Andrew Shaw began his television career in the late 70s, as a children's television host. After time as a producer and director, he now works as Head of Commissioning, Production and Acquisitions at Television New Zealand.
Son of Herald TV critic Barry Shaw, he was stuck in a factory job when alerted to a newspaper advertisement for a children's presenter. "No one was more surprised than me to get a screen test." At the age of 18, Shaw got the job. "I had one rehearsal, was shown the studio, and there I was - producer, director, front man ... you name it, I was it." After making his debut on TV2 presents Andy, Shaw was soon working six days a week, hosting each afternoon's programming. The slot soon changed its name to Here's Andy, and later Hey Hey It's Andy. By 1978 he and the show were receiving 2000 pieces of mail per week.
Increasingly aware (as was fellow children's host Stu Dennison, on the other channel) that presenting shows for a young audience inevitably came with an expiry date, Shaw soon made a deal with the television powers that be: he would continue to present certain shows (including the disco-themed Star Zone) in exchange for training to become a multi-camera director. Training meant periods in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Shaw began working his way up the ladder to become a director and producer at Television New Zealand, working on shows ranging from comedy, ballet, to nostalgia (Radio Times) and country music. On the popular music front, he was directing episodes of Drop a Kulcha and making iconic videos for both DD Smash and The Clean. He also directed the musical drama Kiwi Concert Party, and worked on both sides of the camera for Telethon.
In 1996 Shaw became Head of Programming for both TVNZ channels. The following year the job expanded to include acquiring programmes from overseas.
In 2001 he left TVNZ to become Chief Operating Officer at production company South Pacific Pictures. Keen to broaden SPP's range of programming, Shaw helped ink a deal with multi-national FremantleMedia, enabling SPP to produce a local version of the hit show American Idol. Shaw was executive producer of the show, and confirmed his reputation as one of the ‘go to' people for directing multi-camera live broadcast shooting in New Zealand. The finale episodes of Idol were high pressure, high rating extravaganzas.
Shaw went on to work as a programming and commissioning executive at fledgling network Prime. In the process he made changes to the channel's schedule, and upped the percentage of local content. "It was good in two years to get some documentaries made, order up a film, and get a 13-part drama (police show Interrogation) produced, which won an award," said Shaw. "It was a good experience."
Even when Shaw left the job and took some time off, it was hard to keep him away from broadcasting — as well as doing some radio, he worked behind the scenes on Mitre 10 Dream Home and Phil Keoghan's No Opportunity Wasted as an executive producer; and joined Richard Driver to successfully launch Sky TV's Documentary Channel.
Later Shaw returned to Television New Zealand, where he works as General Manager of Commissioning, Production and Acquisitions. In 2010, he made an appearance on the other side of the camera with From the Archives: Five Decades, a show on pay channel TVNZ Heartland. Each episode saw Shaw interviewing a key figure from a particular decade of Kiwi television history, alongside classic TV footage from the past.
'Hey Hey It's Andy Shaw' (Video Interview), NZ On Screen Website. Director Clare O'Leary. Loaded 18 January 2009. Accesed 13 January 2012
Audrey Gordon, 'No work for TV's Andy Shaw' (Interview) - The New Zealand Woman's Weekly, 20 February 1978, page 9
Breakfast - 50 Years of TV with Andrew Shaw (Television Programme) TVNZ website. Loaded 24 December 2011