Maori Television, acclaimed for their documentaries and delving into the nation's heart, took a step in the popular culture direction last night with the launch of their new show, PLAY.
A commentary show about sport, PLAY is hosted by former Good Morning star Brendon Pongia and Stan Walker's gorgeous girlfriend, Louise Tyson.
Premiering this Monday night at 8.30pm, PLAY will see Pongia and Tyson lead a team of athletes and celebrity panellists as they talk about the highs and lows of the week in sport. Fast banter, witty commentary and sharp barbs aplenty are promised.
Panellists include Silver Fern queens of the court, Cat Latu and Kayla Cullen, Blues player Bryn Hall and more sporting greats, with regular guest spots from All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder and Warriors star Issac Luke.
Pongia is excited about his return to TV.
"I love live TV. As slick as it looks, so many things can go wrong, which makes it all that more exciting. I thrive in that environment. I'm a cheeky kind of guy so as the anchor, I'll be pushing boundaries and a lot of it will be off the cuff and thinking quickly on my feet."
Although he admits there are also a few nerves.
"There always are, but it's a bit like when I played basketball. I'd be nervous on game day but as soon as I walked into the stadium I was calm and ready. It will be the same Monday night when I walk on set."
Tyson agrees, saying she can't wait to start filming.
"To host a big show like PLAY has been a goal of mine for a few years now. I'm stoked and feeling privileged to be given the opportunity to work with our incredible team and to co-host with Brendon," she says.
"It's live and there is no hiding, so you will get a lot of laughing and personality out of me. During the audition period I was nearly peeing myself with laughter, it was so much fun."
It's the first time working together for the hosts but already they've struck up a fast friendship, with Pongia promising to look out for Tyson.
"I've told Lou, no matter what, I will look after her," he says.
"I'm lucky enough to have a lot of experience in TV but her trust in me will only grow as the show goes on. And I can already tell she’ll be helping me out at times too."