According to TVNZ's publicity: 'Seven Sharp cuts through the headline clutter to bring you the day's stories with razor sharp wit and insight.'
Well, that 'razor sharp wit and insight' wasn't in evidence on the debut edition of Seven Sharp - and they've had months to prepare this show.
Jesse Mulligan, Greg Boyed and Alison Mau tried to extract some humour about who would escort John Key at Waitangi. I don't pretend to be totally au fait with all things Maori but isn't lampooning Maori protocol more than a bit dodgy? How come Maori are the butt of the jokes while someone as loathsome as Paula Bennett gets to raise her profile?
Good satire is angry satire that makes us think but the 'humour' of Seven Sharp is of the 'nudge, nudge' kind that isn't going to fluster and anger the political establishment. I wanted the ghost of comedian George Carlin to appear in the studio and demand that the bullshit should stop immediately.
Some journo got to meet John Key who even admitted he was doing 'a fluff piece'. She drank some wine with John and then she was escorted around Parliament by those 'lovely' politicians Paula Bennett and Trevor Mallard. Shane Jones popped up at some stage and someone mentioned videos. Laugh? I never started.
Then there was some insubstantial piece about an ex-soldier who had been suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome He had been in Afghanistan but we learnt little about what he had been doing there. Jesse and Ali told me that if I was severely depressed I should get help immediately. Eh?
That piece of wisdom thus imparted to the masses (many of whom had probably tuned out by this stage, I suspect) there was a lightweight piece of nonsense involving Greg Boyed interviewing singer Josh Groban. My notes mention 'Crowded House' and 'water skiing'. I can't tell you anything else because I was losing the will to live by this stage.
Seven Sharp is the predictable product of a tabloid news service that began to emerge, more or less, when TVNZ was turned into a state-owned enterprise. This is a show that doesn't raise public awareness about crucial issues - that's what a good public broadcaster would do. But TVNZ is a public broadcaster in name only and a show like Seven Sharp only exists to deliver the right audience demographics for advertisers.
There are a lot of very critical comments on Seven Sharp's Facebook page. I like this one from David Masters: 'The only thing that could make me want to watch this less is Petra Bagust.'