We blogged late last year about Close Up presenter Mark Sainsbury having been immortalised by a muppet created in his image. But even with that kind of assistance, Sainsbury is about to suffer the unkindest cut of all; the Herald reports:
TV One's top-rating current affairs show Close Up is set to be axed by the end of the year, with a "fresh" show tipped to replace it.
A press release issued this morning said TVNZ was "proposing" to wind down Close Up, which has been hosted by Mark Sainsbury in TV One's 7pm slot since 2006.
Media commentator John Drinnan predicted the changes in July, and TVNZ Head of News and Current Affairs Ross Dagan said they were being made as a response to viewer feedback.
"Close Up remains the number one daily current affairs show by a substantial margin, but ratings for us and for our competitors in this important time slot have diminished over time," he said.
"We're committed to staying at the forefront of what New Zealanders want to see and we owe it to them and to ourselves to continually evolve and enhance television current affairs.
"We want to reinvent the early evening slot, to present the stories of the day in a way that is very different to what has gone before."
Clearly, Campbell Live has made inroads into Close Up's market share. We wonder if the former's pandering to a rather large German chap has assisted that at all.
We seldom watch either Close Up or Campbell Live. If there's something coming up that piques our interest, MySky obliges for us, and then we can watch what we want without advertisements, and whatever else dresses itself up as "current affairs".
We would hope that TVNZ might actually come up with a meaningful programme to fit a key time-slot. We will not however hold out breath, as asphyxiation is the most likely outcome!