Who should replace Duncan Garner on Story?

duncan_garner_1200I made it quite clear before Story went to air that Duncan Garner was the wrong person to front TV3’s new current affairs program. After a month at the helm, and ratings that are doing as badly as Campbell Live was before Mediaworks put the program into review, it is clear that more changes need to be made.

Story hasn’t warmed to viewers. Part of that problem is Garner. He is not a natural when it comes to fronting these types of shows and by now, those making these decisions should have figured that out. Much of what Garner does comes across as forced, unnatural and disingenuous. His banter, like many in the media these days, fails the authenticity test. Even though it has only been a month, it’s time for him to go.

Garner was much better when he was a political journalist. Like a dog with a bone, his instinct to tear into any remaining meat was something he was recognised for and certainly better at than his current roles. As a journalist, dishing the dirt on a story he’d been working on gave him the ability to came across as being real and connected to what he was talking about. Ad-libbing is a style far better suited to him than reading off a teleprompter or sticking to a script.

Hosting a current affairs program is not the place for Duncan Garner but who should replace him?

I’ve suggested before that Paul Henry up against Hosking and Breakfast in the morning and again against Hosking and Seven Sharp at 7pm would be formidable and a real opportunity for TV3 to take the ratings fight to TVNZ. I’m not sure Henry would appreciate the long days but if Hosking can do it, I’m sure Henry can.

Henry is, by far, TV3’s biggest on screen asset and while he’s turning around the early part of the day, it’s not really the revenue winner that the evening line up is. A Henry/Du Plessis-Allan combo at 7pm would be a good watch I’d suggest but whether or not the negotiators at Mediaworks can bring that to life is the question I’m certainly waiting to see the answer to.

In any case, Garner needs to go. Du Plessis-Allan would do better by herself at this point.

And if not Henry, who else would make a great co-host? (And before anyone suggests it, John Campbell now works for Radio New Zealand and didn’t want a dual hosting job)

Should Duncan Garner be replaced as host on Story?

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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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  • benpaul12

    I agree that Duncan should be dropped, other than Paul Henry though, it will be tough to replace with anyone that is going to increase ratings.

    NZ seems to have a shortage of talented, well-liked journalists with hosting pedigree. Anybody involved with RadioLive or the MediaWorks pool has their barrow pushed by the organisation itself but are generally just washed-up, boring, libertarian people who have raced themselves to the bottom as shock-jocks.

    Failing getting Paul, HDPA could present the show herself, this would make the show more serious and less fluffy (at least in format style).

    Perhaps TV3 could poach Jack Tame?

    • Regan Cunliffe

      “Perhaps TV3 could poach Jack Tame?”

      No no no no no no no no no

      • K

        So agree. Not Jack Tame !!

        • epistaxis

          and a big ditto as well…probably a really nice guy but soooo overated as a presenter/reporter

          • Jay

            Agreed, Jack Tame is nothing special.

      • 4by3

        He’s more disingenuous than Garner! Another case of a network pushing a reporter into a role beyond their talent level. But I’ll admit I can’t suggest an obvious replacement.

        I’d prefer to see HDPA go solo, and the show focus its resources on great field stories. That would be a genuine point of difference.

        • benpaul12


  • K

    “never in a million years” September 9 http://www.womansday.co.nz/celebrity/celebrity-news/2015/9/paul-henry-and-hilary-barrys-bond/

    “There are very few people who would be capable of doing that job and Hilary was at the top of a very short list,” says Paul.

    “I thought it probably wasn’t possible, though, because of her job reading for 3 News. After a while, it became evident I was going to have to get her knocked off the six o’clock news – in fact, it’s still on my to-do list!”

    Paul, who confesses he would never in a million years attempt to do both jobs, worries about Hilary burning the candle at both ends. “Both jobs are full-time,” he points out. “I don’t know how she does it.”

  • Trevor Ashman

    I don’t think Paul Henry would help, I think it should be someone new 🙂

  • Blue Tim

    James Coleman?

  • Townclock

    HDPA a bigger problem.

  • K

    I think Willie Jackson would be better than Garner

    • benpaul12

      No no no!! Terrible!!

      • K

        there’s really not a lot of decent people to choose from eh

        • benpaul12

          haha no there aren’t!

  • Alison Mau

  • Andrew

    I bet John Campbell is rubbing his hand.

    • Andrew


  • Travis

    Garner is great in Live, but on story it’s just not the same.

  • coltheman

    Pam Corkery and Crim Dotcon

  • Shannon Ryan

    I thought Duncan wouldn’t suit this role and I was right. I watched one episode of Story where HDPA was the only host and it was much better. Having said that, I’d like to see her co-hosting with Marcus Lush. Mediaworks shouldn’t lose a great journalist like that, and I’m not sure Mediaworks could afford to pay whatever Paul Henry demanded for working both ends of the day at this point.

    • benpaul12

      Marcus is good, but he’s a bit of an NZ James May. He could come across as too niche.

  • K

    What about Lachlan Forsyth … think HDPA needs someone to bounce off

  • Stewart

    Sean Plunket or Marcus Lush – less TV experience, good journalists, more suited to working with HDPA who I think is fantastic on Story.

    • Harrison

      Marcus Lush is replacing Kerre McIvor on Newstalk ZB evenings from the start of 2016

  • Anon Emus

    HDPA is bossy and full of herself, and Garner is the sort of smarmy, opinionated loudmouth you don’t want standing around your barbecue with a beer in his hand and several under his rather circumstantial belt. This is the key to the show’s failure, and Regan has it sussed.

  • Tania

    I agree with others who say Heather is more the problem over Duncan.
    I don’t like Heather’s brash, interruptive, style … she just irks me to no end.
    I’m probably in the minority here who thinks Duncan is a likable sort of guy … sure, he has foot in mouth disease at times, but don’t we all? I find his voice soothing on my long commute home each day.

  • Challenger

    Changing Duncan will not help the show. Shows scripting itself is creepy. Mediaworks producers & governance have lost their creativity. Else why should they pick up failed programmes of other channels. Their shows show less planning & home work sometimes even bad luck. For the third time their reality shows have lost a contestant. This time in Block NZ.
    Should the story emulate Seven sharp. There is no originality. If I want a creepy show I will watch seven sharp with the MCP. May be it is time media works talk to their customers – TV viewers- about what they like to watch.
    Finally TV# don’t believe the ratings. Sample size is just 600 and is fixed for a long time. No matter what they say unless they do something the sponnsers will be running soon.