HD Heads-Up: July 1

The Strain returns shorter, sharper … Outcast ousted … Buckle up for a bumpy ride on Haunted Highway … The Block rules MKR on Sundays …


Sky’s The Zone will premiere season three of The Strain the same day as FX in the US. It will screen 9.30 Mondays from August 29. There’s good news and bad about the latest season, depending on how you viewed the first two. Entertainment Weekly reckons it’s “actually a good thing! According to Executive Producer Carlton Cuse, season 3 will only be 10 episodes long. This should let them cut excess filler (thank the TV gods), and keep the story intense. The slow plot progression has been a concern of fans for a while, so get ready for a fast-paced, wild season 3″ …

Also new to The Zone next month will be Haunted Highway (8.30 Mondays from August 29). It’s surprising that a four-year-old Syfy reality spin on the “found footage” genre should be awarded such a plum slot given it ran for only two seasons and is fronted by The Osbournes’ Jack Osbourne. He teams with “researcher” Dana Workman to explore America’s spooky backroads. MediaLife magazine said fortunately the series doesn’t take itself seriously. “Viewers who haven’t had their fill of night-vision footage and thermal imaging in other paranormal-investigations shows will be diverted if not engrossed” …

There will be hell to pay when fans of SoHo’s exorcism drama, Outcast, realise Monday’s episode is being pre-empted. Because July 4 is a holiday in the US, Outcast will be on “hiatus”. Screening instead at 9.30 will be HBO’s acclaimed Lyndon Johnson drama, All the Way, starring Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as the US President …

Prime will air live coverage of the UEFA Euro 2016 quarter-final between France and Iceland from 7am Monday …

MediaWorks reports The Block NZ: Girls vs Boys continues to rate strongly, with this season reaching a larger audience every week than the previous season among all Kiwis (5+), and the network’s target demographic of viewers aged 25-54. Sunday’s edition once again out-rated TV2’s My Kitchen Rules in the key 25-54 and 18-49 demos (MKR reverts to weeknights after this Sunday’s broadcast because TV2 is double-billing movies over the next couple of weeks) …

The Block’s online numbers are also climbing. Season five’s growth is up 30%  in video on-demand and up 32% in live-streaming from last season while short form extra content is up 96% …

Despite new Wednesday dramas on TV One and TV3, TV2 continues to be the top-rated network in the key demos, winning the 18-49 and 25-54 races six weeks in a row with Shortland Street, My Kitchen RulesThe Big Bang Theory2 Broke Girls and Containment. TV2’s winning streak continues on Tuesdays, too, having won the night seven weeks in a row (this week’s Quantico rated a 6.6, which was up 38% week on week) …

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