Brian Edwards Media

In this post I say the exact opposite of what I said in a post 48 hours ago. How embarrassing!

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Most of the time I try to be reasonable in my analysis of the the press, radio and television (which is my particular field of interest). I try to avoid dismissing other people’s work as rubbish or crap. I’ve had some bad reviews in my time and I know how it feels. Mostly people in this industry are doing their best.

So a day or so back on this site I wrote in praise of Seven Sharp. I said they were finally getting it right. It happened to be the same day that Campbell Live, for the first time since it came on air, won the 7pm slot.

And then there was last night, Thursday 14 February. I made my fourth attempt at spaghetti alla carbonara and finally got it right. So we had dinner and sat down late to watch Seven Sharp and later Campbell Live and, after that, maybe a movie. (Let us now give thanks for MySky.)

But I never got beyond Seven Sharp. Yes it was Valentine’s Day and you might be forgiven a little romantic frivolity, but, as JC has observed, this 22 minutes of air-time felt like an hour. And it was total and absolute, mindless, inane, gratuitous, viewer-insulting, indefensible crap. It was testament to the fact that, even with three talented presenters, the whole can be considerably less than the sum of its parts. With the best will in the world, it had no redeeming merit.

I’m not going to express a view for another month on whether Seven Sharp deserves to live or die. That’s partly to be fair to the programme and partly to avoid the embarrassment of saying one thing today and the exact opposite tomorrow. (Mainly the second part!)

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80 Comments:

  1. what doesn’t fit for me is that it’s on TV1. At it’s worst it doesn’t deserve TV2 let alone 1, and at it’s best it just doesn’t sit with the rest of TV1 programming.

  2. Saw those last few minutes of Valentines Day and the immediate thought was what was Brian thinking when he wrote that earlier piece? The programme was so light and fluffy and lacking in substance (the word spume springs to mind) that it has no hope in enticing me want to watch earlier segments. Only the birthday wish to Alison Mau (sorry I’m not part of the in crowd using the nicknames) was a genuine moment.
    Final thought: maybe they should introduce canned laughter for when the comedian makes a joke and there is a short awkward silence from the other two presenters.

  3. “total and absolute, mindless, inane, gratuitous, viewer-insulting, indefensible crap” sir you praise them overmuch.

    TVNZ got rid of Sainso and the schnorr and replaced him with three formulaic glove puppets sitting like they have broomsticks up their…er…jumpers.
    No wonder it’s in ratings freefall. No tension, no interaction, no sense they either love or loathe each other. This is Good Morning in the Evening, and after ep 1 it was Good Night from me.

  4. Thank goodness, I was worried our relationship was on the slippery slope. I watched the first couple of nights and haven’t bothered since. Much prefer Campbell Live. Seeing the promo for last nights show I thought it was ridiculous that Jesse Mulligan was holding a beer. Didn’t see the need for it other than to show the new casual look. Not what I expect and require from primetime tv. Perhaps they should swap the slot with Marae Investigates on a Sunday morning.

    • Totally agree. The time slot for Seven Sharp should be swapped with Marae Investigates as the latter is far more interesting, worthy and well presented.

    • Did you hear Ali call Jesse a ” tight ass”? I could hardly believe my ears.

  5. Thanks to digital technology I don’t watch either Campbell or Seven Sharp.

    Our family can share an informative, educational, documentary at dinner time – with time to pause and discuss the content – rather than the inane content that pretends to be news journalism.

  6. Not much point calling in the priest to administer the last rites when rigor mortis has already set in.

    • Apparently the soul hovers awhile as appears in this case- and needs a heave ho of sorts which then sees it on its way-

  7. Luckily for me I don’t have a professional obligation to watch a whole episode before passing judgment. I quite enjoyed Wednesday’s offering (my first viewing) but Thursday, well, just 60 seconds in and my crapometer was off the scale, so I quit.

  8. Lets not flog this dead horse any longer as it perpetuates the tedium. The audience is doing the walking which says it loud and clear.
    I am interested in the point at which the broadcaster stops wasting money along with our time. What do the advertisers in this time slot think- surely they too will walk if the audience is not being delivered to them? Whose call is it and what is the criteria for such action – with ANY such program – by broadcaster and advertiser?

