John Campbell

What next for John Campbell?

Campbell’s last show on Friday night attracted a record 532,000 viewers – 484,000 watched live and 48,000 delayed on TV3+1. It was TV3’s biggest rating show of the year.

That invites the retelling of this joke…

Guy goes into TV3, says, “I’d like to see John Campbell”.   Lady at the receptio desk says “Sorry, he no longer works here”.  Next day, he turns up again, and asks for John Campbell.  Not entirely sure if he’s the same man, the lady explains again “sorry, John Campbell no longer works here.”   Next day, he’s back.  Same thing.  Now the lady is sure it’s him.  “Listen Sir, I’ve already told you John Campbell no longer work here – stop asking@”.  The guy replies “Oh, I know – it’s just that I’ll never get sick of hearing you say it.”

The fact that his last show was his highest rating show of his career is being spun as something wonderful – something that somehow tells Mediaworks they made a mistake.  In reality, it’s bloody embarrassing of course.  Most people tuned in the same way as people slow down to rubber-neck at an accident scene.

So what next for John “the protector of the nation’s integrity” Campbell?

John Campbell for mayor?

Two days out of his job at TV3 hosting the now-defunct Campbell Live, and one career adviser says he has the qualities to launch a tilt at the Auckland mayoralty.

A mayor needs to be well rounded. It’s all very well being good with the people, but do they understand a balance sheet and the economics of running a city?”

His early working life as a share trader showed he was someone with “a good analytical mind”, she said. “I think he’d have the skills for a politician.”

Other paths included diplomacy, celebrity speaking, media relations, lecturing or leading an organisation that needed someone with “presence and influence” at the helm.

There’s the Herald for you – already pushing for Campbell to stand for Auckland mayor.

Because, you know, being self-righteous and media-savvy are all the qualifications you need to run a billion dollar city.

Frances Harre said there were “so many doors that could open for John” that he should step back and think about what he wanted to do.

That could include working for another broadcaster or widening his options based on his interests, including his love of music, she said.

He also had the skills and connections to work for a non-governmental organisation, to become a columnist or find a job at the United Nations, Harre said.

“This is his life, his career, his future. He’s obviously a courageous and brave individual and he can use those skills to move on and think about what’s important.”

A columnist.  So the Herald is pitching a job now?   Why not?  They had Lucy Lawless and Kim Dotcom running the place – even John Campbell is overqualified.

Personally I would love for John Campbell to run for Auckland mayor.   He’ll be at the other end of the camera and the blistering attention that it brings on every aspect of his life.

I suspect he’s too smart and will realise that Keeper turned Poacher isn’t a move for him.


– Cherie Howie, Herald on Sunday

Hey John

Click play, then continue

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Message from one luvvie to another: HTFU

My good friend Brian Edwards has written an open letter to John Campbell.

Now, before you start raging at the screen, it is well worth a read considering Brian Edwards explains how many times he got the sack and for why.

Shit happens, John. I’ve been “let go”, sacked from more broadcasting jobs in New Zealand than I care to remember. And, more than once, with absolutely no warning.  To add insult to injury, the sackings generally occurred at a time when the show was enjoying both public acclaim and ratings success.

He then lists them… and for someone of his advanced years there are a few times he has been sacked.

Top of the Morning (1994-1999)


The latest radio survey had just come out.TOTM, whose previous incarnation had a cumulative audience of around 80,000 when I took over the slot in 1995, now had an audience of 340,000. It was the highest rating Saturday morning radio programme in the country, not to mention outrating almost every other programme on National Radio. We had every reason to expect a warm reception from the boss.

We were called in separately to be told the news. I’d been sacked.

To this day I have absolutely no idea why I was sacked as host of TOTM. Poor ratings? Get real! Poor listener response? Ditto! My role as media advisor to Helen Clark, the newly elected Prime Minister? Hardly, TOTM was a politics-free zone with the exception of one personality-style interview – with Jenny Shipley!

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The left can stop whining about John since Rachel is coming to replace him


Martyn Martin, Tiso and all the cry babies can rest assured that another journalist that won’t be influenced by National will take over the “real and honest investigative reporting” reins at TV3.

So calm down you lot.

Perhaps John Key will be taken down by Heifer Smalley?   As they say, if you want the job done properly, send a woman.

I’m quite amused by the possibility of 3 dumping Campbell for Smalley.   Campbell may not have been to the management’s liking, but at least he can’t be accused of being a lightweight.

Mediaworks management realistic about John Campbell

MediaWorks management viewed Campbell Live’s crusading journalism as a liability that stretched audience patience, company sources say.

The show’s ongoing coverage of Pike River, where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion at a West Coast coal mine, was specifically singled out by management as having led to viewer “fatigue”.

The term “fatigue” struck a sour note last night with Bernie Monk, spokesman for families of the dead mine workers.

“I can’t believe that would be one of the aspects of getting rid of John,” he said.

