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Young and hungry

If media star Jeremy Wells got to front Close Up, younger audiences would be sure to follow.

Our money's on Mark Sainsbury to replace Susan Wood on TV1's Close Up, in the same way that Wood was Paul Holmes's back-up and then replaced him. After all, why frighten the horses? But if TVNZ wants to attract a younger audience when the series resumes on January 22, what about someone younger on the B-team? Eating Media Lunch's Jeremy Wells, for example, or new Newstalk ZB maven Noelle McCarthy? At least if the Sainster gets the job we'll be spared another series of his chat show.

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With TV1's ratings on a downward spiral, perhaps they could take a leaf from the Maori Television pukapuka and send out a press release asking for viewers. October was a good month - the best ratings to date for the channel - but November would be even better, they say, if just 6000 more viewers tuned in. Quite.

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Is the haka too violent for children? Can you call God the "big boss" or the "big guy" on Close Up? Can John Banks get away with calling Maori Television "racist", "money-guzzling" and a form of "apartheid"? The answers are, in order, no, yes and yes. The latest round of Broadcasting Standards Authority decisions issued no fines and broadly declined to uphold complaints.

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In other complaints news, you just can't buy the kind of publicity generated by the Hell Pizza condom drop to 170,000 homes. This became the country's most complained-about ad campaign, having in excess of 600 moans, some from people who had not even received the prophylactic post-out. Not since the great line-dancing dust-up of '97 have there been so many (that was when a measly 500 people complained that an Open Polytechnic ad was being mean to dancing country folk). Hell has had complaints upheld by the authority before; in November, it was the "Kids are evil" campaign, although a complaint about its website was not upheld in October. It's fair to say that condoms are a, er, hard sell. A complaint about a Durex poster campaign in Royal Oak, Auckland, was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority in July.

Email: mediacolumnist@listener.co.nz