Brian Edwards Media

Better! Better! Better! (‘Seven Sharp’ last night)

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I am at this very moment preparing my invoice to send to Raewyn Rasch, the Executive Producer of Seven Sharp. You may recall that Raewyn wrote to me, unhappy with my early comments about her programme. Very early, come  to think of it – a week before the programme even went to air. The omens, I’d said, weren’t looking good.

Well, they still weren’t looking good a week into the show and I wrote another fairly lengthy post saying what I thought was wrong and, by implication, needed fixing.

And then came last night, Tuesday.  And Tuesday was different. Tuesday’s programme had a real edge to it, the very thing I’d said was missing from the earlier shows. The banter was sharper, more Paul Henry and less Play School. And the tag-team interviewing had been largely abandoned. There was Greg Boyed manfully attempting to do the impossible – get a straight answer from Winston Peters; and Ali Mau doing an interview with Investigate magazine publisher Ian Wishart, who had brought us NZ First MP Richard Prosser’s thoughtful views on ‘Wogistan’. The interview was a model of its type. And finally, a really interesting item on just how long you can survive in the open sea without a life-jacket.

All in all, a nice example of what you might call ‘palatable current affairs’. Which is ironic really when you consider that last night was also the first night that Campbell Live beat its opposition on One with 352,600 viewers against Seven Sharp’s 296,700.

My unsolicited advice to Raewyn Rash would be not to be discouraged by last night’s figures which are a reflection of viewers’ response to the previous eight days and not to last night’s show. Stick with it.

Though can I please make one suggestion to Greg Boyed. It isn’t necessary in a probing interview to look and sound so angry that you’d like to climb across the desk  and throttle your interviewee. Winston can be annoying, but not that annoying. And he has the sweetest smile.

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  1. I thought Monday night’s edition was also quite good. It is almost as if they spent all weekend analysing what went wrong last week, what they needed to do to fix these problems and developed an action plan to get the show back on track. They succeeded, from where I sit.

  2. Winston is an old campaigner and I am yet to see an interviewer get the better of him; he really relishes tough interviews.


    • The boyish little smile has a lot to do with it. It seems to convey: “You know I’m not answering the question and I know I’m not answering the question and the viewers know I’m not answering the question. Isn’t this a fun game! Now ask me another one.”

    • Did Boyd get anything out of the interview? Apart from watching Winston dodge questions which everyone has seen for the past umpteen decades was anything learned from the exchange?

      I watched the Campbell Live one and it was completely vacuous. It amounted to Campbell shouting that Prosser was outrageous and Peters saying he wasn’t.

      • Well, that’s Winston. But there’s also a problem for both interviewer and interviewee when the conversation is about something as egregiously ridiculous as the comments made by Prosser. All the interviewer can do is going on saying, ‘This was disgraceful!’ and the interviewee can do is make the best fist of defending the indefensible and not make things worse.

        • There were a myriad of questions not asked that would have been infinitely more interesting than whether Winston would admit the same level of outrage as Campbell wanted.

          Muslim terrorism is a serious and costly problem which has been exported to non-Muslim countries and must be resolved. Peters has relevant Ministerial experience as well as long involvement in immigration issues and obvious responsibility for related party policies.

          Less emotive button-pushing and more thinking was surely possible.

  3. Gave up watching TV ‘current affairs’ years ago and nothing I have heard yet leads me to reconsider the decision.

    When I get reports of a well-prepared, intelligent interviewer regularly getting honest answers from a politician, bureaucrat or businessman on matters of relevance and national importance I might think it worth enduring the ten-minutes of advertising wrapped around it but until then I’ll spend my time on something more useful.

    • I think you’re missing quite a lot of good interviews, Tom, particularly on Campbell Live. We have MySky and watch everything on delayed replay. Haven’t seen an ad in years.

  4. more Paul Henry and less Play School. …exactly…it’s coming along quite quickly now..

  5. Tonight was the first time I watched more than 2mins and it was pretty good. I’m a huge Jesse fan but he’s quite weak but Ali and Greg are great!

  6. Alan, I agree with your sentiments: “Less emotive button-pushing and more thinking was surely possible” but no, not when it comes to tabloid journalism 21st century.

    Why don’t we all, including BE, just accept it, TV investigative journalism as we new it back in the 1960’s/70’s is dead! The inter-nerd has taken over the vacuum.

    Or do we all chip in and start our own serious TV channel!?

    But then who gets interviewed that will make any sense given todays media terrain!?

  7. Hi Brian, from my new home in Shanghai I have just purchased, incredibly cheaply, the first season of THE NEWSROOM. Having been in that environment and seeing, or hearing, what is happening back home with ‘current affairs’ I was almost brought to tears with the first two episodes. The shows presenters speech regarding how the show was ‘returning’ to the essence of current affairs seems incredibly poignant given what is happening at TVNZ.

  8. Winston Peters smile does nothing for me, a smiling man can just as well be a smiling assassin. I dont know how so many NZers can be so weak and go on about this smile that won them over, thats something id expect to happen to Jesse Mulligan.

    Anyone who held up a NO sign and was then caught lying and was on my pay-roll would be fired from my company, a smile wouldnt mean jacksh=t.

  9. Tonight is Thursday of the same week. It feels as though people have been shouting inanities at me for at least an hour.

  10. Tried it again , no still bollocks. Light and seems overly contrived somehow.

    It did get me watching Campbell Live, first to compare and now I’ve become a regular Campbell Live watcher. JC can do light of course but he seems so much more authentic.