One Question Quiz
Design: Tina Tiller
Design: Tina Tiller

Pop CultureFebruary 8, 2022

AM is back and brighter than ever

Design: Tina Tiller
Design: Tina Tiller

Three’s old-but-new breakfast show AM returned to our screens this morning. Tara Ward set her alarm to watch. 

The show formerly known as The AM Show returned to Three this morning, with a brand new team in a brand new studio. Presenters Ryan Bridge, Melissa Chan-Green, Bernadine Oliver-Kerby and William Waiirua were fizzing with nerves, and Bernie reckoned none of them had slept due to the excitement. “I had to take a sleeping pill last night,” Ryan agreed. “This is not doctor’s advice,” said Melissa, and AM was off with a bang.

While Breakfast snazzed it up with their new fancy techno set, AM kept things real. The flash new desk was normal sized and the couch looked comfortable enough, but wrap on your sunglasses and slop on some sunscreen, because this studio is bright enough to burn. Blue and yellow colours everything from the walls to the coffee cups, but who doesn’t like sea and sunshine? Who doesn’t want a dazzling ride on AM’s colour wheel of life? Wake up, New Zealand, the news is on.

New roving weather reporter William Waiirua made his first live cross shortly after six o’clock, admitting he’d been up since two using the huge makeup kit the show gave him. This prompted the team to discuss the power of a good blow-dry, because Ryan is a late blow-dry convert. “The minute I got my hair blow-dried, I’m never going back,” he said. “You can blow-dry me all day long.”

Sadly, AM is only a three hour show, or three-and-a-half if you count AM Early, the 5.30am news bulletin with Bernadine. While Bernadine delivered the news and Ryan and Melissa discussed surf safety and pandemic preparedness, beautiful aerial photographs of New Zealand scenery floated slowly on the screens behind them. It was as if we were in space. We were orbiting the world of news, first stop Planet Sprinkle.

The story about a UK bakery being banned from using sprinkles may have broken in October last year, but AM knows sprinkles are timeless. Melissa interviewed Leeds baker Richard Myers – the self-declared “Pablo Escobar of sprinkles” – about the impact of sprinkle censorship on his business. Myers, a man of few words and even fewer sprinkles, only wanted his freedom back. “We stand with you,” Melissa told him, because nobody puts sprinkles in the corner and gets away with it.

Who says sprinkle chat is awkward? Not me, not AM, maybe Ryan Bridge. “I feel baked after that interview,” he said, before crossing to William, who was pointing a cordless drill at the camera and planting sage in someone’s backyard. William waxed lyrical about “the Earth’s girth”, a phrase you don’t hear early enough in the day at the best of times, before Ryan quizzed Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet about this week’s celebrity fashion statements. The segment gave off a late-90s Good Morning vibe, and all that was missing was someone faxing in to ask why we’re still publicly judging women for what they wear in the year of our Lorde 2022.

But amid the blow-drys and the bakeries, AM covered the important issues of the day. Covid-19 meant guests couldn’t come to the studio, so the power of the internet brought us a political panel discussing Labour’s win in the polls, an economist discussing the economy, and Nadia Lim persuading us to use lettuce leaves instead of burger buns. Even the prime minister checked in. “I’ve missed you, Ryan,” Jacinda Ardern said, but I don’t know if that was true. “We’ve missed you too, prime minister,” Ryan replied, but I don’t know if that was true, either.

Look, the news doesn’t lie, and AM wants to do us proud. “We’re going to bring you the best breakfast news out there,” Bridges promised at the top of the show. There may have been some awkward nerves, but there was also energy, colour and, most importantly, sprinkles. What more do you need from breakfast telly? Fax in your answers, we’ll read them after the break.

AM Early screens on Three each weekday at 5.30am, followed by AM at 6.00am

Follow The Real Pod on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast provider.

Keep going!