HD Heads-Up: November 4

End of days for TV3 chief … Victoria’s secret? … Lethal Weapon pacified … 

TV3 programming chief Mark Caulton has resigned after 18 years with the network. He plans to relocate to the UK next year after overseeing an upsurge in stripped primetime reality programming, including the first NZ X Factor  and Family Feud. Under his helm, TV3’s Friday night fortunes also have improved with The Graham Norton Show anchoring local light-ent hits either side the 8.30 hour. But he was also hamstrung by MediaWorks renegotiating key output deals that saw it lose The Simpsons and enabled TVNZ to snap up one of TV3’s top performers, Home and Away. TV3 struck gold locally with The Block NZ but Outrageous Fortune prequel Westside underperformed, MasterChef NZ fizzled and Dancing With the Stars never capitalised on its legacy. But returning next year is The Bachelor NZ, with TV3 recruiting contestants at tv3.co.nz/thebachelornz …

7 Days stablemate Funny Girls ends its latest season tonight (TV3, 10.05) while the comedy panel show bows out with an hour-long special next week. Both series and lead-in The Graham Norton Show continue to win their slots with 25-54s but TVNZ 2’s combination of Take Me Out and The Voice is dominating in the 18-49 and 18-39 demos. Expect them to tighten their hold from November 18, when TV3 replaces 7D with SD re-runs of season 10 of Live at the Apollo. Also ending next Friday is Live From the BBC, which will be replaced by re-runs of Chopper’s Republic Of Anzakistan and season six of Community

Will Victoria reign this weekend off the back of publicity about The Crown’s premiere on Netflix and Lethal Weapon’s pre-emption on TVNZ 2? Episode one last Sunday averaged 5.2% of TVNZ 1’s target audience, 25-54 year-olds, and 3.4% of 18-49s. It finished second to Lethal Weapon in the 25-54 demo and was beaten by Grand Designs NZ in the 18-49 demo. Over the hour Victoria’s viewership slipped nearly a couple of points but still drew twice as many viewers as the previous week’s Sunday Theatre season finale, Jean. That was partly due to it having a bigger lead-in from the season premiere of Our Big Blue Backyard, which averaged 5.2% of 25-54s compared to 3.5% for the final of Spellbound

Lethal Weapon and The Day I Almost Died won’t screen this weekend because of the former’s last-minute pre-emption in the US. TVNZ 2 is replacing the Sunday night double-bill with a repeat of the Vin Diesel comedy, The Pacifier

Prime is adding highlights of the NZ vs Pakistan test to its schedule. They will screen for half-an-hour each day of the test, starting from post-midnight Thursday, November 17. And this weekend, Prime will pre-empt its 10.30 Sunday broadcast of Psych for Rugby Nation, which also will screen 4.30 on November 13 instead of Escape to the Country

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