New WBD Drama Starts Shooting

A surrogacy drama series that uses the aftermath of the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake as a backdrop has started production for Warner Bros. Discovery with a cast led by Morgana O’Reilly (Mean Mums) and Tess Haubrich (Bad Mothers).

Here’s the media release:

Starring Morgana O’Reilly, Tess Haubrich, Jarod Rawiri, Vinnie Bennett and more

11 June 2023 – Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ is pleased to announce production of the brand-new scripted series Friends Like Her is now underway in Kaikōura and Auckland.

Created and written by author, journalist and writer Sarah-Kate Lynch (The Bad Seed, The Sounds, 800 Words, The Brokenwood Mysteries), the psychological drama series explores a friendship that turns toxic when a surrogacy deal goes wrong between two best friends (Morgana O’Reilly and Tess Haubrich) facing very different futures in Kaikōura, during a time when the town is already divided by a catastrophic earthquake.

Vicki Keogh, Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ Senior Director of Production, says, “We’re delighted to bring New Zealand audiences more local stories, made right here in Aotearoa. As well as creating a significant economic boost to Kaikōura, the production of Friends Like Her will also showcase the very best of our homegrown and Australasian talent.”

Morgana O’Reilly (Housebound, Inside, Mean Mums) plays working mum-of-three Nicole and Tess Haubrich (Bad Mothers, Spiderhead, Last King of the Cross) plays lady-who-lunches Tessa.

Despite the two women living lives that are poles apart, they have been best friends since their first meeting in Thailand.  That is until the quake triggers traumatic past events, causing Nicole to make a fateful decision that will alter her friendship with Tess forever.

Jarod Rawiri (The Brokenwood Mysteries, Shortland Street, Ahikāroa) and Vinnie Bennett (F9: The Fast Saga, Human Traces, Good Grief) play Liam and Rob, brothers who are married to the BFFs. Rounding out the ensemble cast are a host of Aotearoa’s top actors including Elizabeth Hawthorne, Vanessa Rare, James Trevena, JJ Fong, Jodie Rimmer, Amelia Reid-Meredith, Dahnu Graham, along with up-and-coming teen actor Kirimaia Noel.

Friends Like Her is produced by Steven Zanoski (Bad Mothers, Filthy Rich, Shortland Street)  and directed by Josh Frizzell (Westside, The Brokenwood Mysteries, Under the Vines). Executive Producers include Philip Smith (CEO of Great Southern Television) along with Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ Senior Director of Production Vicki Keogh and Executive Producer Tina McLaren as well as Kathleen Anderson, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Sarah-Kate Lynch.

Philip Smith, CEO of Great Southern Television commended the resilience and the hospitality of the town of Kaikōura which was the production base for five weeks of the shoot, and says, “Sarah-Kate had such an inspired, crystalised vision for Friends Like Her, we were immediately hooked.

“She had the powerful proposition of examining a vulnerable Kiwi community after a disaster, which is hugely timely, and then dissecting how these events create winners and losers, but also create chasms between friends and families.

“Her concept to weave in her insightful views on female friendship – and a surrogacy gone wrong – provided us with a compelling story we can all relate to.”

Liz Tang, Executive Director, Acquisitions at Fifth Season says, “Friends Like Her is a richly woven psychological drama from Sarah-Kate that unravels a nightmare situation in a nuanced and compelling way – shot in a breath-taking location in remote New Zealand.

“We’re committed to supporting female voices and creators, and championing their stories in the global market – so we can’t wait to introduce Nicole and Tessa to the world.”

Friends Like Her is made with support from NZ On Air and in association with Fifth Season, who are handling international distribution.

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6 Responses to “New WBD Drama Starts Shooting”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    June 11, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    I wonder if they will have it on Max as well 🤔

  2. WOW, it looks like New Zealand rugby is going to have their own streaming service, which means goodbye Sky. Where do I sign up 🤔

  3. It looks that way, Trevor, but The Spinoff report says Sky still has the NZR rights for another two-and-half years.

  4. Yes, I know but I do think it’s a great idea even if it’s not until 2026 😁

  5. That’s a big loss of $35m posted by Discovery NZ – any details on the breakdown?

  6. Hey, Mike. Apologies for late reply. I made the mistake of requesting the info directly from Discovery NZ to no avail. You can read the full details here courtesy of the Companies Office:

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