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:


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.