One of Holmes’ texters this week sent in a sentiment we probably all share: “I’ll do Susan Wood’s job for half her pay packet and not yell at the kids”, although the Holmes show was only one of a series of media eating itself moments from the week.
In case you didn’t see it, which is likely, Holmes interviewed CanWest CEO Brent Impey about TVNZ’s troubles. Impey was very careful about what he said, but seemed pretty happy about his chance to promote Campbell Live. He did look as if he was going to get the giggles at one stage at the absurdity of the situation, but Holmes pressed on, trying to get him to say bad stuff about the competitor and in his extraordinary rant at the end, implying that Susan Wood was average (and that he was “great”).
The media definitely ate itself at Susan Wood’s ERA hearing, she even faced the inevitable “How are you feeling?" question afterwards. Wood, we were told, thinks that she’s worth more than $450,000. Fair enough. We’d all value ourselves at a million bucks given the chance, wouldn’t we? Have we learned nothing from Halle Berry in the make-up ads? (Or is it Andie MacDowell in the hair dye ads? I forget.) The point isn’t how much she values herself; it’s how much TVNZ thinks she’s worth. Television, you could say, is a world that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. She might be worth $450,000 to them now, but in six or 12 months’ time she might not; the Great God of Ratings will decide that.
However, I think it’s time for a new broom, a clean sweep, a spring clean of the Close Up cupboard and I’d like to put forward a few suggestions for Susan Wood’s replacement, most of whom would be very cheap and don’t even have any kids to shout at.
1. Marcus Lush. Universally loved since he went Off the Rails – by men for the trains and, with the release of the DVD, by their wives for giving them something to “buy dad for Christmas”. A good interviewer who is used to putting up with talkback nutters; has lived in Invercargill, which even South Islanders would concede is punishment enough. Bonus: Will work for model train parts. Could be a problem: Doesn’t like publicity.
2. Te Radar. Is reasonably up with the news as a result of making innumerable appearances on RNZ’s news comedy quiz show Off the Wire. Has even filled in for presenter Jon O’Leary. Has been interviewing politicians in bizarre Maori TV comedy B&B. Went to East Timor. Popular with the Ponsonby comedy-arts-latte sipping crowd as well as the National Radio, moustachioed suburban mainstream. Maori might think he’s one of them, although he’s lost most of his Herald-reading demographic since his column was made Premium Content on the website. Bonus: will work for walk shorts and contributions to Hori Ahipene’s sex change operation fund. Could be a problem: Mark Sainsbury’s superior moustache could raise jealousy issues.
3. Joe Cotton. Has also gained valuable news experience by appearing on Off the Wire. Her stint on the Mike King show proved she’s capable of asking people dumb questions and getting them to do stupid things. Is prepared to make a dick of herself and get her kit off which should instantly draw in the teenage boy demographic. Bonus: Does not need to be fed. Could be a problem: In a desperate bid for publicity, Mike King might do a tell-all in a woman’s mag and the resulting scandal will lead to questions in parliament and Joe’s resignation.
4. Any hot All Black with a marketing degree.
5. John Campbell. Bill Ralston offers him a million bucks. “Because he’s worth it.”
Other possibilities: The Naked Samoans, Mikey Havoc, Noelle McCarthy, Scribe, Petra Bagust, Georgina Beyer, Toni Marsh, Camilla Martin, Jacqui Brown, Hugh Sundae, Jeremy Wells, Paul Holmes. Any other suggestions welcome – and a new name for the show might be needed too. Far Out perhaps. Or maybe just Fucked Up.
Footnote: Just found this great item about The Fall's Mark E Smith. If only someone at TVNZ had an idea even half as good.