Networks Announce New Deals

Prime has picked up the new-look Top Gear after MediaWorks says it opted not to relicense the BBC series.

It’s one of a raft of BBC newcomers that both broadcasters announced today, with other highlights including TV3’s David Attenborough coup The Hunt and Prime’s dramas The Coroner and Unforgotten.

“Prime has been the ‘spiritual home’ of Top Gear for many years and it’s terrific to have the brand new series back on Prime,” acquisitions head Lisa Clements said in a statement.

“As the series moves into a fresh new era led by self-proclaimed car nut Chris Evans, we look forward to introducing Kiwis to the new look for this multi-award winning much loved show where cars are just the starting point for having fun.”

The Coroner stars Clair Goose (Waking the Dead, The Bill) as a high-flying solicitor Jane Kennedy who returns to work as the coroner in her coastal home town, where old flame (Casualty’s Matt Bardock) is now the local detective sergeant.

Unforgotten is a whodunit starring Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Kumars) while Prime’s also picked up the free-to-air rights to Father Brown, a BBC daytime drama starring Mark Williams as a crime-solving priest in a 1950s Cotswold village.

Broadcast details weren’t announced but hopefully Prime will have switched to HD by the time they go to air (BBC2 will premiere Top Gear on May 8).

Meanwhile, MediaWorks says its “successful relationship” with BBC Worldwide has snared it The Hunt, a “landmark” seven-part series narrated by David Attenborough about the strategies of predators.

MediaWorks also has acquired the BBC John Le Carre adaptation, The Night Manager, through distributor IMG Media, and the Channel Seven series, Beach Cops, a reality newcomer about the policing of Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Other Oz acquisitions include Mary: The Making of a Princess, from Channel Ten and Fremantle, which dramatises how Mary Donaldson, “the Aussie girl from Tasmania,” became a princess (Kiwi Ryan O’Kane plays Prince Frederik); and Brock, a two-part miniseries about Australia’s most famous racing car driver.

MediaWorks also has officially confirmed the return of Farmer Wants a WifeHumansMarried at First Sight Australia, Lip Sync BattleThe Bachelor New Zealand, The Block New ZealandWestsideGrand Designs New ZealandLost and Found7 DaysJono and Ben and Funny Girls.

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4 Responses to “Networks Announce New Deals”

  1. So same old, same old for MediaWorks. Not much to get excited about apart from The Hunt. What about MediaWorks non HD Sister channel FOUR? Or is this the beginning of the end for FOUR? Good on Prime for reacquiring Top Gear and not surprised MW has let it go. Fingers crossed the HD switch is pushed well before the Olympics.

  2. Pity that Top Gear is going to be in SD again. About time for Prime to upgrade to HD.

  3. At the upfronts in November last year it was announced that Prime would go HD in the first quarter of 2016. Probably something to do with the Rio Olympics. No indication whether it was just Sky subscribers or also Freeview.

  4. Thanks, Mike. The switchover depends on when Prime physically moves its operation from Albany to Sky’s HQ in Mt Wellington.

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