TV3 to Spruce Up Weeknights and 7 Days in HD

TV3 has announced plans for a new weekday serial in 2015, when it will also launch its latest comedy commission and upgrade 7 Days and Jono and Ben at Ten to HD.

In a media release this evening, broadcaster MediaWorks revealed production houses had been invited to submit ideas for a long-running, G-rated weekday serial drama to launch next year on TV3.

It follows TV2’s announcement on Tuesday it had secured more than $8.1 million in NZ On Air funding for its own twice-weekly drama series, Filthy Rich, albeit of limited duration (20 hours).

The MediaWorks brief for its multi-night drama is to be family-centric, bright, entertaining and compelling, and “firmly rooted” in contemporary New Zealand, with particular appeal to TV3’s 25-54 demographic.

As well as having accessible characters and rich, dramatic narrative, content needs to be suitable for integrating across MediaWorks’ digital, social and radio platforms.

Amazingly, production houses have only three weeks in which to turn around their proposals, which seems an incredibly tight deadline for such a substantial project.

But it’s necessary for Mediaworks to achieve its aim of the successful company following a specific timetable for development over early summer.

“We consider three weeks to be a suitable timeframe and the initial response from the industry to this has been very positive,” MediaWorks’ corporate communications chief Rachel Lorimer says.

“It’s too early in the process to be having discussions about funding – we let NZ On Air know about the RFP [request for proposals] but that is the extent of the conversation.”

But clearly, given NZOA’s enthusiasm for multi-night drama that stands to engage audience quicker than one-hour dramas, MediaWorks will have high hopes for public funding.

However, will its bankrolling impact on TV3’s ability to commission prime time drama series?

“Obviously everything we schedule affects everything else,” Lorimer says, “but I wouldn’t expect this initiative to impact one-hour dramas – the two things are not linked.”

Launching the serial will be a massive challenge for TV3, as it’s inevitably being eyed for the 5.30 slot to lead in to 3News, in which case it will be up against ex-TV3 property Home & Away on TV2.

Earlier today, NZOA announced funding of nearly $280,000 for six episodes of a new in-house TV3 sketch comedy, Funny Girls, which will be written by and predominantly feature women.

But the guys still will have the last laugh, with 7 Days receiving nearly $948,000 for another 32 episodes and Jono and Ben at Ten $1.3 million for 26 more weeks.

Funny Girls will be filmed in HD while a spokeswoman says 7 Days and Jono and Ben at Ten will “change to HD in the near future”.

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2 Responses to “TV3 to Spruce Up Weeknights and 7 Days in HD”

  1. This new soap is exciting and will provide opportunites for many who want to get into TV but this is a huge risk for TV3 and not having expensive output deals should help mitigate the costs. I wish them all the best and hope it’s successful.

  2. Remember Ice TV’s Police Programme? How about turning that into their new soap? Cameos from Bridges, Rarere and Bagust anyone?

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