The controversial and highly entertaining former TVNZ Breakfast host Paul Henry may soon return to television screens with the head of an American production company expressing interest in putting him back on air.
Founder of US production company Ish Entertainment, Michael Hirschorn, said he had discussions about Henry with network executives and reactions were “enthusiastic”.
Mr Hirschorn, whose credits include the reality shows Paris Hilton’s My New BFF and Rock of Love, said Henry is a talent who understands television.
“He’s a little bit unique, in the sense that he comes from halfway around the world, and essentially nobody’s heard of him before,” he told the New York Observer.
Entertainment and sports agency the Creative Artists Agency has expressed interest in representing Henry, Mr Hirschorn said.
“It’s ‘we love this guy. What can we do with him?’.”
The idea of creating a show like The Larry Sanders Show for Henry was floated, but the most likely scenario was for him to return to a talk show format, he said
Mr Hirschorn admitted there was a “certain level of fear” among TV executives about the controversial broadcaster.
Henry resigned from TVNZ in October last year after a flood of complaints from the public following his comments about Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and his mocking of the name of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
However, Mr Hirschorn said he was confident Henry could “rein it in if necessary”.
Earlier this year, there was talk of Henry appearing in an American reality TV show and he told the Herald on Sunday he’d had “serious studio meetings” with Hollywood producers.
Paul Norris of the Broadcasting School at Christchurch Polytechnic did not think Mr Henry would return to television any time soon.
“An American reality show? … dream on, is all I would say to that, really,” Mr Norris said.
“My instinct is that he will find a slot on radio, for which he’s very well suited. Talkback flourishes on opinion – and he’s got plenty of those and he’s very happy to express them in a very powerful manner.”
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