“Sure Campbell Live covered a lot of it but TV One did a hell of a lot too and they are still willing to do that.

“Campbell Live was a great ally in getting the truth out and I felt he was never over the top or on a crusade by any means.”

The review by management – which concluded on Thursday with host John Campbell leaving the network and the show facing replacement within the next six weeks – also considered Campbell Live over-emphasised charitable fundraising and coverage of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, GCSB spying and child poverty.

They’ve labelled it the “GCSB”, but it was of course Campbell’s obsession to bring John Key down at the behest of Kim Dotcom and with the help of stellar performers such as Wrongly Wrongson. Read more »

John Campbell to join Red Radio?

The excuses keep on coming.  Apparently John Campbell’s show failed because it didn’t have enough people too lazy to change the channel after watching an Aussie Soap 2 hours earlier?

Are these people even hearing what they’re saying?

Martin Gillman, partner at MG Communications, said the departure of the veteran broadcaster is a sad day for journalism.

“He’ll be greatly missed. I think he’s the nicest person in broadcasting, so it’s tragic that he’s going.

“He’s become the scapegoat for a bigger issue at MediaWorks, which is the fact that the 6pm to 7.30pm slot is not performing as well as it needs to.”

MediaWorks’ revenue is directly proportionate to the size of the audience it can deliver, Mr Gillman said.

For quite some time now the audience for 3News, and as a result Campbell Live, has been waning, he said.

Mr Gillman believes the company is right to do something about Campbell Live’s time slot.

“One of the reasons the audience is flagging is because the news audience wasn’t delivering a good audience into the 7pm slot.”

While it might sound bizarre, the problem stems back to the loss of Australian soap opera Home and Away, Mr Gillman said. Read more »


Toby Manhire says John Campbell’s style is irreplaceable.

When news broke six weeks ago that Campbell Live was on the chopping block the response was genuinely astonishing. This wasn’t just your garden-variety social media outrage – huge numbers of people were properly pissed off, they took it personally.

I felt a bit sorry, even, for MediaWorks bosses, who found themselves copping heaps of flak. Some of it they deserve (and yesterday’s announcement, two minutes before Bill English began reading the Budget, was cynical and unbecoming), but at least as much would have been better hurled at politicians from both major parties who had allowed public service television to become all but extinct.

Oh come on…the media hate politicians doing the Friday dump…and when it suits them they use it themselves.

John Campbell’s mix of acuity, tenacity and integrity is irreplaceable. His work in leading campaigns on school lunches, in disaster relief, and especially in remaining tirelessly focused on Christchurch, when most outside the region had stopped paying much attention, adds up to a formidable legacy.

It is hard to overstate how keenly he’ll be missed by colleagues, too: everyone from those in the mailroom through to senior journalists at TV3 speaks glowingly about Campbell’s willingness to stop and talk, to mentor the next generation of bushy-tailed reporters.

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I could watch this all day

I really can’t stop watching this video of Hilary Barry crying a river of tears for the demise of John Campbell.

A mate of mine texted me and said he’d been watching it all morning.

The emotional farewells for John Campbell have begun at TV3 with Hilary Barry choking up on live television.

Mediaworks, the broadcaster of both 3 News and Campbell Live, announced Campbell’s departure earlier on Thursday.   Read more »

Phone hacking illegal, but email hacking fine. Well, if it’s my email it is

Nick Davies will forever be known as the journalist who broke the phone-hacking scandal in the Britain, bringing down the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid.

At a Christchurch WORD event on Tuesday night, he discussed his views on the media and his book, Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch, with The Press editor Joanna Norris.

Starting in 2008 after a tip-off, Davies, who works for The Guardian, began investigating illegal phone-hacking and bribery by journalists employed by News International.

He wrote more than 100 articles over two years on the activities but it was only when he revealed News of the World journalists had listened to and deleted voicemail messages left for murdered teenager Milly Dowler that public outrage forced the police to re-open investigations.

By 2011, it was revealed more than 210 people had been complicit in the illegal activities and victims numbered more than 5000.

Don’t hold your breath that the same will happen in New Zealand when it comes to email hacking.  Journalists, decent, trained and skilled, have been directly involved in the Dirty Politics hacking against me and others.    Read more »

The luvvies couldn’t sustain their support for John Campbell for even a week

The luvvies who came out in support of Campbell Live managed to sustain their enthusiasm for the show for … oh…about 3 days.

Throng reports:

This won’t make pleasant reading for some but the ratings for Campbell Live have fallen away since the initial panic at the potential departure of the show from TV3.  Viewers tuned in en masse and gave the early evening current affairs program the boost in the arm that it desperately needed but last night’s episode failed to rise above Friday’s low.

With Monday traditionally being the highest night of the week and Friday the lowest, this doesn’t bode well for the rest of the week as the Mediaworks executives complete their review of the show.



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