NZ On Air Shells Out Big Time for Big-Gun WWI Drama

NZ On Air has committed more than $12 million to two new HD drama series for TVNZ.

Today’s announcement follows Monday’s news that the agency would pump another $2.43 million into TV One’s HD comedy, Agent Anna, along with $770,000 for another 26 episodes of TV3’s 7Days and nearly $1.2 million for 26 new half-hours of its Friday night stablemate, Jono and Ben at Ten.

The drama funding follows speculation that the “golden age” of NZ drama may be fading and ratings so poor for the latest series of Go Girls and The Almighty Johnsons that neither is likely to be renewed — even though the latter has become “the first wholly New Zealand originated and produced drama series to be broadcast in the United States”.

The new dramas are When We Go to War ($6.621 million) and Step-Dave ($5.92 million).

The former is a six-hour series that will chronicle life on both the battlefront and home front.

Robin Scholes (Mr Pip) is producing the Rachel Lang-Gavin Strawhan script for Jump and Film Television; Peter Burger (Harry, Billy) will direct.

NZOA says When We Go to War will “form a significant part” of the agency’s contribution to the centennial commemorations of World War I.

South Pacific Pictures’ Step-Dave concerns a 24-year-old slacker whose life is turned upside down when he meets the girl of his dreams – and her three kids.

Writer Kate McDermott’s credits include The Blue Rose, Go Girls and Nothing Trivial.

Meanwhile, NZOA has released this list of the highest-rating agency-funded programmes for the week ending August 14:

#TitleTimeslotChannelAverage Audience
age 5+
1Hyundai Country Calendar7.00pm SaturdayTVONE*608,404
2Coasters7.30pm SaturdayTVONE*464,659
3Descent from Disaster9.30pm TuesdayTVONE*346,810
4First Crossings8.30pm TuesdayTVONE*312,706
53rd Degree Presents The Vote8.30pm WednesdayTV3*205,096
6Best Bits9.00pm FridayTVONE*170,932
7The Almighty Johnsons8.30pm ThursdayTV3*153,992
8Super City II10.00pm FridayTV3*122,793
9The Animal Files8.30pm ThursdayPRIME118,087
10Auckland Daze (R)10.05pm ThursdayTVONE*113,517
11The Erin Simpson Show4.30pm WeekdaysTV2104,495
12First Crossings (R)4.00pm SaturdayTVONE*97,796
13Outrageous Fortune (R)10.30pm SaturdayTV3*88,000
14Neighbourhood9.30pm SundayTVONE*84,502
15What Now7.00pm SundayTV281,149
16Girl vs Boy6.00pm SundayTV265,363
17Tagata Pasifika11.05pm ThursdayTVONE*45,841
18Totes Maori10.00am SaturdayTV244,844
19Attitude (R)12.05am WednesdayTVONE*38,934
20Sticky TV Omnibus9.55am SundayFOUR34,715

 *includes plus one channel

Figures do not include delayed (timeshifted) viewing

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2 Responses to “NZ On Air Shells Out Big Time for Big-Gun WWI Drama”

  1. Why is the taxpayer paying for so much of these listed programs? I thought that’s what advertising was for.

  2. Agreed! NZ on Air shouldn’t be funding commercial TV drivel! The money saved should go towards a commercial-free National Radio with pictures, in HD of course!

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