Mediaworks announced at 2 pm today that John Campbell is leaving TV3.
The timing is appallingly cynical – to release it at the same time as The Budget.
Media rightfully have a go at press secretaries who try to release bad news at the time of a major event, to hide it. Well how can you expect them not to, when media companies do exactly the same!
Mediaworks have said they offered John Campbell a three year contract last November, which he declined.
They decided to change Campbell Live from five to four nights a week, and Campbell said he doesn’t want to continue with a reduced programme. That is his right.
I think John Campbell is a very talented broadcaster, even though I disagree with his obvious politics. His heart is in the right place, and he campaigned on issues he believes in. The fact his show got such a bounce in the ratings after the possible closure become public is a tribute to him.
I’m glad they are not replacing Campbell Live with some reality TV show, but will still have a current affairs programme on for four nights a week. It won’t be Campbell Live, but what matters is the journalism, not who does it. We’ll have to see if the replacement show will do serious current affairs, or do fluff pieces.
I hope we will see John Campbell come back on television somewhere – maybe even on TVNZ. Again I don’t have to agree with his politics, to appreciate the work both John and his wider team have done to produce a show that makes a difference.