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TVNZ cancels Agenda

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, November 25th, 2008 - 27 comments
Categories: broadcasting, Media - Tags: ,

No Right Turn reports that TVNZ has cancelled Agenda, New Zealand’s only in-depth political interview and analysis show:

According to Dennis Welch on Radio NZ this morning, TVNZ has cancelled Agenda, New Zealand’s top current affairs show. No word on what, if anything, they plan to replace it with, but it would be interesting to know their reason. Agenda is a successful show, which has been attracting record viewers in the leadup to the election. It is widely regarded as a vital part of our current affairs landscape, and its longer interview format provides a better way of holding our politicians to account than the traditional five-minute slot on Campbell Live. But I guess intelligent political discussion just doesn’t sell advertising; easier just to use recycled reality TV instead.

I have to second that – it’s an unforgivable move on TVNZ’s part and reflects just how far they’ve strayed from their public broadcasting obligations under the Charter. Ironically, the word around the traps is that the privately-owned TV3 is very interested in picking up Agenda if public funding becomes available. Let’s hope they do.

27 comments on “TVNZ cancels Agenda ”

  1. Lew 1

    This means Native Affairs will be the best current affairs TV in the country.

    The audio is here. Bonus in this audio: Welch discusses Noelle McCarthy’s apparet plagiarism on NatRad’s Afternoons.


  2. Graeme 2

    Speaking of “all the facts”, you might also mention that Dennis Welch said it looked likely that TVNZ would move the production “in-house”

  3. Tane 3

    Yeah I was just saying to a friend yesterday that I thought Native Affairs was the only other decent interview show around. Plus, they do an original take rather than simply parroting the collective cliches of the press gallery like most media do.

  4. Lew 4

    Graeme: Yes, that seems likely, but Welch himself admitted it was based on no real information at all other than what he reckons.


  5. Graeme: the IP on the show belongs to Front Page, so that would make it rather difficult.

    Basically TVNZ are burning their top politicla brand, at a time when it is apparently doing well. It would be interesting to know why…

  6. bobo 6

    This just backs what I have been saying about the sorry state of any indepth political show, if it’s not replaced with another show on an evening night slot this country is in an almost media lockdown, at a time when the public needs to keep informed with a new government planning to make some big changes. Record viewers on a Sunday morning? TV1 has almost fully morphed into TV2…

  7. Tane 7

    Graeme, as Lew says that was mere speculation on Welch’s part. I’m reliably informed TV3 is likely to pick it up depending on what the new government does to public broadcast funding, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  8. Personally I never liked Agenda. I recall them inviting Jim Blodger on to talk about Kiwirail then proceeding to ask him all about John Key’s intentions leading up to the election. And when Guyon Espinar went on a big rant at Phil Goff about the Defense Department Report without having done his homework, that wasnt in depth.

    And what was with their panel consisting of dickheads from The Herald or the NBR?

  9. Patrick 9

    I must say it’s been sometime since I’ve regularly watched Agenda. The few times I have seen it this year I’ve been quite disappointed by the quality of the interviews, and also the time really didn’t work well for me (TVNZ OnDemand is great, but yeah).

    However, I have taken to listen to a lot of political podcasts (NPR, Radio NZ, The Guardian etc), and I really think there is room for a weekly podcast from some of the better Kiwi political bloggers…

    Yes, that was a suggestion 😉

  10. Tane 10

    leftrightout – yeah, it’s flawed. It’s on at a really inconvenient time for most people to watch it. The panel is overwhelmingly stacked with right-wing hacks, Rawdon’s a joke and the line of questioning is at times baffling. But all that aside, it’s still the best we’ve got. Where else on the telly do you get decent long-form interviews that get beyond prepared soundbites and into the actual substance?

    The importance of Agenda isn’t in how many people watch it, it’s in the fact that due its format it gets the chance to ask questions, and get answers, that other media simply don’t. Look how many stories have broken into the mainstream press off the back of interviews on Agenda. By cancelling the show, our democracy is less informed and therefore weaker.

  11. Ianmac 11

    Maori TV has the people and the skills to do an Agenda type program very well. And they would probably do it at a much lower cost!

  12. Tane 12

    Ianmac, I think Agenda was pretty low budget as it stood. I mean, they even had to outsource their fact-checking…

  13. Agenda still owes James Barber a smart-phone. Remember how they wanted people to send i ntheir campaign vids and the best three were going to get smart-phones? He sent in that one of Stephen Franks being a homophob, it was the only one they played (they refused to play mine of Key talkng to a guy about the minimum wage). Seems to me, James is owed a phone.

  14. bobo 14

    Steve take Agenda to Fair Go 🙂

  15. Tane 15

    Too late bobo, I hear TVNZ’s cancelled that too…

  16. QoT 16

    Wash your mouth out with soap, Tane, not even the morons at TVNZ would dare to cross Kevin Milne.

  17. Oli 17

    Just to float an idea how would people feel about splitting TVNZ between a nakedly commercial TV2 and a not-for-profit public-service boradcaster TVONE?

  18. Carol 18

    Isn’t that pretty much what they’re doing with TVNZ 6 & 7 on freeview? They’re not very commercial channels.

  19. Oli 19

    I guess, I haven’t forked out for a set top box and refusing to open it up through Sky decoders certainly didn’t help.

  20. Ari 20

    This show needs to be in primetime, not being cancelled or put under new management. This is a terrible move by TVNZ. 🙁

  21. Liar 21

    Bloody good move from TVNZ. A lot more TV shit from the Klark era must be eradicated before New Zealand is cleansed.

  22. Tane 22

    Oli, I’d support that. So would many on the Left. I get the feeling Labour simply gave up on public broadcasting after the failure of the Charter.

  23. Felix 23

    TV1 as a non profit public broadcaster?

    I’d consider getting a TV for that.

  24. Chris G 24

    Isnt this a sign of things to come with the Nats promising to open up TVNZ to competition and cut their charter in half?

    In light of that. We should all be proud that market forces are acting upon our broadcaster! Shitty television is what we deserve if the market so dictates… Bugger that intellectual shit like Agenda!

    Not that I really like TV, but that is not an agreeable outcome.

  25. Jum 25

    Cancelling Agenda is all the proof I need of Key’s Act/Nat right wing agenda. This is geared to hiding their plans.

    What we need is a new Agenda but with the right wing Government pollies being interrogated by various left leaning blogsters and the main interviewer being Gordon Campbell.

    That is only fair considering the Labour Government allowed an Agenda with Labour pollies being interrogated by NBR and right wing media, with Kiwiblog’s David Farrar on anything from Good Morning to Agenda – ewww that was way too spooky. Even the Good Morning show was right wing when you considered that no one on that political segment had any left leaning preference. Willie Jackson was a Maori Party convert with his own agenda. The media on the show were the usual rightie scum, sorry, scrum. Even the one on one election debate reviews were skewed to the right.

    Media cannot be trusted to be objective so only left leaning blogsters will do.

    Let’s see just how much importance is attached to freedom for all to have a say in government, by what Act/Nats do re Agenda.

    This government will be more controlled state focused than Labour ever was, but only of the low and middle income.

  26. Lew 26

    Jum: How is TVNZ cancelling Agenda anything to do with the change of government?


  27. Phil 27

    Willie Jackson – part of the VRWC… Jum, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    How’s the weather in your fantasy world? Does it have Global Warming too?

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