IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV viewing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

TEN’S bold new break­fast tele­vi­sion ex­per­i­ment starts to­mor­row, with suc­cess largely rest­ing on the shoul­ders of con­tro­versy- court­ing New Zealan­der Paul Henry.

The out­spo­ken and ec­cen­tric Henry is joined for break­fast by The Project’s An­drew Rochford and jour­nal­ist Kathryn Robin­son ( all pic­tured).

Henry seems to revel in his ten­dency to po­larise, with the dis­claimer that ‘‘ gen­er­ally speak­ing, you can’t outrage peo­ple. Peo­ple outrage them­selves’’.

This doesn’t stop him tak­ing aim at Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard when asked about how well- pre­pared he is to front an Aus­tralian break­fast pro­gram when he’s fresh off the boat from New Zealand.

‘‘ Re­ally, the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two coun­tries are pa­per thin,’’ Henry says.

‘‘ In New Zealand, we have prob­lems with filthy beg­gars on the street just like you do here.

‘‘ We have pol­i­tics in NZ, just like you do here. Only we have a good prime min­is­ter at the mo­ment, un­like the one you have here.’’

That the for­tunes of Ten’s foray into the over­loaded break­fast tele­vi­sion mar­ket rest squarely on his mil­lion- dol­lar- salaried shoul­ders doesn’t faze him.

Nor is he mak­ing bold prom­ises about what is in store for Ten’s brand of break­fast show, which will be up against Seven’s Sunrise and Nine’s To­day.

‘‘ What are we promis­ing? That we’ll be on at 6am,’’ Henry says.

‘‘ No huge prom­ises, other than that peo­ple will have fun be­cause they will see we are hav­ing fun.

‘‘ Ev­ery day, you’ll know you are go­ing to be in­formed and en­ter­tained.’’

He pauses like the shame­less show­man he is.

‘‘ And ev­ery day there’s that pos­si­bil­ity that s-- t’s go­ing to hit the fan.’’

Dur­ing a shoot for E Guide, the rap­port be­tween Henry and his co- hosts, Rochford and Robin­son, is easy and in­for­mal.

‘‘ It’s a news- based pro­gram, but there will be noth­ing that scrapes through that isn’t en­ter­tain­ing,’’ Henry says.

‘‘ Ex­cept maybe Kath,’’ he says, in a dig at what he and Rochford say is Robin­son’s propen­sity to tell great sto­ries but never get the punch­line right.

Robin­son laughs, but says if she has learned any­thing in tele­vi­sion it is that there is a fine line be­tween pre­sent­ing se­ri­ous news in a re­laxed way as op­posed to triv­i­al­is­ing it. ‘‘ We trust each other’s ex­pe­ri­ence to know that line,’’ Robin­son says.

Henry takes pride in the fact that Break­fast will be ‘‘ to­tally un­scripted’’.

‘‘ There’s a frame­work in place in which we know what we’ll cover, but no script,’’ he says.

‘‘ I don’t know that there’s an­other pro­gram like it.’’

Rochford says nei­ther the trio nor Ten will be ex­pect­ing early rat­ings mir­a­cles.

‘‘ There’s a re­al­is­tic view from us, and from Ten as a whole, that projects like this are long- term plans,’’ Rochford says.

‘‘ We are talk­ing about chang­ing peo­ple’s way of life, their habit and you don’t do that overnight.’’

So when will Henry know if the show is a suc­cess?

‘‘ If you’re ask­ing if we’re not No. 1 at the end of the first week will we be sui­ci­dal, no we won’t,’’ he says.

‘‘ We have very re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions of the chal­lenge ahead of us, as does Ten.

‘‘ But we wouldn’t do this if we didn’t know we were go­ing to be suc­cess­ful. Peo­ple will watch that grow and en­joy it along with us.

‘‘ And one day, Kath will tell a funny punch­line to a story.

‘‘ And we will be dumb­founded and silent at that point.’’

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