John Campbell’s self-deprecating quip that had the Breakfast team (and us) in stitches

Give the man some time to eat his muesli!
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He’s one of New Zealand’s most respected journalists, and this morning John Campbell endeared himself to the public even more when he poked fun at his departure from TV3.

Campbell has just completed his first week on the TVNZ Breakfast desk, replacing Jack Tame who had co-hosted the show since 2016.

No stranger to live TV, Campbell has had a long and distinguished career, most notably hosting the evening news on Three for seven years before launching his current affairs show Campbell Live in 2005. But 3:30am wake up calls, it seems, are something else.

Yesterday he was noticeably absent from his chair when Daniel Faitaua finished reading the 7am news bulletin. And this morning the same thing happened again. Where was the veteran broadcaster? In the kitchen eating his breakfast. Muesli, for those of you who are curious.

“We don’t get long enough to have some breakfast on this show. It’s ridiculous,” he said when he made his return to the desk.

After joking that he was going to start bringing his muesli in and eat it at the desk, his co-host Hayley Holt suggested “You should throw your weight around and get us catering.”

“Throw my weight around? Yeah. Just like I did at TV3. That went well,” he deadpanned, sending the rest of the cast into fits of laughter.

John was referring to his shock departure from TV3 in 2005 after his current affairs show Campbell Live was controversially axed just after celebrating its 10th anniversary. Despite a public outpouring of support and a petition to keep the show on air, Mediaworks decided pull the pin, replacing it with Jono & Ben in the 7pm timeslot instead.

Campbell was offered another co-presenting role but decided to leave the network. After a long hiatus he returned to television in June last year, joining TVNZ in a wide-reaching role as a roving reporter and presenter.

“After 20 years of sitting in a studio five nights a week, I’m really excited by the prospect of spending more time in the field.” he said. “I love getting out, meeting people and sharing their stories. I can’t wait to get to work,” he said at the time.

In a surprise move, his co-hosting role on Breakfast was only announced a week an a half before his debut. Early indications suggest it was a good move for TVNZ, with the show seeing a lift in ratings this week.

While it will no doubt take some time for his body clock to adjust, John can find comfort in the fact that he’s not the only one who has struggled with the early morning starts. His co-host Hayley Holt was an hour late for her first day on the job after sleeping in.

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