Smooth Aussie debut for Paul Henry
Thursday 23 Feb 2012 12:22 p.m.
Paul Henry with his co-hosts on Breakfast
The fast tracking of controversial broadcaster Paul Henry on to Australian breakfast television has gone smoothly.
Channel 10's new Breakfast show was to have gone to air on Monday but was brought forward to Thursday after Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd's resignation has forced a leadership challenge against Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
While early viewer feedback to the show - extended from three to four hours because of the Gillard-Rudd row - has been mostly positive, Henry has already absorbed some criticism in good humour.
When the "Henry Hotline" went live to take calls from the public, one female viewer accused that two of the three presenters of being unprofessional journalists.
Henry thanked her for watching.
He was not so grateful to a gruff-voiced male viewer who said: "Who's that bloke with the glasses on? Don't like him, don't want him."
Sydney Morning Herald reviewer Michael Idato says the first episode of Breakfast was free of major glitches and Henry was very much the star of the show.
Viewers were given a glimpse of Henry's "infamous political incorrectness - suppressing a snicker at a story on the world's smallest man".
"He's got a meeting with a ruler," Henry said.
The tables were turned on him when a woman viewer suggested Henry should be given a cushion as he looked too short sitting between co-hosts Andrew Rochford and Kathryn Robinson.
On the show's Facebook site, Natalie Delvecchio wrote that "the guy with the glasses is a tosser" - a word Henry used when interviewing federal deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop, as she'd once used it to describe Mr Rudd.
But other viewers were already fans of Henry, one saying he used to watch him when visiting New Zealand and was late for meetings because he was laughing so much.
Henry resigned as a host of TVNZ's Breakfast show in October 2010 amid controversy over racial comments.