Complaints fell after Henry left Breakfast

NZ Newswire November 20, 2012, 3:23 pm

The absence of Paul Henry from TVNZ's Breakfast programme has coincided with a dramatic drop in the number of complaints lodged with the broadcasting watchdog over the show.

Breakfast, with Henry as co-host, was the subject of 29 complaints last year but this year with the presenter having relocated to Australia that dropped to just one, the annual report from the Broadcasting Standards Authority shows.

The authority dealt with 195 complaints in the 2011/12 year, down from 250 the previous year.

Henry's controversial comments about singer Susan Boyle being "retarded", suggesting former governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand was not a real New Zealander, and his ridicule of Indian diplomat Sheila Dikshit's name lead to Breakfast being the most-complained about show.

He quit the show in late 2010.

This year, TV3 current affairs show Campbell Live topped the list with 26 complaints, seven of which were upheld.

Authority chief executive Susan Freeman-Greene welcomed the reduction in complaints but was unsure if it was the start of a trend.

"We believe that if the system is working well, complaints will drop over time," she said.

As well as Henry being absent from the TV screens, another show that was a popular source of complaints, Outrageous Fortune, was no longer screened.

But any reduction may be short-lived as Henry is set to return to either the screen or the airwaves on these shores after MediaWorks, owner of TV3 and RadioLive, said he would rejoin the company upon his return from Australia.

His retreat from across the ditch follows Ten's decision to cull its Breakfast television show after November 30, as it proved a ratings flop.

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