    • Well, I’m not an expert on advertising contracts but I imagine that if the broadcaster isn’t delivering the audience for which the advertiser is paying, he or she would be entitled to walk.

  9. Brian, you finally got it. The “show” is crap and a huge mistake for TV ONE NEWS. Past Directors of TVNZ News would never have allowed such a programme to be credited to their department, in my view.

    • Thanks John. As a former senior executive with TVNZ, perhaps you could answer Shaana’s question about just when an advertiser is entitled to walk away.

      • 9.1.1

        I would imagine that discussions are taking place and “make good” spots either being offered or sought. However, the major sponsor surely knew what the format was likely to produce, as you so clearly pointed out in one of your earlier posts. The sponsors rep must be feeling the heat too, I would have thought.

        • “Rabobank: sponsors of the dumbing down of New Zealand”

          Not a great slogan. They had probably been hoping to position themselves as edgy and not a fuddy-duddy’s bank, as in their earlier menage-a-trois TV ad’s. They would not have expected Seven Sharp to be such trash that it drives viewers (and potential customers) away in hordes.

          I imagine Rabobank will be removing their name from this fiasco in an abrupt fashion rather soon.

    • The fact that you correctly refer to it as “The “show”” says it all in my mind. It may seem quaint, but the day we began referring to news and information as “shows” (as opposed to news bulletins and current affairs, say) was the day most of it became BS

  10. I’ve watched parts of it since it’s inception.
    It’s light
    entertainment aimed at an 18-29 demographic and on that basis i think it’ll settle in over a few months and rate quite well.
    The advertising agencies are apparently keen to get to that target market.
    i find it works better if you pour a large glass of Pernod ( 40 % ) and iced orange juice and sip this whilst watching.

    • Just like Lady Penelope ! Pernod or not – still not watching.
      Does anyone know any 18 to 29 yr olds that do watch?

      • Does anyone know any 18 to 29 yr olds that do watch?

        Me! But, then again, I’m 3 club sandwiches, 2 lamingtons, 4 sausage rolls and a bottle of Sav short of a picnic hamper.

      • … my son watches (IN THE 18-29 demo) – more to do with an interest in media rather than 7 sharp being a worthwhile way to pass the time of day.
        The current demographic definition by the way – is a really big part of the problem. (Age oriented and making a raft of assumptions as a result).

        “So”…. (as the new madatory word to preface all) … who watched Friday 15th?

        Maybe the person that needs to go in this absolute abomination is Jesse – but you could pick a different person depending on the day of the week.
        Probably the one that most wants out is Greg, followed by Alison.

        Have they all got mortgages to pay?

    • The mystery remains as to why you would alienate everyone over 30 in order to please this particular demographic. Do they really think that those between 30 and death have no disposable money and never buy anything. As any bank manager, share-broker, real estate agent, travel agent or up-market retailer could assure them, they’re absolutely wrong.

      • Possibly they think those over 30 don’t watch the advts – like you and me, Brian?

        • 10.2.1.1

          I think this opens up an interesting new topic – as more and more of us use our PVR’s to record programs and then skip the adverts, how can the present TV model survive? With everyone now being forced to change from analogue and watch digitally through a machine which will almost certainly have a recorder built in, the advertisers will realise that less and less people actually watch adverts and, presumably will pull the plug?

      • I’ve often wondered this too Brian – in the case of radio stations. Why are there sooo many radio stations aimed solely at not only children, but brain-dead children? If you’re over 30 there are about 5 to choose from; over 50, 3. And if you prefer the spoken word – radio to learn something from – you’re pretty much down to take it or leave it. Madness. Anyone over 50 knows kids under 25 have no cash, because they keep cadging off their olds.

    • That demographic isn’t watching television. Not for news, anyway.

      That demographic gets their news and infotainment from the web.

      • That demographic gets their news and infotainment from the web

        which is why they are pushing the social media (Facebook, twitter) thing so much on the programme.

        Someone in TVNZ said “hey, we need to draw young people back from Facebook”, whilst forgetting the rest of the 30+ age group as BE points out above

    • If the target audience is the 18-29 year olds, does that mean they’re so shallow as to watch and enjoy this drivel? I think not.

