Television presenters versus celebrity entertainers

There has been continued moves towards ‘celebrity’ style entertainment in news and current affairs, away from presenters who are detached from the stories.

On Twitter yesterday:

I remember fondly the days when journalists weren’t the story. @JournalistsLike

I responded with “They’re now not just the story, they’re the show.”

The move towards celebrity fronted shows that use news and current affairs for material started with Paul Holmes. Until recently there was a long running John Campbell show, and now 3 News sets the tone for the day with the Paul Henry show.

Currently the One News home page is promoting two personalities associated with their Seven Sharp show, and the news that follows is lightweight at best:

OneNewsHome

3 News call all their news and current affairs programs ‘shows’.

3NewsShowsAnd personalities are promoted in most of those shows. Television has become 24/7 show time.

And this transformation from serious news presentation to entertainment looks like continuing, according to this item at NZ Herald:

Future uncertain for TV3 hosts

Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts may no longer be the faces of 3 News when a major revamp takes place later this year.

TV3 Head of News Mark Jennings has revealed to the Herald that a new-look bulletin will launch in November, when the network integrates its television and radio newsrooms into one operation.

Jennings said 3 News will be “the next cab off the rank” following a complete overhaul of the network’s daily news programmes, including the launch of Story this week.

“If you look in the last six months, we’ve launched three new projects. Paul Henry, Newsworthy and now Story. We have put a lot of concentration and commitment into those products. Six o’clock probably hasn’t had quite the same attention.”

He said the revamp will focus predominantly on style and content, rather than presenter line-ups. However, he said he cannot rule out presenter changes as a possibility.

It would be sad if Barry and McRoberts are “revamped” and replaced with “style”. They are two of the best presenters currently on air – they don’t let their personalities dominate the stories. They may survive – but note that John Campbell didn’t survive a revamp.

The future is probably uncertain for all news and current affairs hosts in a ratings driven dumbed down celebrity obsessed television world.

At least we have a range of online options so we can filter out the candyfloss.

UPDATE: From Alan’s comment:

TV is becoming a niche for those too incompetent or passive to search out anything else.

Leave a comment

16 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  14th August 2015

    Two of the best? Seriously? TV news is appallingly light weight these days.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th August 2015

    TV has always been about show ponies, they have just become more brazen on air. The competition from online news and entertainment is driving change. TV is becoming a niche for those too incompetent or passive to search out anything else.

    Reply
    • Phil Sherry and Dougal Stevenson where show ponies? Interesting take.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th August 2015

        Of course they were. Just more subtle on air with their BBC diction.

        Reply
    • TV might always been about show ponies but with multi faceted media the show ponies are not just ubiquitous, they have turned into ringmasters.

      Reply
  3. Mike C

     /  14th August 2015

    @George

    Just two nights ago, I was flicking through all of the channels on the telly in the middle of the night and was mourning the loss of the BBC on TVOne and the ABC on TV3.

    I preferred to watch the UK and US News Channels because they brought us the real worldwide news with occasional fluff-stuff … as opposed to TVOne and TV3’s fluff-stuff with the occasional bit of news.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  14th August 2015

      I find much American news very insular, and have heard this from other people-mostly Americans.

      The BBC doesn’t seem to be what it was, either, which is a great shame. It’s much more commercial from what I hear.

      Maybe it’s a universal thing.

      I remember when One was more or less the thinking person’s channel.It had all the good English series (remember those days ?) Now it is all but indistinguishable from the others. Cheap American ‘comedies’, endless cooking shows (who watches those ???) and a very occasional sop to those who don’t want these, like the George Clarke and Mark Vette shows.

      They had some of the Paul O’Grady dogs, and then, despite the show being the highest non-fiction, the highest rating for the evening programmes and some other highest (it also did better than 3 News) they took it off because it wasn’t doing well enough. I forget what percentage of the population watched it, but it was huge.

      They killed Antiques Roadshow, Last of the Summer Wine and others by playing them at stupid times (the sort of times reserved for repeats) and having the entire series on in a fortnight or so by putting them on every night. I love AR, but not every day-and not at 5pm.

      Reply
      • Mike C

         /  14th August 2015

        @Kitty

        Those were repeats you silly-billy. LOL. They put them on at that time for the benefit of all the old folks who can’t stay up to watch them later on at night 🙂

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  16th August 2015

          No, they weren’t. They were the (then) latest series, hence the many objections when people discovered this too late.

