Who’s going to replace Toni and Mike behind the Seven Sharp desk next year? Here are one hundred possible combinations.
Tonight is our last chance to see Michael Noel James “Mike” Hosking IV slouched over the Seven Sharp desk in a snazzy blazer and pair of $1200 distressed denim jeans, talking shite to his long-suffering co-host, the kindhearted Toni Street. The pair have decided to simultaneously pull stumps on the prime time current affairs hosting gig they have shared for what, in TV terms, feels like forever, but was in fact around four years.
Seven Sharp will be back in 2018, and its new host(s) are expected to be announced in January. That leaves us with an approximately month-long window to bask in the glorious and endless possibilities for the show’s future hosting combinations. As their final parting gift, Toni and Mike have left us with an absolute peach of a topic to debate around the trestle table this Christmas: who will, and who should be, the next hosts of Seven Sharp?
It is likely, though not quite guaranteed, that the show will continue its current two host format in 2018. There is a small chance they will look to Three’s competitive timeslot rival The Project, with its four host line-up, as inspiration to throw some more more chairs behind the desk or drastically reconfigure the show, but for a channel as conservative and change-averse as TVNZ1 it seems unlikely. For this reason, only duos will be considered.
For similar reasons, it is probably going to remain a boy and a girl, a male and a female, a TV man and his TV wife. Can you imagine the apocalyptic letters to the TV Guide’s ‘Mr Telly’ page if it was anything else? First, let’s consider…
Jack Tame: The most straightforward theory is that the TVNZ overlords simply pluck Jack Tame and Hilary Barry out of Breakfast and plonk them on Seven Sharp. Hilary is the undoubted jewel in TVNZ’s broadcasting crown since joining the network earlier in the year – it makes sense to have her in the prestige hosting spot, and she already has a good vibe with Jack.
Paul Henry: He said he was over it when he left his self-titled morning show on Three last year, but a year is a long time in which to change your mind. Would he really turn down a chance at 7 o’clock?
John Campbell: Three’s former 7 o’clock mainstay hosted that weird futurist show with Nigel Latta on TVNZ 1 earlier this year. Was that just a one-off dance with the old enemy or a foot in the door? In NBA terms: should he continue to Trust The Process at RNZ, or take a max contract on the big market franchise Seven Sharp?
Greg Boyed: One of the original Seven Sharp hosts, Boyed is low-key the most handsome and cool news man in New Zealand at the moment – sorry, Mike McRoberts. He’s a safe pair of hands at the end of the day on 1 News Tonight, and he’d be a safe pair of hands on Seven Sharp. But who’d look after the weather music in his absence?
Daniel Faitaua: Let’s say they want to move Hilary to Seven Sharp but not totally gut the Breakfast desk in the process. Why not leave Jack Tame to hold down the fort and instead pilfer friendly news man Dan to sit next to Hils? He’d be bloody good value.
Matt McLean: As above, except the weather man. Kanoa on The Project has set a strong precedent for the weather-to-7 o’clock hosting switch, and Matt (née Matty) McLean would be a solid foil for a slightly more straightfaced co-presenter.
Tim Batt: Possibly the only New Zealand comedian under 30 affiliated with TVNZ and not Three. He zigs where the others zag, and the host of DUKE’s politically-informed talk show Banter! could be an outside chance if the Seven Sharp bosses decide to go more youthful and comedic than anyone expects. About as close as you could get to a 180 from Hosking.
Duncan Greive: Famously auditioned for The Project this time last year and has harboured a deep resentment for Jesse Mulligan ever since being rejected. Could this be a second bite at the cherry for the Spinoff bigwig? Seemed to get on well with Hilary when they did a boozy interview a few months ago.
Dominic Bowden: It’s always him. Every time we wonder who’s going to be the new host of something it’s always bloody Bowden. Why should this time be any different?
Thingee: Made an unexpected comeback during a Dilmah Tea Party earlier in the year and hinted at future TV appearances. Could this be it? Would be consistent with what many letter-writers lament as the juvenile ‘dumbing down’ of New Zealand broadcasting.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The string-pullers at TVNZ are clearly spoiled for choice when it comes to blokes to fill Hosking’s chair – and all of these gents would do it for a fraction of his wardrobe budget. But what about…
Hilary Barry: Joined TVNZ earlier this year in a blockbuster network switch. The beloved former Three newsreader has been captaining the Breakfast ship competently but seems destined to move up to bigger things eventually. Makes almost too much sense as the one to cleanse Seven Sharp of Hosking’s vexatious spirit.
Carolyn Robinson: Like Hilary, recently joined TVNZ after years behind the Three news desk. Extremely underrated by comparison, and the obvious choice if Hilary and / or her bosses decide she’s better off sticking with Breakfast. Filled in for Hosking when he nearly died of the flu earlier this year and Seven Sharp instantly became 500% more watchable.
Pippa Wetzell: A familiar, kind face, which you suspect is 90% of what TVNZ 1 viewers look for in a presenter. Has capably hosted everything from Breakfast to Fair Go, including filling in for Toni and Mike on Seven Sharp over the last four years. She could well be the most proven and experienced option.
Judy Bailey: The ‘mother of the nation’ is a sentimental favourite; her guest spot reading the news for Hilary Barry on Paul Henry in 2015 was met with almost unprecedented good feeling from a fickle viewing public. A Seven Sharp comeback would likely signal a return to old-fashioned broadcasting values – which is what a lot of people say they want.
Stacey Morrison: The call from white middle New Zealand couldn’t be clearer: “We want to hear more te reo Māori on TV and radio!” Who better to give it to them every night at 7 o’clock than current Whānau Living host Stacey Morrison, who has literally written the book on incorporating te reo into day-to-day life.
Kim Hill: Would necessitate wholesale changes to the show format to include more old-fashioned face-to-face interviews, but it would be worth it. Pair Hill with a younger male co-host she could mercilessly roast every night (see above entry: Duncan Greive) and it would be essential viewing.
Rachel Stewart: In today’s multifaceted news media environment you need to either be on the radio or have a newspaper column – ideally both – in addition to hosting a 7 o’clock current affairs show. Rachel Stewart, somehow the complete antithesis of both Mike Hosking and Toni Street, is one of the best newspaper columnists in the country. Untested as a TV host, but worth the gamble.
Heather Du Plessis-Allan: The other side of the coin – if Herald columns are anything to go by HDPA could just about be the closest thing to a like-for-like Hosking replacement on the market. Has 7 o’clock experience, albeit on Three’s generally-regarded-as-quite-terrible Story.
Anika Moa: If you have seen even ten seconds of All Talk with Anika Moa you will know why this is both the best and worst possible idea. Somebody please start a petition to make it happen.
Suzy Cato: See above entry for Thingee. Seven Sharp already feels halfway to being a children’s show sometimes with it’s soft colour palette and cheerful music and graphics. Suzy Cato and Thingee, together at last, could turn it into a full-blown and probably inevitable current affairs version of Sesame Street.
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