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TVNZ Announces Close Up @ 7 Team

TVNZ Announces Close Up @ 7 Team

3 December 2004

TVNZ is pleased to announce details of the presenter and staff line-up for next year's production of Close Up @ 7, screening TV ONE, weeknights at 7pm.

Susan Wood will host the nightly current affairs programme with Mark Sainsbury as back-up host. Hunter Wells has been appointed Executive Producer and Hamish Clark as Line Up Producer.

The Close Up @ 7 Producers include Laurna Hall (Auckland), Peter Sainsbury (Wellington), Brett Solvander (Christchurch), Sofia Wenborn (Auckland). The reporting team includes Connie Buchanan (Wellington), Kris Faafoi (Wellington), Mark Hannan (Auckland), Hannah Hodson (Auckland), Robyn Janes (Auckland), Hadyn Jones (Auckland), John Sellwood (Christchurch), Bryan Seymour (Auckland) and Ian Sinclair (Auckland). Mike Valintine is Correspondent at Large.

Bill Ralston, TVNZ Head of News and Current Affairs says the appointment of Susan Wood, Mark Sainsbury and a broad based, highly experienced journalistic and production team emphasises a fundamental shift in TVNZ's nightly current affairs show.

"With Close Up it is the story that counts, not the individual presenter of the programme. Our emphasis is on providing high quality, reporter driven, current affairs stories," he says. "This will be the essential point of difference between Close Up and the more traditional personality driven current affairs formats other competitors may attempt."

Susan Wood is a hugely experienced current affairs journalist, with a 25-year career in print, radio and television. For the past 15 years she has worked in nightly current affairs.

"I am delighted that, at last, Susan has the chance to fully demonstrate her skills as a journalist, interviewer and presenter," says Bill Ralston. "Over the past few weeks, called in at extremely short notice, Susan has made the Close Up role her own. She has truly earned this chance to carve out a new direction in television current affairs."

Susan Wood says the opportunity to host Close Up @ 7 is "an absolute career highlight. I feel I have been working towards this for the past 25 years from starting out as a journalist on a provincial newspaper, to working on dailies, in radio and in television. There's a great team spirit amongst the programme's reporting team and production crew. I've been overwhelmed by the support of the team and their dedication to the programme."

"We are all looking forward to bringing New Zealand viewers the most comprehensive coverage of the day's current affairs."

The addition of Mark Sainsbury to the role of presenter and host when Susan is absent is another demonstration of the commitment Close Up @ 7 has to quality journalism. As TVNZ's Political Editor, Mark has a career in radio and television news and current affairs that spans more than two decades. His 2004 coverage of the US Elections and other excellent work, including occasional hosting of ONE News Insight Debates and the Agenda programme confirms his natural ability in the kind of role that Close Up @ 7 offers. Mark will also continue to operate as Political Editor for ONE News in Wellington.

"With an Election looming here in 2005, Mark was the obvious choice to support Susan in fronting Close Up," says Bill Ralston. "His depth of knowledge of New Zealand politics is unmatched by anyone in television. I expect Mark will handle the programme over several weeks next year and I have no doubt he, too, will add a new dimension to nightly current affairs."

Executive Producer, Hunter Wells is another enormously talented journalist and editor with a long history in the business. "Hunter is the perfect person to head this team. He knows that the nightly battle next year will be won by content - the best stories, the best interviews and the best journalists. This is news, not entertainment," says Ralston.

The rest of the Close Up @ 7 team are a good mix of young, new blood and highly experienced reporters and producers. According to Bill Ralston, "This is a highly motivated team. They have the energy, the ability, the contacts and above all else, the will to win".

Close UP @ 7 has its final programme of the year on Christmas Eve. It will re-launch with new titles, theme and set on 17 January 2005.


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