          Last of the Summer Wine, Antiques Roadshow and others weren’t repeats the last time they appeared on One. But we all took it for granted that they were, and so they were never seen again. These shows were never late at night, anyway.

          The last LOTSW on One was on every day at 2pm (or thereabouts), so was Hetty Wainthropp, so were others. Antiques Roadshow was on before the news-every night until the series ended. Each of these series, and others, was put on every day until the series ended. They were not repeats-I remember my (and other people’s) annoyance at this. But who wants to see a series done that way, anyway ? Much as I liked these shows, I don’t want to see 10 episodes in 10 days, and One must have banked on many people feeling the same-and assuming that no new series of a highly rated show would be on mid-afternoon, every day until it was finished.

          Reply
  4. traveller

     /  14th August 2015

    I like my news simply delivered I have to say. I don’t want the weather girl/boy, sport people or anchors to project their personalities and chatter in that hour, I just want them to get on with it. The 7.00pm slot has a different objective and this house thinks Seven Sharp has got it about right for the moment. I like the in the field reporters, especially Jehan, Matt, Michael and formerly Brodie – they bring heart and the regions into the show. I gave Story a go the second night in and it was tough going. I know it’s early days yet but there is little warmth between the hosts yet. I hope they lighten up a bit. People deserted Campbell because of his advocacy, stridency and harping on incessantly on pet issues (ChCh, GSCB etc). It got to the point where audiences felt preached at. There’s no place for 5 nights a week church in today’s pick and choose media world. I hope HDPA and DG don’t choose evangelizing over entertainment. It’ll be the kiss of death.

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  14th August 2015

      @Trav

      I very much doubt that Garner is capable of doing anything light-hearted. If anything, getting the “Story” gig has probably inflated his ego even more than it already was, and he will use his new pulpit to push his own personal views down the viewers throats even more than he did when he was on the 3rd Degree programme.

      Reply
      • Isn’t his job to push his own personal views? That’s what we want and expect from Mike Hosking, Leighton Smith, Paul Henry and co. isn’t it? That’s what see’s them lionised generally although loathed by some.

        Reply
  5. kittycatkin

     /  14th August 2015

    I don’t want to hear them pushing their views; where’s the sense in that ? I can do that. I want to find out things, not just hear what some presenter thinks. I don’t watch 7 Sharp but occasionally see the last minute/s when we turn on One for George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, We see & hear Mike Hosking droning on, looking and sounding really annoyingly supercilious with that raised eyebrow/frown and curled lip, and/or the woman presenter scolding the world for whatever has offended her that day,

    I have watched Story 1 1/2 times, and that’s enough. Heather Du Plessis-Allan’s dismissive comment on the global positioning anklets-‘they don’t work, anyway’ showed little sense. They do,in most cases, or they wouldn’t still be used. What does she take Corrections for ?

    Paul Henry killed his Australian show-now 3 has been stupid enough to let him back in here. He’s a smart-arse bigot who caused NZ immense embarrassment over his deliberate mispronunciation of a senior Indian politician’s name as Dix-shit instead of Dixit as it is pronounced correctly and screamed himself hoarse with that chattering monkey laugh (or is it more like a parrot ?) over the idea that because she was Indian, this made it appropriate that she was called this. Why his mispronunciation and puerile disrespect for a senior politician whose name he was told how to say but chose to distort was right because she was Indian is known only to himself. Then he jabbered unintelligibly in what was supposed to be an imitation of the way an Indian spoke. He called Susan Boyle, one of the world’s great singers, retarded (I hardly think so) and made childish remarks about the facial hair of another guest…it goes on and on.

    The man’s a total embarrassment.

    Reply
  6. kittycatkin

     /  14th August 2015

    Tell me-who read the news you last watched ?

    I can’t tell you who it was-I suppose Hilary R and Mike McR, but I don’t remember.

    Reply
  7. Brown

     /  14th August 2015

    Yep, Henry is a disappointment. He is smart and now and then is serious enough to be impressive but rapidly reverts to form with giggles.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th August 2015

      Giggles ? You flatter him ! He cackles and squawks. It doesn’t sound like human laughter, more like some demented animal or parrot. Nam risu inepto res ineptior nulla est (Catullus.)

      ‘There is nothing sillier than a silly laugh.’

      Reply

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