TVNZ’s Breakfast show has had a facelift for the start of 2022. John Campbell (right) is pictured with presenters Matt McLean, Jenny-May Clarkson and Indira Stewart.
Former Al Jazeera news anchor Kamahl Santamaria is supposed to return to New Zealand to join TVNZ Breakfast team amid growing speculation that co-host John Campbell is leaving the morning program.
Thing was told by multiple sources that the Auckland-born journalist was returning to New Zealand to pursue his career in broadcasting, with insiders from TVNZ and Al Jazeera saying they had been told he would be joining the Breakfast team to replace current co-host John Campbell.
TVNZ insists, however, that it has no line-up changes to announce.
“Breakfast returned earlier this year with John, Jenny-May, Matty and Indira – we have no line-up changes to announce,” a spokesperson said.
Sources said Thing than Campbell, who previously hosted Seven Sharp and Campbell Live, is lined up for a traveling reporter role, similar to that filled by high-profile journalist Patrick Gower at rival TVNZ Newshub, whose special investigations Gower on the weeds and gower on hate were a huge ratings success.
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News manager Paul Yurisich said on Friday: “We started the year with the team you see – Jenny-May, John, Matty (McLean) and Indira (Stewart) and that’s who’s on the line. antenna right now.”
Asked if that roster will change anytime soon, Yurisich – who previously worked at Al Jazeera alongside Santamaria – added: “As I said, this is the team right now. It’s the team.”
Santamaria, who began his career as a sports journalist at Newshub under his former banner 3 News, announced on air this week that he was leaving Al Jazeera after 16 years, as he finished his last newscast with the Qatar-based network.
Kamahl’s sister, Alexia Santamaria, said she could not say if her brother was returning to New Zealand. Campbell could not be reached and did not respond to voicemails and text messages seeking comment.
Kamahl Santamaria has over two decades of journalism experience in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He joined Al Jazeera in 2005 and has presented newscasts and hosted several news and economics shows.
In 2018 he was nominated for an International News Emmy Award. Santamaria also covered the last four US presidential elections and anchored Al Jazeera’s coverage of Joe Biden’s 2021 US presidential inauguration live from Washington DC.
He began his career with Three in 1998, before moving in 2002 to join Sky News Australia where he spent three years.
Santamaria has been contacted for comment.