NZ On Air Shells Out Big Time for Big-Gun WWI Drama

NZ On Air has committed more than $12 million to two new HD drama series for TVNZ.

Today’s announcement follows Monday’s news that the agency would pump another $2.43 million into TV One’s HD comedy, Agent Anna, along with $770,000 for another 26 episodes of TV3’s 7Days and nearly $1.2 million for 26 new half-hours of its Friday night stablemate, Jono and Ben at Ten.

The drama funding follows speculation that the “golden age” of NZ drama may be fading and ratings so poor for the latest series of Go Girls and The Almighty Johnsons that neither is likely to be renewed — even though the latter has become “the first wholly New Zealand originated and produced drama series to be broadcast in the United States”.

The new dramas are When We Go to War ($6.621 million) and Step-Dave ($5.92 million).

The former is a six-hour series that will chronicle life on both the battlefront and home front.

Robin Scholes (Mr Pip) is producing the Rachel Lang-Gavin Strawhan script for Jump and Film Television; Peter Burger (Harry, Billy) will direct.

NZOA says When We Go to War will “form a significant part” of the agency’s contribution to the centennial commemorations of World War I.

South Pacific Pictures’ Step-Dave concerns a 24-year-old slacker whose life is turned upside down when he meets the girl of his dreams – and her three kids.

Writer Kate McDermott’s credits include The Blue Rose, Go Girls and Nothing Trivial.

Meanwhile, NZOA has released this list of the highest-rating agency-funded programmes for the week ending August 14:

# Title Timeslot Channel Average Audience
age 5+
1 Hyundai Country Calendar 7.00pm Saturday TVONE* 608,404
2 Coasters 7.30pm Saturday TVONE* 464,659
3 Descent from Disaster 9.30pm Tuesday TVONE* 346,810
4 First Crossings 8.30pm Tuesday TVONE* 312,706
5 3rd Degree Presents The Vote 8.30pm Wednesday TV3* 205,096
6 Best Bits 9.00pm Friday TVONE* 170,932
7 The Almighty Johnsons 8.30pm Thursday TV3* 153,992
8 Super City II 10.00pm Friday TV3* 122,793
9 The Animal Files 8.30pm Thursday PRIME 118,087
10 Auckland Daze (R) 10.05pm Thursday TVONE* 113,517
11 The Erin Simpson Show 4.30pm Weekdays TV2 104,495
12 First Crossings (R) 4.00pm Saturday TVONE* 97,796
13 Outrageous Fortune (R) 10.30pm Saturday TV3* 88,000
14 Neighbourhood 9.30pm Sunday TVONE* 84,502
15 What Now 7.00pm Sunday TV2 81,149
16 Girl vs Boy 6.00pm Sunday TV2 65,363
17 Tagata Pasifika 11.05pm Thursday TVONE* 45,841
18 Totes Maori 10.00am Saturday TV2 44,844
19 Attitude (R) 12.05am Wednesday TVONE* 38,934
20 Sticky TV Omnibus 9.55am Sunday FOUR 34,715

 *includes plus one channel

Figures do not include delayed (timeshifted) viewing

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2 Responses to “NZ On Air Shells Out Big Time for Big-Gun WWI Drama”

  1. Why is the taxpayer paying for so much of these listed programs? I thought that’s what advertising was for.

  2. Agreed! NZ on Air shouldn’t be funding commercial TV drivel! The money saved should go towards a commercial-free National Radio with pictures, in HD of course!

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