Black Widow Catches Big Crowd

TVNZ 1’s Sunday Theatre season of Kiwi drama drew more than 1.5 million viewers across its three-week run and went out on a high with its dramatisation of the Helen Milner case.

Catching The Black Widow lured 940,700 viewers and 355,300 25-54 year-olds, which is TVNZ 1’s target demographic.

The season premiere, The Dance Exponents: Why Does Love, was watched by 869,6000 viewers and 330,600 25-54 year-olds.

Resolve pulled 826,800 viewers and 344,900 25-54 year-olds. TVNZ reports it’s been a “big talking point” since broadcast and has notched up nearly 100,000 streams on

While another local drama series, Filthy Rich, has been struggling, with last week’s +5 viewership dropping to 120,500, Three has renewed for a fourth season Westside, which last week won its slot in the core demos and drew 203,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, another true-crime commission has been greenlit for possibly next year’s Sunday Theatre, Mistress Mercy (see below), while soon to screen on TVNZ 1 is Dear Murderer, a series inspired by the life of lawyer Mike Bungay.

Also in the pipeline are:

➢ Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s Paranormal Event Response Unit

➢ the ABC/TVNZ/Netflix backed The Legend of Monkey

➢ another season of 800 Words.

NZ On Air’s backing of local drama continues with the funding agency last month committing $15.5 million to the genre under its NZ Media Fund:

In Dark Places (90 mins, The 10,000 Company for TVNZ 1, up to $2,944,175): A Rautaki Māori telefeature based on the true story of a wrongful conviction for rape and murder

War Stories (84 mins, Making Movies for TVNZ 1, up to $2,690,000): An international co-production telefeature based on an extraordinary 1997 interview conducted by NZ journalist Peter Arnett with Osama bin Laden, and the events that followed

Daffodils (90 mins, Libertine Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $200,000): A feature-length musical based on the successful stage show celebrating a couple’s love and marriage amid re-imaginings of loved New Zealand songs (with the NZFC)

Westside 4 (8 x 44 mins South Pacific Pictures for Three, up to $6,543,500): The continuation of the popular back story of Ted and Rita West, their son Wolf and soon-to-be wife Cheryl

Jono and Ben (26 x 44 mins, Mediaworks for Three, up to $1,717,042): A seventh season of the entertainment comedy series

7 Days (32 x 32 mins, Mediaworks for Three, up to $1,056,000): A ninth season of the comedy panel show.

NZOA’s also pumping tens of millions of dollars into new factual content. Highlights of July’s funding round include:

Mistress Mercy (90 mins, Gibson Group for TVNZ 1, up to $1,109750): A Sunday Theatre docudrama on a significant NZ murder trial

National Anthems (5 x 52 mins, Notable Pictures for Prime, up to $1,324,608): A documentary series about NZ popular music, with a focus on our most-loved songs

Ocean Predators (3 x 44 mins, Ocean Answers Ltd for Prime, up to $767,030): Documentary series about thrilling encounters with our oceans’ biggest predators

I Am … (6 x 44 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $749,949): Six intensely emotional first hand accounts of what it means to be different

How Not To Get Cancer (4 x 44 mins, Feather And Wolf Media Ltd for TVNZ 1, up to $692,355): A leading cancer surgeon sorts superstition from science as he explores why we die from so many preventable cancers, and what we can do about it.

The Demolition Teams (10 x 22 mins, Broadcast Media for Prime, up to $369,540): Viewers will be taken inside the hardhat no-go zones inhabited by demolition teams, charged with taking down buildings left unsafe by recent earthquakes

Intake (7 x 26 mins, Diva Productions for Māori Television, up to $310,475): A groundbreaking series observing a troop of young NZ Army recruits in gruelling basic training

Face the Classroom (2 x 44 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $213,335): Future voters grill our political leaders in two-hour long pre-election specials

In Foreign Fields (52 mins, Ponsonby Productions for Māori Television, up to $197,634): An Anzac Day special about an initiative begins to bring home the last of the bodies of Kiwi soldiers killed in the South East Asian conflicts

Millennium Teens (44 mins, Greenstone TV for TVNZ 1, up to $174,981): How life has turned out for a group of 18-year-olds who were the subject of a documentary filmed in December 1999 on the first NZ babies born in the new millennium

Coast New Zealand 3 (6 x 44ins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $1,808,685): More of the top-rating series about our people, places and history

Country Calendar 2018 (38 x 22.5 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $538,384).

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