HD Heads-Up: February 8-14

TV2 will use its award-winning new comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine to relaunch The Walking Dead on a new night and is teaming the latest season of Two and a Half Men with a new comedy from its creator.

Such is TV2’s faith in Mom that it will use the Chuck Lorre sitcom to lead off its Wednesday comedy block, which will also include the season premieres of The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls ahead of the return of Once Upon a Time.

The fairy tale drama is being demoted from 8.30 to 9.30 for its third season while Arrow will take over the 8.30 Thursday slot after Police Ten-7 and Motorway Patrol.

The Walking Dead is also on the move, to 9.30 Monday as the successor to Scandal.

Despite persistently low-to-middling ratings, TV2 has stuck with this zombie drama and will screen the second half of its fourth season within hours of the US.

The network wants Dead to hit the ground running, so has given it a powerhouse lead-in: an hour-long episode of Shortland Street, Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

TV2 only acquired Brooklyn Nine-Nine after it won the Golden Globe for best comedy; until then, no one had wanted the leftover from TV3 restructuring its 20th Century Fox TV deal.

So it is a late addition to the schedule but should be the ideal male-skewing lead-in to Dead.

Given the scheduling shake-up, it’s surprising TV2 didn’t go one step further and make its Monday night comedy block more laddish, with Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory as part of the mix, and its Wednesday block a girls’ night in with Mom, Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife and 2 Broke Girls.

Another TV2 staple, Revenge, is switching from Monday nights to 9.30 Tuesdays for its third season, on the back of a two-hour Kiwi block: the premiere of Auckland highway hi-jinks half-hour Nabbed, the return of Neighbours at War and the debut of the younger man-older woman comedy/drama Step Dave, which the network hopes will be this year’s Go Girls.

TV2 will also be running The Vampire Diaries and spin-off series The Originals 24 hours apart: the former will air 10.30 Thursdays and the latter, 10.30-ish Fridays.

Another twist with TV2’s new-look schedule is the increasing use of same-week repeats to boost sampling of new shows: Brooklyn Nine-Nine will have an “encore” screening 10.20 Friday, Super Fun Night and Trophy Wife already have Sunday afternoon repeat runs, and Walking Dead and Step Dave will have their premieres repeated late-night Sunday.

The last is particularly significant as February 16 is when TV2’s expected to launch its anticipated Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.

SHIELD will go up against TV3’s The Blacklist, which starts this weekend and will be repeated late-night Saturday (tomorrow TV3 will also repeat its premiere of Hannibal).

The last time TV2 ditched its Sunday movie for series programming was in the mid-’90s, when shifting ER to a weekend slot proved disastrous.

TV One also has a newcomer of note, the latest BBC natural history sensation, Hidden Kingdoms, which launches in its 8.30 Tuesday wildlife slot.

In other HD programming news:

  • Having their network premieres are The Pirates! Band of Misfits (TV2, 7.00 Sunday), New Year’s Eve (TV2, 8.45 Sunday), The Debt (TV3, 10.25 Sunday) and Contraband (TV3, 8.30 Monday)
  • Back for re-runs are Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), Flightplan (TV2, 11.40 Saturday) and Corrina, Corrina (TV2, midday Sunday)
  • The Incredible Hulk Woman (TV3, 9.30 Thursday) is a documentary about a mother of three with stiff person syndrome, one of the rarest neurological conditions in the world.
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