TV3 launches 3 News: Firstline - weekdays from 6am

Rachel Smalley will present 3 News: Firstline, which will remain on air permanently from tomorrow, Monday March 7. Smalley will bring viewers the bulletins every weekday morning from 6.00am-8.30am.

3 News first went to air with a morning bulletin on Wednesday February 23,  a day after the devastating quake hit Christchurch, and has continued to keep New Zealanders informed and up-to-date ever since.

With plans already in place to launch an early morning news service in April, the decision was made to stay on air.

Director of News and Current Affairs, Mark Jennings says he believes there is a demand for a serious, no frills, early morning news programme.

“Firstline will concentrate on the important stories that happened overnight and what is likely to make news in the day ahead,” he says. “When major stories break the programme will have the resources and journalist fire power to provide major coverage.”

Senior reporters from 3 News will file for the programme and provide context and analysis of major issues, and our correspondents in London and Sydney will be regular contributors.

Jennings adds: “Rachel Smalley will bring considerable journalist clout to the anchor’s role.  She is a talented interviewer and reporter, who has covered many big international and domestic stories for us. Since returning from London she has made her mark as the host of Nightline. She is the perfect combination of warmth and authority.” 

Mediaworks TV Chief Executive, Jason Paris says this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to news and current affairs and the strength of our team of journalists at TV3.

“Many New Zealanders don’t have a lot of time in the morning. There won’t be any coffee mugs on the anchors desk or stories about how to look after your pets. We want this to be a show for serious news viewers who have limited time in the morning but want to be fully informed.”

Sacha McNeil will replace Rachel Smalley as the new Nightline presenter from tomorrow.


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  • Rachel

    I think this is an excellent move and a great point of difference from Breakfast.  If you’re watching Breakfast and some fluff-piece comes on that you’re not interested in, you’ll be able to switch over and see NZ news.  

    Well done TV3!  

  • reece_555

    Well said Rachel, I really hope this is successful for them or at least cost effective to remain even with a small audience that will grow long term hopefully! Also a fan of Sacha McNeil so will be good to have her on Nightline.

  • I like ducks

    I really cannot describe how much i hate the name Firstline and if it’s all just news then people will probably only tune in for small periods of time but i do think there is a market for this type of show and its a good move to bring it out following the recent quake coverage as it acts as a good lead in.

  • theidolwhorocks

    All I can say is good luck.

  • annesh

    this looks cool

  • Jacob S

    Interesting development.  I’m guessing a show sponsor might be quite hard to find – TV3 has already shown it cuts programmes when they don’t rate, so why would an audience and sponsor show any loyalty to a show thta might not be around in 6 months time?  The other point is that TV3 have found the money to do this show just after they have closed their Wellington 60 Minutes office.  Is TV3 going to use these experienced journalists on the new show?

  • lukenews

    TVNZ will be able to counter this easily, because they present news breaks every half hour during Breakfast. While people do want serious news, they also want light, upbeat, feel-good vibes from a morning news show. Simply presenting serious news at that time of the morning is going to come off as dull. It is not going to capture attention or rally the masses. Also TV-based interviews are not ideal for 6-9am when people are busy getting ready for their day ahead and don’t have their eyes fixed on the TV screen; radio is a better medium for that sort of purpose because you can walk around while listening to the radio. In fact Radio NZ National’s Morning report is a great example of a “serious, no frills, early morning news programme”. It has the headlines at :30 past the hour and a slightly longer news bulletin at :00 on the hour. It has interviews with the news makers (hyperlinks at bottom of post).

    Mr Jennings says that “When major stories break the programme will have the resources and journalist fire power to provide major coverage.” The thing is that major stories don’t occur often. You might have one or two big events a year that might require rolling news coverage. But generally, it is just the normal everyday news that most people pick up while driving to work or looking at the paper, or looking at, etc.

    “Jason Paris says this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to news and current affairs”. I don’t think it is a commitment to news and current affairs per se. I think it is an attempt at building an early morning viewership that they hope will then attract advertisers. A “commtiment to news and current affairs” sounds great, but TV3 is a commercial channel.

    Links to Morning Report


  • pete robertson

    Well all I can say is that I flicked it on at about 7.30am and all they were doing were re-running the news items for the TV3 News for Sunday night. I reckon that is pretty weak.

  • Dave

    There was significant new content included in the first Firstline show.  The  2 1/2 hour programme included fresh updates and live interviews from Wellington and Christchurch interspersed with new international stories from overnight, as well as some items from Sunday night’s 3 News bulletin which still provided current information.

  • reece_555

    Is Michael Wilson being utilised for this bulletin at all ?

  • Jon

    Rachel Smalley should have a male newsreader as co-host to make it more friendly towards audiences and also initiate at the least brief non-serious chit-chat.

  • bobscoffee

    Hearing Firstline on its own makes me think of cat food or whatever that cat-related product is

  • ..

    Public sentiment suggests this is going well..



    Never seen so many comments on an item apart from ‘The Ken Ring IV’

  • rasman_nz

    It brilliant, finally something serious, with real news content, replacing the traditional morning fluff thrown at us by TVNZ. Long may Firstline continue.

  • elaliotv

    finally tv3 are thinking with their heads!!!! this is a cheaper alternative than the expensive sunrise!!! i hope it does well and grows the audience for breakfast tv. i just hope prime brings back the today show or launch a nz version of the programme to counter breakfast!!!!