Planet Earth II for TV3?

Planet Earth II could be one of the new shows TV3 announces for 2017 today at an event that will include its reported plans to replace Story with The Project and switch Duncan Garner to breakfast TV.

MediaWorks says today’s announcement won’t be a new season launch but isn’t commenting on whether it will include a sneak peek of next year’s highlights.

A focus of the event will be radio survey results, which are likely to show MediaWorks in a better light than its TV arm.

Ad agencies have been invited to meet MediaWorks’ new chief executive, ex-Australian radio man Michael Anderson, on Friday night and learn the company’s strategic direction for the next year.

Apparently the MediaWorks board wanted a three-year plan but recent management changes mean only a one-year plan was feasible.

Says one ad industry source: “TV3 has gone deathly quiet, possibly because of the erratic ratings which I’m sure they are having to make good with advertisers resulting in no bonus/filler time available.”

Despite ratings for the latest seasons of House Rules (Australia) and The X Factor Australia collapsing, expect reality to still be the mainstay of primetime next year, from local commissions like The Block and The Bachelor to imports like The Block Australia and Celebrity Apprentice.

Among the scripted newcomers that may screen next year on TV3 are dramas Chicago JusticeMidnight, Texas, Shots Fired and Pitch, and comedies The Good PlaceGreat NewsPure GeniusSpeechless, Making History and Son of Zorn.

Most of these are NBC Universal series that once would have automatically aired on TV3 or the defunct Four. But following MediaWorks’ renegotiation of its output deal with the distributor and the evolution of a reality-oriented schedule, it may cherry pick only a handful.

With open market deals now the norm in NZ, it’s harder to speculate which shows will wind up where. I presumed Kevin Can Wait would be a Prime acquisition because it was made by CBS Television Studios, with which Prime has a pact.

But Sony TV was a co-producer and had the rights for this part of the world, where TVNZ 2 picked it up.

BBC Worldwide Sales similarly has deals with TVNZ, MediaWorks and Prime but the 4K-filmed Planet Earth II is a good bet for TV3.

In 2015 it struck a deal with the BBC that landed it The Hunt and The Night Manager, along with a raft of natural history library content (Africa, Tiger: Spy in the JungleAtlantic: Wildest Ocean on Earth).

It would be surprising if the package didn’t include Planet Earth II, which premiered this week in the UK, and another anticipated wildlife series, Oceans.

This week BBC Worldwide Sales announced Channel Nine had acquired Planet Earth II for Australia and the series is set to premiere in the US in late January, which would fit in with TV3 using the showpiece to help launch its new season.

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