Belinda Todd: How going broke saved TV3

Former Nightline host Belinda Todd says going into receivership six months after it launched was the best thing that ever happened to TV3.

Until that fateful day in May 1990, she says despite optimism reigning in the news room, the public didn't seem to care.

"I think we were surprised that no one loved us as much as we thought we deserved to be loved."

But when people realised New Zealand's first privately-run TV station might go off-air before its first birthday, attitudes changed.

"When we were doing Nightline, people would give us anything because we had no money. We would turn up and go, 'Hi! Can we use your hotel? Can we borrow your car? Are your children available as extras?" says Todd.

"People were so nice to us because we were like, the homeless news department running around with scissors and our hair on fire. I think people really liked the desperation."

Ms Todd made fun of the station's financial woes on Nightline, infamously touring the TV3 newsroom with the Grim Reaper in tow. As far she can remember, her producer never approved the dark, satirical sketch.

"I don't think we did get approval. Never ask for permission, only forgiveness – that was our motto," says Todd.

"Suddenly there was nothing left to lose, and we really did have complete creative freedom because no one was paying attention. It was late at night and we were just doing our own thing. No one expected anyone to really notice. We were accidental – it was a happy accident."

Her experience on Nightline is in stark contrast to her later foray into conventional comedy – the much-derided Melody Rules.

"Before it went to air, they liked it so much they commissioned extras… and then it went to air," laughs Todd.

"But again, I believe it has a certain cult status as well, so I like to think I've made one of the most fondly remembered shows in New Zealand, and perhaps one of the most disparaged. Who doesn't want that on their CV?"

Todd currently lives in Los Angeles, where she works behind the camera.

3 News

source: newshub archive