HDTV Heads-Up: United States of Tara, The Big C

TV3 is banking on the unprecedented popularity of Outrageous Fortune to give newcomer The Big C a big head start in the ratings.

The strategy worked wonders for Nurse Jackie and Californication, and The Big C should appeal to a similar audience, especially as it will be double-billed with the return of The United States of Tara from October 5.

The latter again will screen in HD but unfortunately not so The Big C. Althought the Laura Linney drama about a woman with cancer aired in HD on US TV, because of TV3’s last-minute deal for the series, it will play here in SD.

The good news is the show’s been renewed and TV3 expects season two will be available to buy in HD.

The Showtime (Californication, Nurse Jackie, The Tudors) drama was on the open market with scant NZ broadcaster interest, despite a cast that includes Precious Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe, and favourable US ratings and reviews.

According to the New York Times, “The Big C works because most of the writing is strong and believable, and so is Ms Linney who rarely sounds a false note and here has perfect pitch.”

Having previously bypassed it, TV3 reconsidered after Outrageous Fortune’s domino ratings effect on Californication and Nurse Jackie.

“Because we have had such great results for the two other Showtime shows behind Outrageous, we decided The Big C was every bit as strong and broadly appealing to an Outrageous/TV3 audience as those two shows were and, on that basis, worth picking up and placing at 9.30,” a network spokeswoman told ScreenScribe.tv.

“The US ratings have been good but the success of Jackie and Californication have been the main factor.”

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