworthy.

While some will never give the show a chance, it deserves a little more respect than that. It may sink, it may swim, it just deserves the opportunity to do one or the other.

It was a gamble that the big noters at TV1 were willing to take, so it shall be on their heads if it crashes and burns.

To avoid that, the makers of the show need to realise the privileged position they have been handed. Because of its slot there is a large base of audience already locked in.

It’s now for the show to iron out its problems and nail the content and delivery.

And judging by the response to the first show, at least there is some buzz about it.

And who said people weren’t interested in television shows any more?


Wherever you are and whatever you are doing – or did – I hope you are having an enjoyable Waitangi Day.

It is often fraught with tension and anxiety during the official part of proceedings up north, but there’s no need for all of us to be dragged into it.

For the majority of people it is a day off, and it should be spent reflecting and thinking what a wonderful country we live in, even if it does have a few flaws.

Manawatu Standard