TV hosting combos: The good and the bad

Spy News,
Publish Date
Monday, 23 January 2017, 11:35PM
The original Seven Sharp line-up. Photo / Supplied
The original Seven Sharp line-up. Photo / Supplied

Chemistry between TV hosts. As any producer will tell you, it's a dark magic to conjure up much of the time.

But when a programme strikes upon a presenter combination that sparks, where the hosts complement each other's talents and appear as if they actually enjoy each other's company, well, it can be television gold.

As MediaWorks prepares to broadcast two new teams of presenters at opposite ends of the day – Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson on The AM Show, and Jesse Mulligan, Kanoa Lloyd and Josh Thomson on The Project, we take a look at some of the best – and worst – TV hosting combos New Zealand has seen.

Which category will The AM Show and The Project teams eventually fall into?

The Good

Paul Henry and Pippa Wetzell

Oh, Paul and Pippa. The holy grail of TV presenter duos. The partnership that other presenting teams have been aspiring to ever since they graced Breakfast's couch between 2007 and 2010.

Audiences loved this pairing, enjoying the easy camaraderie between the two. Whenever Henry would start to walk dangerously close to the line on air, Wetzell usually managed to rein things back in.

And it was obvious to all that the hosts enjoyed each other's company and had each other's back. Henry even took a bullet for the team and subjected himself to an electric shock live on air so Wetzell wouldn't have to.

Warning: Do not watch the following if you are offended by expletives being shouted in surprise and pain.



Paul Henry and Hilary Barry (and Jim Kayes and Verity Johnson)

While it may appear that there is no love lost between Paul Henry and Hilary Barry now, when these two co-helmed his eponymous breakfast show over at TV3 (alongside sports anchor Jim Kayes), they were nipping at Breakfast's heels in no time.

And when Verity Johnson joined the trio as the fresh face in the social media bunker, it really did become a dream team. The AM Show presenters have got some big shoes to fill when it comes to entertaining the masses in the mornings.



Richard Long and Judy Bailey

New Zealand has had plenty of successful newsreading duos on the major networks over the years (John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld, Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts, Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie) but the pair who probably inspire the fondest memories are Richard Long and Judy Bailey.

These two presented the 6pm news together at TVNZ for 16 years before The Mother of the Nation carried on solo for a few more.

So popular was this presenter combination that when TVNZ decided to dump Long and replace him with John Hawkesby in the late '90s, the incredible viewer backlash that ensued saw them hastily bring Long back in what proved a very, very expensive exercise for the state broadcaster.

Mike Hosking and Kate Hawkesby 

When these two co-hosted Breakfast together all the way back in 2002, the chemistry between them was palpable.

So it really didn't come as much of a shock when they began dating some years later and eventually married.



A photo posted by Kate Hawkesby (@katehawkesby) on Mar 27, 2016 at 12:24am PDT


Mike Hosking and Toni Street

Hosking returned to TVNZ's studios alongside Toni Street in 2014, where they almost immediately reversed the fortunes of what was an ailing Seven Sharp show at the time.

Although the pair are often like chalk and cheese, the easy banter between the two every evening is clearly a winner with viewers.

And they even dress the same, for goodness sake.


A photo posted by Kate Hawkesby (@katehawkesby) on Jul 24, 2016 at 11:25pm PDT


The Bad

Paul Henry and Kay Gregory

Before Breakfast’s dream pairing of Henry and Wetzell, former weather presenter Kay Gregory sat next to Henry on the show's couch each and every morning.

And boy, was it some tough viewing at times.

It became clear the two irritated each other, with interactions like the one below all too common on air. As Henry struggled with one of his signature laughing fits and attempted to read some of the faxes (remember those?) sent in by viewers, Gregory eventually cut him off, saying, "Be quiet, give people a break" - only half-jokingly.



A Breakfast presenter merry-go-round

Breakfast has also seen a few mediocre pairings in the post Paul and Pippa era.

Petra Bagust struggled to find her feet alongside Corin Dann, who eventually left the show to become TVNZ's political editor in Wellington. She then reportedly had a frosty relationship with her new co-host Rawdon Christie, before she left the network at the end of 2012.

The show then experienced new highs as Toni Street joined Christie at Breakfast, but it wasn't to last when Seven Sharp came calling for Street.

Christie eventually wound up on the couch next to former business presenter, Nadine Chalmers-Ross. This awkward pairing came to an end last year, as TVNZ announced an almost complete overhaul of the Breakfast presenting team.

Jesse Mulligan, Alison Mau and Greg Boyed

It was a tumultuous debut for Seven Sharp back in 2013.

Facing a barrage of criticism before it even began, the pressure on original presenters Jesse Mulligan, Alison Mau and Greg Boyed was immense. And while all three are fine broadcasters in their own right, the combination was nothing but awkward, with ratings for the show quickly tanking.

Boyed bailed on the show first, choosing to return to his role reading the late news for the network, while Mau left at the end of the show's first year. She later told the Herald that Seven Sharp became something very different to what she had been pitched.

Mulligan carried on briefly as a third wheel to new co-hosts Street and Hosking, before he was gone too. He must be hoping his next 7pm gig over at The Project goes a damn sight smoother...