John Campbell calls in lawyer — report

PLUS: Controversy helps ratings | Herald journo stands by "fabricated" story.

John Campbell has engaged Kesington Swan special counsel Linda Clark, according to a Herald report.

Mr Campbell did not immediately respond to NBR's request for comment.

Ms Clark responded, "Sorry, we don't confirm who we do or do not work for."

Ms Clark worked for TVNZ and RNZ before retraining as a lawyer. Last year, she presented TV3's The Vote and on the panel for the broadcaster's current affairs show The Nation until a controversy over possible conflict of interest arose. Ms Clark was said to have carried out media training for then Labour leader David Cunliffe. Neither Kensington Swan nor Mr Cunliffe would confirm or deny.

Fabricated comments?
Meanwhile, Friday saw MediaWorks Corporate Counsel Alex Nicholson issued a statement about Herald media reporter John Drinnan.

Mr Drinnan wrote, "TV3 bosses told Campbell Live staff the channel is thinking of canning the current affairs show for a daily entertainment show, with some speculating a Jono and Ben-style show could be a replacement." (NBR's emphasis; MediaWorks says Mr Drinnan's copy was changed from Jono and Ben to Jono and Ben-style show after the company complained.)

Mr Nicholson responded, "The statement in John Drinnan’s articles in relation to the Jono and Ben show, which is attributed to “TV3 bosses”, is a complete fabrication and is not based on fact. Jono and Ben has never once been mentioned in any MediaWorks management forum, discussion or document as a possible replacement for Campbell Live."

Mr Drinnan told NBR he stood by his report.

Ratings bounce
John Campbell began last night's show clutching a pile of printouts of messages of support.

He also ordered pizzas live on air from Pizza Hutt and Hell Pizza in a move to underline one of the show's recent wins: helping to persuade the Restaurant Brands group (KFC, Pizza Hutt, Starbucks, Carl's Jr) and others to drop zero-hours contracts. The pizzas would be shared by the 23 people who worked on the show, he said.

This morning, the Campbell Live Twitter account noted last night's show had 293,050 viewers, according to Nielsen (Seven Sharp had 400,910).

That was well up on the show's 2015 average of 191,432.

For now, at least, the maxim that any publicity is good publicity is holding for John Campbell.

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