  11. The trick is not to overcook or over-egg it; the carbonara or the tv show, take your pick. Not too many cooks in the kitchen helps too.

    • Thanks Will. In addition to advice from friends and relatives, I’ve had advice from chefs in New Zealand and, last year, in Italy. All of the advice was different. If you look up ‘simple recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara in Google, you’ll find dozens of entries, all of them offering different advice: cream/no cream; garlic/no garlic; whole eggs/yolks only; lots of pepper/spare the pepper; lardons/bacon will do… The best I’ve tasted was in Florence and what I cooked yesterday tasted just like that. So I reckon I’m there. Cheers. Brian

      • Glad you nailed the carbonara. I find the River Cafe Cookbook recipe the most reliable, but each to their own. (But stay away from the book’s Chocolate Nemesis. It doesn’t work).

        • Rick Stein’s version in “Mediterranean Escapes”is very good: simple and dependent on finest ingredients, in the Italian tradition. There’s a video of him making it on YouTube and a nice side benefit on that is his tip for opening spaghetti packs with aplomb.

  12. I have attempted to watch Seven #, three times in the past week. After viewing each segment for some ten minutes, I was forced to switch so something more meaningful. Why would anyone want to watch three presenters treat serious news content in a flippant and arrogant manner. It is obvious to most viewers that the three presenters, Boyd, Mau and Mulligan were ill chosen to perform their part in this type of format. This program is far too juvenile and should not be slated for the 7pm daily time-slot. The sunday 10am time, with a limited audience appears to be more appropriate.

  13. Lydia Ko -Amazing grace personified on the golf course . Well worth watching every shot because you know there are several birdies amongst which are eagles, waiting . I am looking forward to seeing my first albatross ever on a course being scored and Lydia shall be the one to do this

  14. Why doesn’t someone watch the series, “The Newsroom” and mimic that format…?

    • Probably because Campbell has all the news balls rolling & the underdog bells tolling already. They have already (i.e. TVNZ) imitated Campbell Live’s news presentation style and story structure right down to the cadence of the voiceover used! Crikey, that is desperate….Sorkin’s show is great but not without fault…we can live with that….but not drivel at 7 or whatever its called!?! The question should be what are the news stories worth telling that aren’t being told? Campbell’s stories are good but surely there are other stories in dire need of being told ‘Newsroom’ modus?

    • I watched the first series of The Newsroom on recent flights to and from the UK. It was fantastic and made me despair at the low quality of Current Affairs dished up to us here in NZ. We also watched the news on Channel 4 in the UK, and BBC 2’s Newsnight….both hosted by informed journalists, so impressive! Couldn’t we have similar here or are NZ audiences thought of by TVNZ as too thick to cope with that sort of journalism?

  15. Why on earth should you be embarrassed for changing your mind?
    You are merely following the views of Emerson.
    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”
    Alternatively I offer you the opinion attributed to Keynes.
    “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
    There is much doubt as to whether Keynes ever said that but if he didn’t he should have.

    • Thanks for the quotes – great for demonstrating my erudition at dinner parties. But you and they are quite right of course. Our advice to clients, including the odd PM, has always been, ‘Be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes.’ Though most politicians we’ve worked with had – surprisingly most people think – no trouble with the first two, almost none were willing to admit their mistakes, lest they be accused of having been inconsistent or changed their minds. The Keynes quote would have been perfect.

      • 15.1.1

        The biggest mistake a TV programmer can make is not correcting a programming mistake, in my view.

      • I am sorry to see that you confirm what I have always believed, that a politician almost never admits that they were wrong. It is the reason that I tend to favour the belief that Governments should only have two or three terms. The do not appear ever to be willing to correct the mistakes they have made but insist on continuing failed policies. It is only possible to get rid of their errors by getting rid of them.
        I can think of only one recent case where a Government willingly changed a mistake. It occurred when National, in an early budget, changed the percentage that a person paid into Kiwisaver and the percentage that the taxpayer would contribute. When it was pointed out that people earning less than about $50,000 would receive less than the old figure of about $1,043 per year John Key changed their new policy back to matching up to $1,043 if the Kiwisave contributor kept putting in 4%. This was done without real pressure from anyone and was announced before the Opposition could really attack them. I was amazed that Key would actually admit they wouldn’t go ahead with the new policy. It is, unfortunately, one of the few examples.

