Paul Henry's final sign-off

  • 16/12/2016

There wasn't a dry eye in the studio as Paul Henry signed off from his show for the last time.

He paid special tribute to his mum Olive, who passed away on Monday - saying now that his biggest fan had gone, it felt like a fitting time to leave.

"This week I lost my most important audience member, which has probably comfirmed to me that this is the perfect time to end my career, I thank you very much for being part of it.

Henry dedicated his final show to his viewers.

"I'd like to dedicate this final programme to you - the most important component in all of this nonsense. Thanks for listening, watching and taking part."

He signed off with a twist on his signature advice: "Make every day a brilliant day in paradise."

Paul Henry Mediaworks
Staff farewelled Paul as he left the studio (MediaWorks)

After two years of early starts, Henry said on Friday's show that he is looking forward to not having to get up in the middle of the night.

"The funny thing about the whole thing, is you pace yourself don't you?" he said on Friday morning's show - his last.

"If someone said, 'Actually we're going to do one more week,' I just think I'd stab myself in the heart."

Mediaworks' chief news officer Hal Crawford paid tribute to Henry as “an exceptional broadcaster”.

"Paul Henry is a very rare blend - a populist with a massive streak of humanity. It’s been wonderful to work with him for the past six months,” Crawford said. “I look forward to the special projects we have in store with Paul next year."

Paul Henry Jim Kayes Ingrid Hipkiss Verity Johnson Mediaworks
Paul Henry with his on-air presenting team (from left): Jim Kayes, Verity Johnson and Ingrid Hipkiss (MediaWorks)

Back in 2017

Friday might mark the end of Paul Henry the show, but the team behind it promises the man himself will be back on air in 2017.

Henry, with co-hosts Ingrid Hipkiss and Jim Kayes, dramatically improved TV3's ratings in the mornings, particularly in the crucial 25-54 demographic.

Next year will see the 6am slot taken by Duncan Garner's The AM Show. Producer of both, Sarah Bristow, says she hopes Garner will build on what Henry has achieved over the past two years.

"We are super proud of what we've achieved in such a short timeframe, and we look forward to building on that momentum in what is our next venture in the mornings - The AM Show," she told Newshub.

The grand experiment

Earlier this year, at the 2016 NZ Radio Awards, Henry took out the Sir Paul Holmes Broadcaster of the Year title.

"So much of the success of the show is down to Paul," says Ms Bristow.

"His energy, passion and high standards are astounding. He is such a versatile performer, easily transitioning between fits of laughter and carrying out some of the best interviews ever conducted in New Zealand media."

Paul Henry was more than just a TV show, being simulcast on RadioLIVE. Ms Bristow says it was a challenge to create a show that worked on both formats.

"There was no blueprint for this kind of programme anywhere in the world, so we were really going with our gut instinct. Our audience in New Zealand has been treated to what is a world first, and I'm so proud of how many Kiwis have tuned in on our various platforms each and every day."

Ms Bristow says Henry will be back "in some form or other" next year.

The AM Show hits the air in February.