Well, Paul Henry resigned on Sunday afternoon. The public pressure and an ominous warning yesterday from his boss Rick Ellis were apparently enough to shift Henry into proactive mode.
I was a bit surprised. I thought he’d tough it out and I wasn’t sure Rick Ellis would carry through his sack Henry option. But maybe, just maybe, Henry now exits with a modicum of his dignity intact.
I’d also just like to acknowledge Paul Holmes’ column from the HoS today. It never appears online, but Paul H[olmes] did a good job of treading a fine line between the rat who took his mate’s gig and the consoling mate who thinks his first-namesake is actually a good bloke under all that hardening slime.
I was tempted to say that under no circumstances could I take a man’s programme when he was experiencing bad times and I would never forgive someone doing it to me but then I thought, well, what the hell, what could I do but accept? [HoS 10.10.10 p.41]
Well Paul, you could show some principles and act in solidarity with a mate “experiencing bad times”. That’s what a mate would do. Unlike that “certain crowd” who kick a mate when he’s down.
There is a certain crowd who will love to pull him down because he is simply too successful. This is the schadenfreude factor and it is very powerful.
Schadenfreude is taking delight in another’s misfortune. It is a fancy way of talking about the so-called tall poppy syndrome. It’s nonsense.
Henry fcuked up and exposed his inner gremlins; he wasn’t torn down, he self-immolated after pouring petrol over his head for some time and playing with matches.
What happens next?
Complaints to TVNZ as a precursor to a Beeza inquiry into Henrygate are now moot. Beeza may still feel it necessary to poke a finger in the wound, but I’d be surprised if any complaints make it that far now.
Rick Ellis has promised a review of editorial standards, which is a bit like oiling the hinges on the stable door after… Instead, there will be a hunt to find a replacement for Henry and it will have to be someone extraordinary in order to ensure that the Breakfast ratings don’t just go down the poo-hole with the show’s former star attraction.
Henry will be looking for a new job and like disgraced carefully and slowly rehabilitated sports presenter Tony Veitch, he may yet find another home in commercial radio after a spectacular fall from grace.
This whole messy mess is an opportunity for TVNZ to re-think it’s approach to breakfast television.
I would opt for a return to Captain Kangaroo-style kids entertainment and leave the serious stuff to National Radio.
I loved Captain Kangaroo as a kid growing up in Milwaukee, he was just in control and always seemed about to explode – a lot like Paul Henry, so he would be popular with Henry’s audience profile and appealing to kids.
A serious morning news programme would be very interesting for the state broadcaster and I would enjoy it, but it would be expensive and a ratings stone (most likely). If TVNZ wants to go down that route I would be keen to offer some advice.
In the meantime, here’s the Captain to entertain you while you slurp down a coffee and some Froot Loops.