HD Heads-Up: TV3 Cleans House

TV3 is refreshing its weekend line-up to include a top new British drama series and two reality shows ahead of MasterChef NZ’s debut on the channel.

Safe House, which will air 8.30 Sundays, will launch off the back of the Dancing With the Stars and is from Foyle’s War producer Eleventh Hour Films.

The Independent called the four-parter, about an ex-detective and his wife who turn their Lake District B&B into a safe house for witnesses in need of protection, “fingernail chewingly tense“.

The Telegraph thought it “a solid, jobbing thriller that knows how to jolt” while The Guardian said it was “full of guilt, redemption and suspense, with a superb cast” (it includes Christopher Eccleston, In the Flesh’s Harriet Cains, Babylon’s Joseph Paterson, Happy Valley’s Kelly Harrison and Wallander’s Sarah Smart).

Only the Daily Mail was unimpressed: “There’s nothing amateurish about Safe House. The cast is strong, the landscapes impressive. It just doesn’t make very much sense. Like a bunch of gullible tourists, ITV has wasted its money.”

But ITV had the last laugh, with the premiere opening to 5.6 million viewers.

It’s surprising to see TV3 schedule not only a British drama series in primetime but on a Sunday night, where it will go head-to-head with another UK drama, TV1’s excellent but low-rating Indian Summers, which also was an ITV commission.

The same weekend TV3 will pick up American Ninja Warrior from Four but in HD.

The athletics challenge resumes from episode 11 of season six and will air 7.30 Saturdays after The Safe Crackers, in which two top US safe crackers “unlock the secrets” of abandoned safes.

“Are there really enough of these mystery containers to keep a master safecracker busy?” asked the New York Times.

“Geraldo Rivera, of course, worked this gimmick 28 years ago when he opened Al Capone’s vault in a widely watched, widely mocked television special.

“[These safecrackers] are more bearable than Mr. Rivera, though the deals they strike with the people who hire them to open stuff seem preposterous.”

TV3 also is bringing back The Block for its latest spin-off, Triple Threat, which will replace The Simpsons as the 3 News lead-in from July 13, has the last Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear special (July 16) and premieres Chopper’s Republic Of Anzakistan, a  Kiwi-Aussie comedians showcase, after 7 Days on July 17.

Amid the raft of premieres, it’s replacing NCIS: Los Angeles with re-runs of season five and farewelling The Good Wife after a heroic catch-up of back-to-back seasons. (At this stage it plans to screen season seven early next year.)

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