NZOA Spends $31M on Kiwi Drama

New Zealand On Air’s drama commissioning bill has topped nearly $31 million for the year with the greenlighting of two more series.

A five-part series based on the life and career of the late criminal lawyer Mike Bungay, Dear Murderer, will be made for TV One, with NZOA contributing $3.945 million to the Screentime NZ production.

The producers say it will draw on the biography of the same title and won’t be just a ‘crime and trial’ piece but “an intimate, personal encounter with one of New Zealand’s great and enduring characters”.

NZOA’s also justified backing a second series of Greenstone Pictures’ The Cul De Sac given “the first series of this quality, dystopian drama has found an appreciative prime time audience” on TV2 ($1.4 million).

Predicts NZOA boss Jane Wrightson of the new commissions: “Audiences will delight in the Dear Murderer story about one of the most flamboyant and outrageous men in New Zealand legal history.

“Stories such as this provide a creative new way to view historical events in New Zealand.

“We are also thrilled to have a successful science-fiction series for a family audience, adding to the diversity of funded drama content.”

This financial year NZOA has invested $30.8m in 46 hours of local drama, including season two of Prime’s The Brokenwood Mysteries, TV One’s yet-to-screen series Dirty Laundry, one-off telefeatures on the life of Jean Batten and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, and the box-office hit Hunt For The Wilderpeople.

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