60 Minutes star told: 'On your bike, Mike'
"This is a shame. I thought he did a really good job in the role – suitably serious for serious issues he is discussing."Featured comment
In the great television firmament stars wax and wane with predictable regularity.
Some, like Paul Henry, spectacularly explode, while others such as Mark Sainsbury disappear into black holes.
Then there are those who just slowly fade away, their glow overshadowed by super-novas exploding all around them.
In this latter category sits Mike McRoberts, TV3’s trusty workhorse for the last decade.
The one-time TVNZ sports jock was poached by Mark Jennings and groomed to become the face of TV3 news and current affairs.
It was a mantle he wore well, bringing grace and gravitas to his various roles as reporter and presenter on 3 News and 60 Minutes.
But now it has been revealed he will not front a new hour-long current affairs programme which will replace 60 Minutes, a job that has gone to Duncan Garner.
Mr McRoberts, it seems, has largely been relegated to newsreading duties and perhaps the odd bit of reporting here and there.
For someone who has become the poster boy of TV3 news and current affairs it will be a major blow to his self-esteem and may cause him to wonder whether he has a future with the heavily indebted broadcaster.
Over the years he has popped up in hotspots all over the world, a shrewd marketing ploy by Mr Jennings to brand him as a seasoned journalist and not just an autocue reader.
Cynics might call it parachute journalism, but it was a strategy that gave TV3 an edge over its rivals at state TV, where the news presenters were viewed as little more than show ponies.
However, it wasn’t without its risks, as Mr McRoberts discovered when he went to the assistance of a juvenile earthquake victim in Haiti.
It earned him the soubriquet of “Brown Jesus” from gossip columnist Rachel Glucina and the two had a very public spat through the media.
He accused her of mounting a "nasty, vile and vindictive" campaign against him and his wife.
Now Miss Glucina appears to be fawning all over him, saying that Duncan Garner, the man who will front the new show, has big shoes to fill.
The word is that Mr McRoberts did not see the axe coming and is mightily upset at being sidelined from the new programme.
His wife Paula Penfold, a long-time 60 Minutes producer and reporter, will apparently remain on the replacement show, but is far from happy at the treatment meted out to her man.
While shocked at the sudden turn of events, neither should be surprised as Mr Jennings is an old hand at playing things close to his chest, his boyish appearance disguising a fairly ruthless operator.
So, as Mike McRoberts star slowly waxes and wanes, Duncan Garner’s continues to fill the TV3 firmament.
As the French say, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.