TVNZ go big on reality TV in 2018

Be watching for big local event television, a doubling down on TVNZ’s commitment to new audiences and a quadrupling of its OnDemand offering, says TVNZ announcing its content plans for the year ahead.

“Every day over two million New Zealanders choose to watch TVNZ content – it’s what drives us,” says Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick.

Size matters. “To be a sustainable player in this business we need to reach a critical mass of New Zealanders,” he says. “We believe that people will always need to be informed about what’s happening in their world and will always want to be entertained. The great thing for consumers is there’s never been more content available or more devices and platforms to view it on. It’s sharpened our focus for the year ahead so we continue to deliver the moments that matter to New Zealanders.”

TVNZ’s three key priorities for the year ahead are investing in local content, new viewers and OnDemand, he says.

“We know viewers want to see the best of global and local content and we’ll continue to offer the best of both but with a stronger emphasis on unique local content that we know viewers love to watch.

“We’re doubling down on our commitment to attract new audiences. This time last year we talked about our New Blood initiatives, geared towards non-traditional TV viewers. We’re placing a big bet on Re:, our socially driven news voice, and will continue to foster new talent and innovative short-form multimedia content made available where viewers choose to watch.”

TVNZ will accelerate its online development to expand the content offering and enhance the digital viewing experience, he says. “We’ll be quadrupling our OnDemand content offering and enhancing the user experience with features like content recommendations, auto play and enhanced search functionality,” he says.

A lot of great content is coming to a screen near you, Director of Content Cate Slater says: “Local is at the heart of TVNZ’s offering. Viewers can expect bold, new local content including Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s new comedy Paranormal Unit, and new series Project Runway NZ, which will celebrate our world-class fashion designers and unearth a new sartorial star. TVNZ will be the first to bring rebooted fantasy series The Legend of Monkey to New Zealand audiences. Plus, there’s Heartbreak Island, where 20 Kiwi singles will battle it out for a partner and a $100,000 prize.”

These are joined by new factual series Cold Case, which looks at New Zealand’s most intriguing unsolved crimes, deeply personal stories about extraordinary Kiwis in I Am; and Nigel Latta’s new series, The Curious Mind.

Returning local favourites include Shortland Street, Country Calendar, Survivor NZ, My Kitchen Rules NZ, First Dates NZ, The Big Ward, Karena and Kasey’s Kitchen Diplomacy, Coast New Zealand, another season of Sunday Theatre and Police Ten 7.

There’s also a raft of new initiatives hitting our screens. “Our New Blood content initiatives are attracting new viewers and supporting local up-and-coming producers, directors, writers, filmmakers, comedians and actors,” Slater says.

“Auckland-based filmmakers Ashleigh Reid and Isla Macleod won TVNZ’s inaugural New Blood Web Series Competition with their pilot, Oddly Even. They’ll receive $100,000 from TVNZ and NZ On Air to create a full series that will screen on TVNZ OnDemand.”

TVNZ is also launching an ad-free, safe online environment to host children’s multi-media content with NZ On Air in 2018. “The continued support of NZ On Air and the local production community helps us get a lot of amazing and diverse local content out to over two million New Zealanders a day.

“News and current affairs remains the cornerstone of TVNZ 1’s content offering,” Slater continues. “The agenda-setting 1 NEWS team is New Zealand’s most watched news with nearly 1 million Kiwis tuning in to watch daily.

“TVNZ is excited to deliver coverage of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. New Zealanders love live sport and we’re preparing to bring viewers the most extensive free to air coverage of a Commonwealth Games in New Zealand history,” she says.

TVNZ will complement its local content offering with the best in international content from the world’s biggest studios.

“One series I’m particularly excited about is the big, beautifully filmed drama about a British army unit fighting a Yemeni insurgency in the Middle East in the ‘60s, The Last Post. It will be exclusive to OnDemand,” says Slater.

“Across both our on air and online platforms, we’ll be showing the new Will & Grace, Young Sheldon (which shows us Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory’s childhood in Texas) and Reverie, a new virtual reality thriller. As well as our swathe of OnDemand exclusives, we’re now buying extended online rights to the full series that we have on air. Rather than people getting the traditional 30 days to catch up on their favourite broadcast show, they’ll have access to the entire broadcast of the series and in many cases much longer. Online is a big part of our future. Four times more content will be made available to viewers OnDemand and we’ve added an additional 400 hours of content this month alone.”


Hosking and Hilary TVNZ’s pick for election night

As New Zealand prepares to head to the ballot box on 23 September, the 1 NEWS Vote 17 team will present comprehensive coverage of this year’s General Election.

The special line-up will draw on the breadth and resources of the country’s most trusted news team, says John Gillespie, TVNZ’s Head of News and Current Affairs.

“It’s shaping up to be a very exciting election. Already 1 NEWS’ agenda setting journalism has led the way in Election build up, and Election night we’ll lead the way again. We’ve got a strong mix of content and people across our platforms to scrutinise the issues and inform New Zealanders.

“I’m pleased to say Vote Compass is making a return, which was hugely popular last election. It shows people where they stand in relation to the political parties’ policies,” he says.

Mike Hosking will moderate the three televised leaders debates on TVNZ 1 and Jack Tame will host the live streamed young voters debate in the lead up to polling day. The debates will be live streamed on 1 NEWS NOW, Facebook and YouTube and simulcast on Newstalk ZB.

