Next year Seven will be featuring more New Zealand landscapes in its dramas, in 800 Words and Wanted but Seven CEO Tim Worner recently denied they were to help the network hit local quotas.
“We haven’t had to use New Zealand series that we’ve bought in to hit our quota. We’ve never had to do that. Seven’s always over-indexed on local quota,” he recently told the Screen Forever conference.
“800 Words is shot in New Zealand because it’s set there. It would be difficult to shoot it somewhere else! And it’s a great story, I love that story.
“In the case of Wanted Series 2 it is being made partly in New Zealand, but also partly in Thailand and partly in Australia. I wouldn’t see that Series 3 of that show would necessarily be made there.”
Three years ago 51% of the first release Australian drama on the Nine Network was from New Zealand, played almost all of which screened on its multichannels. NZ drama qualifies as Australian under the Australia-NZ Economic Trade Agreement.
Wanted is receiving NZ government funding, with Screen Australia’s preference to fund first seaons of new dramas.
Tim Worner commented on the NZ system saying,
“We all have to ask ourselves how do we ‘win smarter’ and I really think that the NZ industry has done an amazing job. They get a lot of assistance from their government, and all power to them. The government there has really fostered what I think is a brilliant industry. There are great creatives there, with a fantastic work ethic. It is, as it turns out, quite an economic place to actually make television.”
Currently filming in Queenstown ahead of its Thailand shoot, Wanted sees the return of Rebecca Gibney, Geraldine Hakewell, Stephen Peacocke and Nicholas Bell over 6 episodes.
Producer Tony Ayres told TV Tonight, “We have a small shoot in Australia, but predominantly in NZ and also in Thailand. But it sort of suits the nature of the show because it’s a road movie, and it feels like every incarnation of the show needs to find a new home.
“We feel like it could be better than Season One. It’s got a really strong narrative drive. The stakes are higher and certainly the landscapes are wilder.
“For season 2 the hunted become the hunters. They’re trying to find something that will help solve the problems that arose in season one.”
Photo: Rebecca Gibney