  16. I beg to differ. I quite like the format. I think the presenters are the problem. They are awkward and too tag team scripted. I think two presenters would be better like ‘The crowd goes wild’. Incidentally, I think Mark Richardson is a huge talent who would be great in this format.

    Pros; Irreverent, pacy, light, different, innovative and appealing to younger viewers.

    Cons; Laboured smutty schoolboy humour, poor panel interaction, story selection needs to be fresher or preferably live.

    Ironically, it cries out for the wit and spontaneity of someone like the acknowledged master of schoolyard smut, Paul Henry.

    Stick with it TVNZ, it will work out. Please work it out. We can’t all be wrapped in a blanket with a cup of Milo at 7pm, enduring the mind numbing mumbling and gravitas of the opposition. We’re not all in a rest home and we’re not all dead yet.

    • Not sure about the rest, Rick, but yes, Henry would have been the answer. Too late now!

      • Why does it have to be “Irreverent, pacy, light, different, innovative” to appeal younger viewers.”

        We aren’t stupid and we do know when we are being talked down to. Why do you think that ‘The Colbert Report’ or ‘The Daily Show’ do so well? The treat the audiences like nuanced intelligent adults.

        I think TVNZ or anyone may be surprised at what happened to their ratings if they stopped dicking around and treated their audience with some respect.

        Indeed they may be surprised at the audience that will show up for intelligent programing. It doesn’t always have to be a race to the bottom.

        Mind you we do live in the country that played ‘The Wire’ at 1am on a Tuesday. I hear the video stores are making a killing renting it out.

  17. Ok – in a few short months youll all have to have at least freeview or sky to see either TV1 or TV3.

    On freeview there are much better programmes to watch. What amazes me is that so many people watch these brain dead so called ‘current affairs’ half hours. Choice and Prime on freeview are much better – and then on sky youve got things like channels 8 and 15 (reruns of hogans heros and mash leave the 7oclock slots on TVs 1&3 for dead) and then channels 70’s – all good channels – theres always something that stimulates the brain in here. And so many more.

  18. Good to read your reversal Brian, you had me worried for a while there.

    Seems it wobbled of to half way good for a night before it returned to an incoherent light weight ramble.

    Just doesn’t have an authentic voice or character. I wonder how much of it is directed by commercially minded people hoping to pull in the punters for the advertisers.

    Pity we can get a Daily Show here in NZ , they use humor as a powerful tool to challenge.

  19. As an ex Canadian, I have my mental crap detector working at all times. It worked very well on the first night and subsequent nights. Seven Sharp is sooo bad that my detector actually goes off earlier at 6.45 to warn me that the program is toxic, dangerous to watch and may have long lasting effects on my mental agility. What the hell was TVNZ thinking?

    • 7 Sharp can’t be saved. It was a rancid offering from the very first airing. There really needs to be a wholesale expunging in the echelons of TVNZ for inflicting this abomination upon us.

  20. From Ep3 of The Newsroom.

    ‘The reason we failed isn’t a mystery. We took a dive for the ratings…..

    Congress would allow the fledging Networks the free use of taxpayer owned airwaves in exchange for one public service. That public service would be one hour of airtime set aside every night for informational broadcasting. Congress, unable to anticipate the enormous capacity to delivery consumers to advertisers, failed to include in it’s deal the one requirement that would have changed our national discourse immeasurably for the better. Congress forgot to add that under no circumstances could there be paid advertising during informational broadcasting.They forgot to say that the taxpayers will give you the airwaves for free and for twenty-three hours a day you should make a profit but for one hour a night you work for us.

