Melbourne: A controversial New Zealand TV
host, who was forced to quit after he made on-air derogatory
comments against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit sparking
a diplomatic row last year, has been roped-in by a leading
Australian channel to boost its ratings.
While hosting a TV show on TVNZ, Henry had used
derogatory remarks against Dikshit in the course of a
discussion on the Commonwealth Games, poking fun at her name.
The outburst went global and India summoned New Zealand's
High Commissioner to protest against Henry's "racist and
State broadcaster TVNZ had apologised to India over the
row and it was fined USD 2,400 by New Zealand's television
watchdog for breaching standards on discrimination and
After lying low, Henry has now been recruited by
Australia's Channel 10 to lead its new breakfast programme to
ratings success, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.
"In a bid to attract viewers from rivals Sunrise and
Today, Ten has adopted a three-pronged hosting approach to its
new show, with outspoken Aucklander Paul Henry to join Andrew
Rochford and a yet-to-be-confirmed female presenter," the
Confirming Henry's appointment, Channel 10's programming
chief David Mott described him as cheeky and "unapologetically
"(Paul) is exactly what we've been after for Breakfast,"
Mott said. "While you can't ever be sure what Paul will do,
when he's on air, you know he's going to tackle the elephant
in the room."
Henry had also sparked controversy in 2009 when he used
the term "retarded" to describe popular British singer Susan
He told The Sunday Telegraph he had no plans to be more
circumspect on Ten.
"The great thing about Ten is that they are edgy and
prepared to have a laugh at life and themselves," he said.
"I left TVNZ after 7 1/2 years of breakfast television
in controversial circumstances, but that's the only way to go.
"It was other people's controversy, it wasn't mine.
Generally speaking, you can't outrage people. People outrage
themselves," he was quoted as saying.
Henry was approached by Ten's interim CEO, Lachlan
Murdoch, three weeks ago for the breakfast gig, the report
First Published: Sunday, November 06, 2011, 16:16