1 NEWS Vote 17 Election Night Special: 23 September from 7pm on TVNZ 1 &
The Election night special will be fronted by Seven Sharp’s Mike Hosking with Breakfast’s Hilary Barry, 1 NEWS at Six’s Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie, 1 NEWS political editor Corin Dann and Sunday’s Jehan Casinader. The team will go live to reporters and party bases across the country and present authoritative coverage and insightful analysis of the results as they come in.

“New state of the art graphics and studio tech will take viewers closer to Election developments,” says John Gillespie. “Excitingly, Election night will give viewers their first look at 1 NEWS’ new augmented reality studio set up – it will enhance our visual storytelling and dynamically bring the election results to life.”


Filthy Rich cast announced


Miriama Smith will lead an incredible cast in TV2’s fierce new multi-night drama, Filthy Rich, which began filming this week.

Created by top award-winning Kiwi writers, Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan (Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls, Nothing Trivial), Filthy Rich is a sexy drama series centred on three illegitimate children who discover they each have a claim to the fortune of one of New Zealand’s wealthiest men – John Truebridge.

When he dies, these unwanted, unexpected heirs stand to share in his legacy – but not if his legitimate family has anything to do with it!

Miriama Smith (Siege, Legend of the Seeker) plays Brady, the ambitious, younger second wife of John Snr who thought she’d inherit it all – or at least share in the spoils of a legacy with her step-son, John Jnr – played by Josh McKenzie (Shortland Street, Power Rangers).

But secrets are revealed, alliances forged and suddenly there are three cuckoos in the nest – with no intention of leaving soon.

Alex Tarrant (When We Go To War) plays athletic Joe, who is shocked to find he’s from somewhere else entirely and his whole life has been a lie.

Newcomers Taylor Hall and Emma Fenton play easy-going but secretive Vader and wily, beautiful Savannah respectively.

Also joining the cast are Elizabeth Hawthorne (Outrageous Fortune) as John Snr’s eccentric sister Nancy, Jodie Rimmer (In My Father’s Den) as Lorna, Mike Edward (Spartacus) as Fisher, and Erroll Shand (Underbelly) as Karl.

Filthy Rich is from Filthy Productions, and is produced by Steven Zanoski (Shortland Street).

“I’m delighted with this incredible cast and crew, who joined us a lot earlier than most productions to collaborate on a unique look and feel for the show. It’s been a dynamic process, now paying off as we film our first episodes,” says Zanoski.

TVNZ’s Head of Content, Jeff Latch adds, “Filthy Productions and everyone involved have done a fantastic job in making Filthy Rich an addictive, top quality, bold new series. We cannot wait to bring this show to TV2 viewers.”

Filthy Rich will air at a date to be set.

Photo: John Jnr (Josh McKenzie), Savannah (Emma Fenton), Brady (Miriama Smith), Vader (Taylor Hall) and Joe (Alex Tarrant).

Trading Places: Sussan Turner appointed to TVNZ board

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams today announced the appointment of Sussan Turner as a Director of TVNZ and the elevation of Therese Walsh to Deputy Chair.

“As a former Group CEO of Mediaworks, Ms Turner has extensive television and media knowledge and experience and will bring real depth and substance to the role,” says Ms Adams.

sussanturner“Ms Walsh has been a Director of TVNZ since 2012 and has made a considerable contribution since her appointment. She will provide strong leadership support to the board in her new position as Deputy Chair.

“Together these women bring a breadth of experience and talent to TVNZ and I wish them well as they settle into their new roles.”

Both women have been appointed three-year terms. The TVNZ Board will now have a majority of women members.

The Minister also announced the reappointment of Gary Monk to the Board of Radio New Zealand for a term of six months.

“Mr Monk has been a Director of Radio New Zealand since 2009 and continues to make a good contribution to the board,” says Ms Adams.


Say goodbye to Eating Media Lunch and Cover Story re-runs – It’s the end for TVNZ Heartland

TVNZ Heartland, currently broadcast on Sky Channel 017, will finish up on May 31.

The agreement between TVNZ and SKY for the provision of Heartland is not being renewed.

TVNZ Head of Content Jeff Latch says Heartland has had a great run with some fantastic shows.

“We had Kiwi Gold hosted by Penny Ashton which looked at some of the best moments in NZ broadcasting history and we won’t easily forget original shows like I Was There and There and Back.

Heartland will celebrate its time on air with viewers being given the chance to vote for their top ten programmes which will be played out across the final weekend.

Here’s its launch:

Sunday returns to a full hour with an investigation in to Gloriavale


This week Sunday returns to an hour timeslot, with a revealing investigation into the secret world of Gloriavale – an isolated religious community on the South Island’s west coast.

Two families who have recently fled Gloriavale speak candidly about their experience.

The outside world, they were told, was full of evil but what they found shocked them.

One young couple speak about how they were forced to get married, and express their concerns for the well-being of the remaining residents.

More and more families are defying the leaders of the Gloriavale community and choosing to leave.

Find out more this Sunday night

Susan Wood’s family ask for privacy

Alex and Matt, the sons of Susan Wood have issued a statement asking for privacy after it was revealed Wood had recently been in hospital with a serious head injury.

In response to interest shown by the news media, we can confirm that our mother, Susan Wood, is recovering after an accident, and is now in rehabilitation after being discharged from Auckland Hospital. She was taken to Auckland Hospital on the evening of Friday, 10 January 2015, after falling at home and suffering a head injury.

We thank all involved in her care at Auckland Hospital for their dedication, their expertise and their humanity. Their treatment of our mother was outstanding. We also appreciate the concern
and goodwill shown by others.

We do not plan at this stage to make further comment and ask for privacy at this time.

Statement by Alex and Matt (Susan’s sons).