TVNZ has appointed veteran news man John Gillespie as its new head of news and current affairs (the role known affectionately inside TVNZ as the HONCA).
Gillespie takes over from Ross Dagan after his departure to Australia earlier this year, only 12 months into the job. Dagan's followed in the footsteps of predecessor Anthony Flannery – also an Australian, also returning to the motherland. No doubt TVNZ has confiscated Gillespie's passport at this point, although his homeland is Greymouth.
As a TVNZ staffer for the past 16 years (he was a producer during the initial launch of Breakfast in 1997) and reporter before that, Gillespie says he acknowledges the responsibility that's involved in driving the state broadcaster's current affairs strategy.
"I’m looking forward to being an even bigger part of setting our editorial direction. I’m committed to delivering outstanding news and current affairs that calls on the special talents of the people we have here,” he says
Gillespie takes up his new helm on 24 June, but as the editor of daily programming he already has his hands in the mix in TVNZ's news programming , working on the broadcaster's Seven Sharp show.
Speaking about the three month old programme, Gillespie told StopPress last week that Seven Sharp had jitters to start with but is looking strong with a quarter of the year behind it.
"People were initially a bit perplexed at the start and didn't seem comfortable ... We've worked hard to get that right and we see that in the ratings and feedback the show is getting," says Gillespie.
Seven Sharp averaged 391,000 viewers per episode (aged 5+) last week compared to Campbell Live with 332,000 average viewers per episode, according to TV blog Throng.