    It was good to us….but now Newsnight is quitting that business,,,,

    From this moment on we will be deciding what goes on our air and how it’s presented to you based on the simple truth that nothing is more important to a democracy than a well informed electorate. We will endeavor to put information into a broader context because we know very little news is born at the moment it comes across our wire. We will be the champion of facts and mortal enemy of innuendo, speculation and nonsense. We are not waiters in a restaurant serving you stories you asked for just the way you like them prepared. Nor are we computers dispensing only the facts because news is only useful in the context of humanity. I’ll make no effort to subdue my personal opinions, I’ll make every effort to expose you to informed opinions that are different from my own.

  21. The hell with Paul Henry, they should just hand the whole half hour over to Mike Hosking to do with it as he wishes.

  22. It would probably rate quite well “over on 2″, but TVNZ would need to shunt it over there because TV2 viewers don’t know where to find #1 on their remotes. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea because then they could start from scratch with the 7pm slot on TV1 and utilise what they (should) have learned from their mistakes.

  23. I haven’t seen the programe yet – judging by these comments I might keep it that way.

  24. What turned me off from the first show, was seeing the presenter with the frosted forelock. Put me right off. To me, he was the poster child for the programme’s conceit. And I have been proved right.

  25. And it doesn’t get any better over on TV3. I have just been reading about the new “Current affairs” show called 3 Degrees. They are going to have three episodes following Anna Guy (who has somehow turned into a media celebrity) visiting her husband in jail, going to the supermarket, putting on her mascara etc. Kind of like Womans Day live. Vile.

  26. 26

    At first I was impressed by Anna Guy’s stoicism in the face of all that had befallen her. Now that she seems to be deliberately courting publicity in an effort to jump-start a media career, my opinion of her is sliding downhill. I do see her as a better fit for Seven Sharp than Ali Mau, though.

  27. Really your impression of her can fall lower than a woman who married a guy who kills cows and smashes up his brother in laws house.
    You must think she is a real good judge of character

  28. Im looking forward to seven sharp tonight, i cant wait for their intro thats my favourite schadenfreude part

  29. Fool that I am I watched again tonight and I realised I just can’t stand Greg Boyed. he is just so arrogant.

  30. Habits. ruts.Same old, same old. Been watching tv1 for years., I Needed a push to TV3 – it is no fun watch a show that makes you cringe. lthough I did like The Office. thanks Seven for pushing me over to TV3 I am really enjoying it.

  31. I’ve tried to watch it and I can’t. It reminds me of a children’s pantomime; ‘right kids, time for some audience participation – we’ll all hiss at those evil banks manufacturing money from thin air’. Also I’m a bit insulted that it’s supposed to be for an under-30 demographic. I’m a younger demographic and I find it trite and patronising.

  32. Safe to say after tonight with Bob Jones that Ali has a sense of humour that is as entertaining as this show

  33. Its so frustrating. I got freeview before I had to, so I could watch 6 and 7. I’d look longingly at the teletext programme guide and see Doco’s and News/Currant Affairs, but 6 became U???? and 7 is.. well nevermind. I only watched day 1 of 7s… then Campbell since. Great stories lately Campbell. Today no exception. Im so annoyed with tvnz I will take pleasure from the Sharp hitting the fan. Millhouse’s comment on the 15th, read his last sentence. The Wire, played 1am on a Tues night. Best series ever made.

  34. Kevin Kendrick, TVNZ CEO, has now stated that what people need in a 7PM current affairs show is “short, sharp sound bites”. The loss of audience from News to Seven Sharp compared to the Close Up figures would indicate he has it wrong.

  35. Kevin Kendrick knows what we like, so we should just STFU and defer to his judgement.

  36. Ha now sunday is running programs which seven sharp copied off 60mins australia.
    A comedy of unoriginal idiots

  37. Funny how the woman who got rid of Close Up, to make new “current affairs” is nothing more than a camerawoman who’s more talented at networking than actually making telly. Oh and another note… No journalism degree. So go figure.

  38. There’s nothing like blowing your own trumpet…

    “TV New Zealand is claiming success with the TV One 7pm show Seven Sharp, which it depicts as the new face of current affairs. The show has similarities with Breakfast and mixes humour with magazine fare.”

    “It has really got its mojo,” said TVNZ head news and current affairs director Ross Dagan, the architect of the show, who exits TVNZ next month.

    But wait! Was that trumpet solo actually “the Last Post”?