So as of today, Channel Ten will no longer be broadcasting The Circle.
And that is a pity, I think. The Circle was an engaging, warm, funny show hosted by intelligent, challenging, politically astute women. At the time of its ignominious death by axing it wasn’t necessarily setting the ratings world aflame, but it was never going to – not with its gentle mid-morning timeslot and cheerily awkward infomercials. It was what it was: a daytime television show with a passionate and devoted audience, and without warning it was yanked from air and replaced with overseas content.
The fault lies, more or less, with this gentleman.
For those happily unaware of his existence – and there are thousands of you out there, millions; the ratings for his inexorably awful breakfast television show currently number less than the population of Dubbo – his name is Paul Henry.
A radio and television host originating from New Zealand, Henry was sacked in a flurry of scandal by TVNZ in October 2010 after interviewing Prime Minister John Key about the then-NZ Governor-General, Anand Satyanand.
‘(Henry) asked, wasn’t it time to appoint a G-G ’‘who looks and sounds like a New Zealander’‘?
The racist subtext – that a dark-skinned man with an Indian name couldn’t be a real Kiwi – couldn’t be explained away. Henry’s mocking of Indian minister Sheila Dikshit’s name around the same time sealed his fate, and – after a public backlash – TVNZ pushed him off a cliff.'
SMH – ‘Australia, meet Paul Henry – He’s Your Problem Now’ 19/02/2012
The entertainment world often has a penchant for hosts who titillate and appall, who say things others dare not and thumb their nose at ‘political correctness’. Every time that irascible cockstain Sam Newman performs in blackface on The Footy Show, or pokes fun at mentally challenged or obese people in the street, or makes the sort of rapey innuendo that should more often than not be responded to with a swift kick to the penis, hundreds – thousands! – of Channel Nine viewers tut to themselves, throw beer cans at the screen, or simply huff indignantly into their telephones. They also keep watching. Newman is the sort of ‘love him or hate him’ character network executives fap off into their Kleenex over. He says something revolting and the letters of complaint are penned in a flurry of indignation and the op-ed pieces are printed in chest-beating orgies of sanctimony and nothing changes, not really, not ever, Newman and company just keep on keeping on (see: Jones, Alan).
Henry has attempted to set himself up as this sort of patented ‘outrageous’ character – he’ll say what he wants, when he wants, about gays, refugees, women drivers, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, to hell with the pious naysayers, edgy in-your-face comedic insights brings in the viewers, bitches! It’s an act that’s been done to death, usually by people smarter and sharper than Henry and, if those who come before are anything to go by, it eventually chips away at the soul. One need only look into the cold, dead trout eyes of ‘King’ Kyle Sandilands to see that a life lived being an obnoxious fuckbag in the public eye is a life spiritually unfulfilled.
‘Guess how many times I’ve cried whilst masturbating today, loyal subjects?’
No doubt when Channel Ten signed Henry as the host of their brand new Breakfast show they were hoping some of this gormless attention-grabbing would cause a charge of outraged audiences to shriek at their television screens and hover with breathless anticipation. The three-year contract was rumoured to be worth one million dollars per year, and Ten talked up the possibility of scandal months in advance. That Paul Henry! Whatever would he say next? Tune in tomorrow at 6am!
But nobody – nobody – watched Paul Henry. And as Breakfast continues its bedraggled, confused limp into obscurity that rumoured one million dollar a year contract is now the reason a lot of very fine Channel Ten employees just lost their jobs. Hearsay has it that Ten even tried to handball Henry off to be the face of panel show Can of Worms but those involved threw a grade-A shitfit, and like a scabies-addled pound dog nobody wants to claim Henry was shunted back to the poorly-conceived hosting position from whence he came.
Because Channel Ten don’t know what to do with their bad investment, they’ve garrotted a warm, funny, politically interesting, female-driven show and left it for dead. Because they pandered to a puffed-up testicular bubo of a human being and signed him for far more money than his half-baked brand of ‘infamy’ is worth they’ve decimated the public face of their morning lineup and left people far more deserving of a decent paycheck on the unemployment line.
And this new ‘improved’ Breakfast (just you watch) will duly poach segmenteers from The Circle, and offer them less money for doing a job they once loved, and they’ll obediently go and perform because nobody wants to get a commercial overlord offside.
And it’s not good, and it’s not right, and it’s about time someone pointed out the fucking disgrace of the whole affair.