HD Heads-Up: September 26 – October 2

TV1 becomes an “express from the US” player with its new Las Vegas drama.

The series premieres of Heroes Reborn, The Player and Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris will spearhead an unprecedented slate of “express from the US” series on free-to-air TV in HD.

Their launch in the last week of September signals an exceptionally competitive fourth quarter that includes The Block NZ: Villa Wars, My Kitchen Rules NZ and the latest seasons of Empire, The Big Bang Theory, CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationThe Flash, Arrow, The Walking Dead and The Blacklist.

For the first time, all the HD networks will screen weeknights instalments of series that aired only a few hours or days earlier in the US.

For years TVNZ and MediaWorks have resisted emulating Australian networks and doing this. But the rise of social media, new digital competitors (Lightbox, Netflix) and original Sky channels (SoHo, The Zone) have created the perfect storm of necessity.

Their aggressive programming is a boon for viewers, as series that once would have been held back until the new year will now air within a week or so of their US fall season debuts.

TV3 will launch Heroes Reborn (8.30 Monday), off the back of MasterChef NZ’s final, and season 16 the series final of CSI (8.30 Thursday) as two-hour premieres specials while TV2 will use the countdown to the final of Reno Rumble to resume Tuesday hit Empire on September 29.

However, season two will screen in a later, 9.35 slot, which is where TV1 will relocate Battle Creek to make room at 8.30 for its own fast-tracked US drama, The Player, which stars Wesley Snipes and Strike Back’s Philip Winchester as Las Vegas troubleshooters.

Tuesday also is when TV3 will premiere The Block NZ: Villa Wars, which it will strip Sunday-Wednesday, pushing back the Wednesday airing of The X Factor UK to 8.30, opposite hot-off-the-satellite eps of TBBT.

This will give The Block a head start on TV2’s stripped My Kitchen Rules NZ but at a cost: it will have to try to gain traction opposite the last days of Reno Rumble.

Tuesday is where you can expect TV3 to schedule season three of The Blacklist after Humans ends its run on September 29 ahead of the 9.30 premiere of 7 Days spin-off, 7 Days of Sport.

TV2 will use Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris to challenge the supremacy of TV3’s The Graham Norton Show.

It will give the variety hour the strongest possible start by preceding its 8.30 Friday launch with the YouTube clips special, Dogs Make You Laugh Out Loud, while newcomer RuPaul’s Drag Race will follow at 9.30.

The drag queen contest will screen opposite TV3’s tribute special, Ewen Gilmour: Westie Legend.

Other HD highlights for the week starting September 26 include the return of The Island With Bear Grylls, for the first time in HD (TV1, 9.35 Wednesday); the 100th episode of Mike & Molly (TV2, 9.30 Wednesday); and finals of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bogans, Neighbours at War and Purina Pound Pups To Dog Stars.

The week’s also notable for TV3 demoting its crime-time Saturday programming for movies, pushing Blue Bloods back to 11pm and Hannibal to midnight; meanwhile, struggling Monday night drama Odyssey shifts to 10.10 Sunday (3D will air 9.30 Mondays from October 5).

TV2 and TV3 will launch their school holiday schedules with the network movie premieres of Epic (TV3, 7.00 Saturday), Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (TV3, 8.00 Sunday) and The Lone Ranger (TV2, 8.30 Sunday). TV3 also will replace The Block: Triple Threat with kids' movies, starting with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise from Wednesday. Other coming attractions in HD include Bridge to Terabithia (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), The Green Hornet (TV2, 8.55 Saturday), Happy Gimore (TV3, 9.05 Saturday), Blitz (TV2, 11.20 Saturday), Shrek (TV2, 6.40 Sunday), Black Swan (TV3, 11.10 Sunday) and Witches: The Darkest Evil (TV2, 12.30am Monday).

TV2 and TV3 will launch their school holiday schedules with the network movie premieres of Epic (TV3, 7.00 Saturday), Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (TV3, 8.00 Sunday) and The Lone Ranger (TV2, 8.30 Sunday). TV3 also will replace The Block: Triple Threat with kids’ movies, starting with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise from Wednesday. Other coming attractions in HD include Bridge to Terabithia (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), The Green Hornet (TV2, 8.55 Saturday), Happy Gimore (TV3, 9.05 Saturday), Blitz (TV2, 11.20 Saturday), Shrek (TV2, 6.40 Sunday), Black Swan (TV3, 11.10 Sunday) and Witches: The Darkest Evil (TV2, 12.30am Monday).

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8 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: September 26 – October 2”

  1. YAY, Heroes Reborn, I really enjoyed the prequel Dark Matter on 3NOW … looks like a winner 🙂

  2. Well, Trevor, I really think on TV2 we have something bigger than that: Rush Hour is more the Heroes Reborn and we’ll see who will win that night

  3. I have just ordered the To Sir, With Love Blu-ray, hope it includes the same extras the USA got on theirs 🙂 My money is on Heroes Reborn, Patrick 😉

  4. Bad news, Trevor — TSWL is movie-only. The US release was done as a limited edition by a specialist distributor.

  5. I had a feeling that would be the case Philip but still it will be good to have it on Blu-ray 🙂

  6. CSI isn’t a season premiere, it’s the final ever episode (a feature-length finale). It’s also being fast-tracked. I imagine TV3 will use some of the returning characters from seasons gone by in promos leading up to it. I remember it was the key cog (plus spinoffs) in their line-up in the mid 2000s. Going off on a tangent, but it led the switch away from Sunday night movies partnered with Criminal Intent.

  7. D’oh!!! Thanks, Clint. Appreciate the correction and the reminder that it was once a lynchpin of TV3’s schedule — and remains a series that’s continued to perform long after the spin-offs and knock-offs faltered.

  8. With TV2’s new season launch of shows such as Rush Hour/ Quantico/Legends of Tomorrow, Trevor, compare those to Heroes.

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