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TVNZ farewells old favourite

TVNZ has dealt a shocking blow to couch potatoes across the country. The network announced that after decades of loyally serving generations of Kiwi viewers with athletic bodies in their prime performing at the peak of their powers, it cannot justify the cost of the rights in the current economic environment. That’s right – The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives are for the chop!

The shows will finish screening in November. Facebook and TradeMe campaigns are already under way to persuade TVNZ that the homes of melodramatic overacting and hairspray are worth sparing, but TVNZ has not renewed its deals for the shows.

Another old favourite, the Commonwealth Games, is also on its way out of the door at Victoria Street after 40 years. TVNZ says it has reached a deal to offload the rights to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi to Sky.

Sky won’t confirm the deal as yet, saying only that it’s received a proposal, is doing due diligence and will make an announcement in due course.

Having completed financial projections, TVNZ believed it stood to make a $5 million loss on its Games coverage from Delhi. TVNZ’s Megan Richards said that it was a financial decision. “With no capacity to absorb such losses, TVNZ was obliged to seek to transfer the rights to a broadcaster with deeper pockets.” TVOne broadcast 150 hours of Games programming during the quadrennial’s last stop in Melbourne.

TVNZ had advised the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) of its wish to transfer the rights, but will require the CGF’s final approval if and when a new broadcaster agrees to pick up the reins.

Seeking to reassure the many ranters popping up on bulletin boards to accuse Sky and TVNZ of depriving Kiwis access to their sporting heroes, Sky’s Tony O’Brien said, “If Sky is the successful bidder, as with the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games, New Zealand viewers will be guaranteed comprehensive free-to-air coverage.”

There’s no word on whether or not the Prime coverage will be delayed, but with the Games taking place in Delhi in October when midday temperatures usually hit the low thirties, it’s likely that many events will be programmed to avoid the middle of the day. Delhi is 7.5 hours behind NZ in October, making late afternoon and evening events a very late night’s viewing here even if screened live.

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