INSIDE: Seven days of TV viewing
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.’’