Hey, Hey It's Andy Shaw

Posted on 18 January 2009

TV executive Andrew Shaw talks candidly to NZ On Screen about more than three decades of experiences in the New Zealand TV industry, from being a teen heartthrob to sitting on top of the heap as network commissioner. Shaw reflects on:
  • early days as a presenter, “fluking” a screentest to get the Hey, Hey, It’s Andy gig
  • his anticipation of his “expiry date” and the deal he brokered to train as a multi-camera live broadcast director; working on shows from Billy T James’ Radio Times to punk music docos, to returning to being in front of the camera to host disco show Star Zone.
  • his sabbaticals from TVNZ, working for South Pacific Pictures (where he was charged with broadening their slate from drama and film; he introduced the Idol franchise to NZ TV), working as the founding commissioner for Prime TV, and helping launch the Documentary Channel with Richard Driver
  • his passionate belief in the resilience and importance of network TV as a "gathering place" in the age of the internet
  • his return to TVNZ and the challenge of balancing "god and mammon”  - commercial and public service - that TVNZ has to manage
  • “the privilege” of working for the public broadcaster, citing the Edmund Hillary Westminster Abbey memorial service as an example of something he wouldn’t get the opportunity to do elsewhere
  • criticism about programming arts docos at 10.30pm at night. Shaw's response: "stay awake!"
This interview is available for download and distribution on YouTube. Credits: Direction and Interview - Clare O'Leary, Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann


commissioner, Andrew Shaw, TVNZ, documentary channel, Star Zone


by Andreas on 03 February 2009 at 2:25 pm

I found this interview very sad from an independent televison producer’s point of view. And from a viewer’s point of view! \n \nFrom what I can gather, Andrew is saying that TVNZ’s future lies with the “big shows/formats” … by which I presume he means Idol, Dancing With The Stars, Shortland Street, and whatever the next multi-million-dollar drama he will get his mates at SPP to produce. \n \nWhile I agree that is what much of middle-New Zealand WILL watch … these formats do nothing (or at least very little) to promote and celebrate New Zealand’s unique culture, artists, and comedy … which New Zealand MAY watch if they were given half a chance. \n \nEssentially, TVNZ has given up on and coming talent and producers … and are happy to rely on the tried and true. Or should that be TIRED and true. \n \nWhere will our next Billy T. James or John Clarke come from? He won’t come, because there is no space for him on the TVNZ schedule. Ask Jermaine Clements, Brett McKenzie … and every other emerging artist that has ever tried to get a shot at a show on TVNZ! \n \nNo offense to Andrew personally, but I think TVNZ (and New Zealand) desperately needs to move away from his kind of thinking. \n \nP.S. “Interrogation” was crap. Everyone knows it.

by Darren on 08 February 2009 at 10:19 pm

the problem with the “big shows/formats” at the moment is they are so disposable - a few clips on Youtube in 5 years time might be worth a giggle but will anyone want to see the whole thing again, or have any loyalty to the "creative" teams behind them? \n \nIf they invested in a few shows that did a bit more networks could have had some loyal viewers to help them in the coming financially difficult times... or at least some DVD box sets/downloads that might bring in some cash.

by Jim on 07 September 2010 at 8:00 pm

OMG - is this guy seriously paid money out of my taxes?!? His comments show he fundamentally FAILS to understand the internet and has massive contempt for the audience: \n \n1) The internet is about community, sharing and gathering. It's about communication and participating. MMOG's, YouTube, Social Network Media, Blogs, even this page right here that I'm commenting on is about connecting and communicating. I totally refute this guys statement that the internet is about isolation. He also says nothing about the internet as a distribution medium. You can have as many niche shows as you like with the net; the delivery method is efficient and totally scalable; it doesn't cost anything extra to make additional shows available. You don't need to have "large audiences" - the Argentinean opera will have other people across the world who also found it great. \n \n2) "I don't go to bed at 10:30"; don't care about your bed time mate but most working kiwi's will be looking to bed about this time. 9:30 is bed time for me as I get up at 5:30 to make it through Auckland traffic. What a clown "come on, stay awake" - this is the amount of respect he has for his audience. \n \nTo sum up: someone needs to get this dinosaur the hell out of our state broadcaster and get a decent leader who can steer the ship through the next 10 years of social and technological change.

by Suliasi on 23 September 2010 at 8:13 am

Jim, what do you do? Probly fuck all so shut the hell up

by Hayden Lee on 03 October 2010 at 5:17 pm

Agree with comment above.

by Laura Joy on 03 May 2011 at 5:15 pm

Hey Guys \n \nAndrew Shaw flew down to lecture my class today. \nHe is a top guy so very funny and learnt a lot. \nHe is General Manager of TVNZ, his job is to decide what goes makes our television and what doesn't he is involved in bidding for a purchasing television shows. \nIf you like it or not the New Zealand government has deregulted broadcasting in this country and has let sky television crash into a small tv market, making it very hard for our TV stations to survive. \nAndrew has no choice but to put on commercial shows that are going to have a guaranteed audience. \nYes in a perfect world New Zealand shows would be prime time spots on every channel and TVNZ6 and 7 would be thriving but in reality New Zealanders simply don't watch enough of their own New Zealand content to make it profitable and the government it rapping up our public service broasdcasting funding. So if your going to blame anyone blame yourself or the governmernt. Not Andrew he's simply giving us what we want, mindless entertaining shows to waste our nights away on.

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