I don’t like to brag, but when the nominees for the Woman’s Day TV Personality of the Year were revealed last month, I immediately – and, as it turns out, accurately – predicted the winner.
TVNZ star Matty McLean was last night crowned 2019’s TV Personality of the Year during the New Zealand Television Awards and I doubt it came as a surprise to anybody in that auditorium. He was the obvious winner right from the start.
The TV Personality of the Year is the only award of the evening determined by a public vote and the public have loved McLean for a long, long time now.
Aside from a brief stint living in London in 2016, McLean has been on our screens for 12 years and has been a hit with viewers ever since his days as a baby-faced Breakfast reporter doing whatever then-host Paul Henry would tell him to do.
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But viewer popularity aside, 2019 has been a huge year for McLean.
As well as keeping up with his day-to-day duties as Breakfast‘s weather presenter, McLean has been a regular(ish) stand-in on Seven Sharp, effortlessly making the transition from talking about high pressure systems to chatting about the news of the day with Hilary Barry.
2019 was also the year McLean won the heart of the nation with a star turn on Celebrity Treasure Island – and not just because of his iconic “I don’t need to prove myself to Barbara Kendall” line.
On a show full of big personalities, it was McLean’s exit from the series that affected people the most, with his appearance on what’s essentially a big, stupid reality TV exercise somehow translating to much, much more.
Playing for the RainbowYOUTH charity, McLean was a Treasure Island and Survivor super-fan and hence knew all about the kind of tactics and manoeuvrings required to win such a show.
His subsequent frustrations that his fellow teammates couldn’t recognise that and only valued burly physical strength resounded with many, as he eventually tearfully left the show saying, “I’ve just spent so much of my life feeling like I’m not good enough.”
Taking to his Instagram page following that exit, McLean was more philosophical, writing: “Strength comes in so many different forms and as long as you know your own strength, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”
No doubt basking in the glow of his TV Personality of the Year award this morning, McLean might also be reflecting on his own strengths as a broadcaster. Personally, I think it’s all those moments where he seemingly can’t hide exactly what he’s feeling from the nation.
Viewers love it when he gets super excited about major pop culture news, for example. Remember when he once interrupted the Breakfast broadcast to tell everyone Beyonce was pregnant with twins?
They also love it when he gets flustered over the inevitable hiccups that come from being live on air for three hours every morning.
How adorable was his reaction this week when his co-host Hayley Holt accidentally dropped an F-bomb? Or when he inadvertently knocked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with a large door while rushing around the studio on Tuesday?
And viewers especially love it when he goes on air to passionately rebuke rugby player Israel Folau’s hateful views about the gay community.
When McLean left Celebrity Treasure Island this year, he reiterated that “the people that matter to me are the people that see me for who I am. That, believe it or not, means more to me than winning this game.”
New Zealand did see McLean for who he was this year – and judging by his shiny new award, they still very much like it.