Battle of the broadcasters: Who will nab the nation's top newsreader spot?

Author
Spy,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Jun 2020, 10:10AM
Jack Tame and Rebecca Wright could both be in the running to fill TVNZ's 6pm presenter slot. Photos / Supplied
Jack Tame and Rebecca Wright could both be in the running to fill TVNZ's 6pm presenter slot. Photos / Supplied

Battle of the broadcasters: Who will nab the nation's top newsreader spot?

Author
Spy,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Jun 2020, 10:10AM

Jack Tame and Rebecca Wright are two of the names being bandied about as speculation grows about who could fill TVNZ's 6pm presenter slot, with the future of broadcasting duo Wendy Petrie and Simon Dallow in doubt.

Last week TVNZ confirmed it would reduce 70 to 90 roles to recover a 30 per cent loss in revenue during the Covid-19 lockdown. It's understood news bosses want to save money by having a solo newsreader at 6pm.

Petrie or Dallow are poised as frontrunners, but Spy hears speculation that the station may look elsewhere to find someone with the gravitas - and a smaller pay packet - to anchor the 6pm slot.

TVNZ could look to its own stable to find a lower-profile presenter who can be repackaged with a publicity drive. But the broadcaster also has form for poaching - they took Hilary Barry from Three in 2015, although this time around there's not likely to be appetite or budget to snare a big name.

The network is used to musical chairs, but the 6pm role is considered crucial to hold the attention of New Zealanders. Solo presenter Judy Bailey did that with aplomb from 2004 to 2006.

Tame, with his fluent te reo, would be a great pick, but Spy understands he is enjoying his radio and current affairs roles and would be reluctant to shelve his interviewing skills. Wright, who returned from her stint in New York as US correspondent at the beginning of the year, has the presence and that extra something to carry an hour of news solo.

It is a sure bet that either of Three's 6pm newsreaders, Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts, would be an attractive solo act for TVNZ management to consider - but again they are likely to be unaffordable for the state broadcaster.

That could force TVNZ to look down the chain at its rival - Three's 6pm Newshub Live weekend readers Melissa Chan-Green and Tom McRae. Back in-house, Melissa Stokes holds the 6pm slot together at weekends, but bosses would face a tough time luring her from the cherished after-school time she has with her two sons throughout the week.

One area that won't be touched is the Breakfast show. The team chemistry is too important - besides, the only two contenders would be John Campbell or Amanda Gillies and Campbell is unlikely to return to a 6pm slot after 15 years of showing off his skill and personality in other formats.

Outside chances are 1 NEWS Tonight presenter Jenny Suo and reporter Benedict Collins.