Spy: Musical chairs in New Zealand’s TV newsrooms | #entertainment | #news

Hilary Barry, Jeremy Wells, Amanda Gillies, Anna Burns-Francis, Ryan Bridge, Ingrid Hipkiss and Melissa Chan-Green. Photo / NZME

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There are set to be plenty of comings and goings on our screens this year.

Newshub Late host Ingrid Hipkiss is the latest announcement in the game of TV anchor musical chairs.

Hipkiss resigned her role at Three before Christmas and will swap late nights for early mornings on Radio New Zealand’s national’s flagship breakfast news show Morning Report in April.

She will co-host alongside former TVNZ anchor Corin Dann, and broadcaster Nathan Rarere.


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While a permanent replacement is yet to be announced at Newshub, sources say the fill-in could be the network’s senior news correspondent Amanda Gillies — who made a beautiful bride when she married Newsroom co-editor Tim Murphy recently — or Newshub Nation’s new co-host Rebecca Wright.

Wright took over from Oriini Kaipara on Newshub Nation late last year.

This week, Kaipara filled in for Bernadine Oliver-Kerby on Three’s AM Show as Oliver-Kerby recovers from Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Nicky Styris filled in for Oliver-Kerby in the latter part of last year on the show.

All the above are possibly in the mix to join AM Show host Ryan Bridge, filling in for his co-host Melissa Chan-Green when she takes maternity leave in the next few months.


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Meanwhile at TVNZ, Anna Burns-Francis and Chris Chang have joined existing Breakfast hosts Matty McLean and Jenny-May Clarkson.

After a good start on Monday the network was forced to apologise after the hosts fired a replica gun at a doll of former US President Donald Trump during Tuesday’s broadcast.

Burns-Francis joined Breakfast from her job as 1News US correspondent; a spokesperson for TVNZ told Spy a replacement for that position is still to be found.

TVNZ won in the breakfast wars this week. According to analytics firm Nielsen, Breakfast eached 272,400 people on Monday and 316,000 on Tuesday, in the broad demographic of viewers aged 5 and over.

AM reached 210,700 viewers in the same category on Monday, and 215,400 on Tuesday — a gap of 100,000 viewers.

But in what many in the industry would call the demo that counts — the tighter age range of 25 to 54-year-olds — 79,800 Breakfast viewers tuned in on Tuesday morning, while 82,300 selected the AM Show for their morning news.

The war hasn’t even started for the prime 7pm slot between The Project and Seven Sharp — as Seven Sharp hosts Hilary Barry and Jeremy Wells have not yet returned to the screen.

Instead, we have been served up with ads of Wells reclining and Barry reminding him they are due to head back to work.

This week Barry was keen to point out to her Facebook followers that she was actually working — on a Seven Sharp story around beehives.

Meanwhile, in election year, TVNZ will be eagerly awaiting the return of 1News deputy political editor Maiki Sherman, who is on maternity leave following the birth of her sixth child. Sherman told Spy last year she wanted to be back mid-year before the election.


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And 1News business correspondent Katie Bradford is expected to take maternity leave soon, as she is expecting her first baby at the end of summer.


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