John Campbell to leave Mediaworks

john-campbell-2013-300After weeks of review, Mediaworks has announced the introduction of a new 7pm current affairs show and with it, the departure of John Campbell from the broadcaster.

MediaWorks is launching a new current affairs show to be broadcast in the 7pm slot, Mondays-Thursdays on TV3.

Group Head of News, Mark Jennings says John Campbell was asked to co-host the show, which will have two presenters, but has decided to leave the company.

“John has decided he wants to take a break from the job and we respect his decision,” Jennings said.

The news brings to an end a six-week review of Campbell Live, which has generated high levels of public interest and speculation.

Group CEO, Mark Weldon and Group Head of News, Mark Jennings told MediaWorks staff today. They said the review was a thorough process that assessed a wide range of options, and an evolution of current affairs at 7pm emerged as the best option for improving commercial performance of the prime time 7pm slot on TV3.

“As much as anything, this was a review of the viability of current affairs at 7pm,” says Mark Jennings. “We went in without any preconceived idea of the outcome, but with a clear goal to turnaround the ratings decline.

“The review has clearly shown us what’s most relevant to our audience at 7pm is current affairs, but not Campbell Live as we know it.

“We will be bringing the best of Campbell Live over to the new show, but will be looking at a wider mix of stories.”

A new entertainment show will be developed to screen at 7pm on Fridays, as part of TV3’s high-rating comedy and entertainment line-up, but no details are currently available.

MediaWorks expects the new current affairs show to launch in 6-8 weeks, and recruiting for the hosts will begin immediately.
Mark Weldon said the senior management team were unanimous in their decision, and believed the new show was the most relevant option for audiences and advertisers.

“Mark Jennings recommended we review Campbell Live because, despite the quality of the show, Campbell Live had lost viewers every year for 10 years, to the point where the show was unsustainable.

“Mark has conducted an extremely rigorous review, and the analysis clearly shows current affairs is our best option at 7pm.

“MediaWorks is 100% behind the new current affairs show, and we are determined to make the programme a success.

“I want to pay tribute to John Campbell. He has made a huge contribution to TV3 and MediaWorks over the years, and I was hoping this would continue – which is why last November I offered John a three year contract, which he did not sign. I respect John’s decision not to continue at MediaWorks and wish him well.

“The presenter roles for the new show will be sought after, both by our own highly talented staff, and by external candidates. There’s no question Mark Jennings and his team will create a top quality, high performing current affairs programme for 7pm.”

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Dave Ian Batten

    I’m gutted about this. This is not what people expected.

  • DREW


  • toby_toby

    Won’t miss him or his over earnest unctuousness. Or his silly 3 piece suits.
    Glad that TV3 says they’ll stick with current affairs for the 7 slot, but I hope they don’t go for a Seven Sharp clone.
    Campbell should have swallowed his pride and accepted at least a sidekick, rather than a co-host.

  • Sounds as if Campbell had more to do with this than everyone thought by not renewing his contract. Therefore, Mediaworks had far less to lose by ending the show. It’ll be sad to see him go but hopefully TV3’s new offering will fill the void somewhat.

    • kaybee

      Every story has two sides. How do you know what was in the contract they offered him? Perhaps a pay cut, perhaps a performance clause linked to him “playing nice” with Government or maybe Mr Campbell is just burnt out. This article only shows the Mediaworks angle – and lets be honest if a media company isn’t an expert on spin who is?

  • Shannon Ryan

    It’s clear that John Campbell was unwilling to compromise on content. I respect him for leaving this mad circus and putting Mediaworks’ future prospects into disarray.

  • Simon Green

    I have to say, I’m not as disappointed as I thought I would be. Lets hope Campbell-Live-v2 has much the same characteristics of the current show. Hosts change all the time, so as long as the content is the same, ratings should stay the same.

    I definitely don’t want to see the items in the new show being fluffy all the time (like Today Tonight and A Current Affair in Australia)

  • Trevor Ashman

    It’s sad seeing John go but I’m not surprised. I reckon the new show should have more news about entertainment like having movie reviews etc 🙂

  • Jock

    Was this really a commercial decision? I mean how many tv presenters make national news and get people marching on the streets when their show is cancelled? I’m not saying it didn’t make financial sense, but from a brand perspective, I think a lot of networks would kill for the kind of audience goodwill and interaction John had. It’s not something you can manufacture overnight. They could have leveraged in a way that didn’t alienate the thousands who are now swearing off the network.

  • Krisda Limpapath

    This is sad day for New Zealand Television. Al Jazeera English is only real news option left for 7 pm.

  • Tania

    Rebecca Wright will be kicking herself for leaving 3 because with a little training and loosening up, she’d have been a fantastic choice of co-host for the new show.
    They should approach Nadine ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ – she constantly misses out on opportunities. But more likely they’ll give Sacha McNeil the job when in fact they should stick her on Nightline and Sam and Dave Farrier on this new show.
    I hope they don’t put Alison Mau back on TV … been there, done that … move on.
    That Rod Cheeseman guy was quite entertaining.

  • Curious to know what they’re planning for the Friday 7pm slot.

  • Mr Guess

    He might join Carol back at RNZ?