Controversial Kiwi TV show host now employed in Oz



Controversial Kiwi TV show host now employed in Oz 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 bigoted" comments.

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 denigration.

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 report said.

Confirming Henry's appointment, Channel 10's programming chief David Mott described him as cheeky and "unapologetically forthright".

"(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 Boyle.

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 said.

PTI