TV Review: 7 Sharp: defining pointlessness



Possibly more was said beforehand of TVNZ’s flagship 7 o’clock replacement to Close Up and the news walrus than has been said afterward – such has been the prolonged anticipation and such has been the underwhelming reaction. With the Head of News and Current Affairs bolting back to Aussie – deserting his own project – the death star was without a commander and the 7 Sharp thing was sinking before it was launched. An inauspicious and almost certainly ill-fated commencement to a concept hatched in marketing with as little as a cut out of the Herald’s Sideswipe column as an editorial direction.

The patronising promos lowered the expectations, but not enough for what we have seen so far. Declaring in their ads that it would be dumbed down because the world’s all a bit confusing for people was a bold show of the marketing department’s hand- a deathly hand wringing creativity into the drain. The combination of colours (turquoise and pink), font (some bastard sister to comic sans), and the weak content indicate a demographic idealisation via committee that in real life is an unpalatable mess. Throw in social media and the mess becomes an utter tip. If you were watching it on the internet you would want to turn the subtitles off – but on TV the torture of the intrusion is too much.

TV should be TV. TV trying to be the internet – as they seem to be attempting – will not work. They promise in their introduction of buzz words that may appeal to their younger demographic what the show will be – unfortunately they do exactly that. They have created the worst of all worlds by trying to include feedback. A stream of distractions appear on screen and compete for attention with the hosts. The hosts compete with each other for attention. The viewer meanwhile is already watching John Campbell. Now there’s a star. He interviews proper people like government ministers and newsmakers about proper things like the economy and world crises – and contrary to the position of 7 Sharp to cater for the mythical female 18-35 who likes to turn their brains off after the news people would prefer real current affairs and not whatever it is TVNZ is doing. They are quickly learning this lesson via the brutal ratings result for the new vehicle.

The three hosts looked rather subdued most of the time: Jesse Mulligan like he swallowed a jar of Prozac, Boyd like he swallowed a rugby ball which is still lodged in his jaw, and Ali Mau doing very little to lift the standard. If they are to salvage the show they have to gel together and carry the ultra-lite parade of 15 minute of fame schmucks and cute animals with their personalities. But where are they? Choked off by nagging in earpieces? Is that why Mulligan’s comedic verve is on ice? Boyed thinks he’s great but the jerky speech is grating. Ali, well, she’s lovely. But really – why watch?

Who are these three hosts? They are a paranoid reaction to the mega-pay days of Holmes and Hawkesby that ended with a virtual ban on nurturing and promoting personalities as personalities because of the potential negotiating imbalance. They are simply too timid to back a personality. Some would argue – strongly – that even more simply there is no talent at TVNZ.

There is just nothing memorable coming from 7 Sharp. Compare Holmes’ debut with 7 Sharp. Nothing memorable – and there won’t be. The hex of social media and the hamstringing of the hosts by TVNZ’s anti-personality policy and whatever the entrails at the marketing meeting have divined add up to an unconvincing show. It has a light setting as opposed to Campbell’s night-time, so at a guess they will phase it out in the winter and replace it with something harder. That is what people want.

Tim Selwyn blogs at Tumeke

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Editors note: I have just had a chance to get to this – sorry for the delay. This was an early draft that wasn’t vetted thoroughly enough for the language to fit with the values of the site. It has been now. Sexist jokes and language are lazy and dull.


  1. Kiaora. I viewed one programme only of 7 Sharp. The first one and then changed to channel 83 – TV 3 Plus One to catch-up on my favourite Campbell Live and I promise to always view John Campbell ake ake amine.

    I like Campbell Live because this man John Campbell engages with us, the New Zealand citizen’s on issues that affect us in every aspect of our lives.

    He is genuine and he cares so much, he inquires on our behalf when an injustice has occurred or issues of public concern and those special characteristics, puts him at the TOP upon a pedestal and he most definitely is deserving of a Knighthood (not because of his employment), but because he is a ‘Special Human Being’.

    • We don’t need knighthoods they are crap frankly and are mainly dished out to those who’ve squeezed the poor to become rich. Campbell yes he is mostly great the only place where the many woes of chch are still being brought into the spotlight.

  2. Really? “Girly” is an insult now? Anything feminine is ipso facto bad? There are plenty of valid criticisms to be made about this show, but resorting to sexist slurs is truly pathetic. I’d love to hear the views of your female contributors on this.

  3. Editors note: I have just had a chance to get to this – sorry for the delay. This was an early draft that wasn’t vetted thoroughly enough for the language to fit with the values of the site. It has been now. Sexist jokes and language are lazy and dull.

    • Glad Martyn that you edited this. Let’s not let this blog just turn into the left’s equivalent of Whaleoil. We can do better than that.

  4. I still rejoice at the demise of the personality newsreader culture in TVNZ- and thank Bill Ralston for that outcome from his time in charge of TVNZ news.

  5. Looking on the bright side, Seven Sharp has led to more people watching Cambell which will enlighten them more and encourage TV3 to support Campbell even more.

    • I agree David. I now boycott TV1 and actively seek out Campbell Live myself (usually ondemand at breakfast time the next morning).

  6. NZ TV is totally vacuous and a complete waste of viewing time….. It’s time we all turned off. I gave up my television five years ago.

  7. Welcome back to the mainstream Tim Selwyn. New Zealand’s best columnist by a light-year.

    7 Days? Why have people in their 30’s and 40s doing it? They’re too old.

    Heather du-plessis-allen, Jack Tame, Helen Castles. All work for TVNZ. All better and younger and immensely capable.

  8. 7 Sharp has the worst journalism I have seen. Sadly it’s like What Now for immature tweens. They need to cut the crappy jokes. We may be a small country but its time we stop pretending everyone is related to Sheryl West. I am embarrassed for them.

  9. I could not believe my ears when I heard the male presenter on tonights Seven Sharp talking about the Dumpling Sisters. What is he like????!!!! He called the French and German competitors ‘Drongos’? OMG!

    This is the most unprofessional programme/team of presenters I have ever come across, anywhere in the world. They compromise professionalism for efforts to appear cool and you know what? It just doesnt work guys! Off with them! Take them away! They are facile, farcical and make the tv slot they represent a nonsense.

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