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TVNZ gets Filthy

NZ On Air has announced support for a major new drama, committing to 20 one-hour episodes, which will screen two nights a week on TV2.

At $8,125,000, or a little over $450,000/hour, the cost is significantly down on much of the one-hour drama NZ On Air supports. The show, Filthy Rich, comes from Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan (Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls) via their new Filthy Productions company. Shortland Street producer Steven Zanoski will produce.

“Multi-night formats are currently drawing strong audiences. Prime time drama is one of our key goals and one we are prepared to make significant investment in when the right projects come along … more frequent installments should result in higher audience engagement,” said NZ On Air’s Jane Wrightson in the release announcing the support.

TVNZ also put out a release, citing engagement less and the nature of the material considerably more: “high stakes stories, shocks, twists and turns” was the TVNZ description of the show.

The show’s premise:

It is centred on three illegitimate children, who discover they each have a claim to the fortune of one of New Zealand’s wealthiest men. When he dies, these unwanted, unexpected heirs stand to share in his legacy – but not if his legitimate family has anything to do with it.

They’re bonded through thick and thin, sick and sin. But who is good? Who is bad? This is a game, a power struggle, a family torn asunder – who will be the victor?

TVNZ’s Andrew Shaw said, “Its inception came from a desire to maximise potential TV audiences who have tended to swing towards outrageous, anything-goes shows, offering high stakes and shocking surprises.”

TVNZ’s Head of Content, Jeff Latch added, “Filthy Richis a seriously exciting project. This is one of the biggest and most ambitious dramas we’ve developed to date.”

While multi-night shows are common in both the soap and reality genres, they’re not an established feature of the TV drama landscape in many Western countries. Contemporary drama series of similar length regularly play two consecutive nights per week in Korea, but there’s limited evidence to suggest audience numbers are boosted by the programming strategy.

Filthy Rich goes into production soon, with air dates to be announced later.

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