Anger as Australian network tries to claim Outrageous Fortune

Fictional crime family the Wests have made more than a few enemies over the years, but have now raised the ire of an entire industry.

Australian screenwriters are threatening industrial action if a decision by network Channel Nine goes ahead to count New Zealand drama Outrageous Fortune as local content.

Screen Producers Association of Australia executive director, Geoff Brown, told the Sydney Morning Herald members would protest next month if the network tried to include the programme as local drama content.

A 1997 High Court decision ruled that New Zealand programmes could be counted as local content in Australia, however, Mr Brown said “television stations had a tacit agreement that they wouldn’t go with New Zealand drama product”.

“Something has changed, Mr Brown said. “This is a fight for us. If one network gets away with it, what are the others going to do? We will be in the streets in February and March.”

The show about a West Auckland criminal family was recently awarded almost $10 million for a third season from New Zealand On Air.

NZOA acting chief executive Bernard Duncan said the agency had committed $9,970,000 to the production of a further 22 one-hour episodes of the show.

“The programme has been very successful and it’s a measure of our confidence in it that the board has given the thumbs-up to a third series of the prime time drama.”

Under Australian law, television networks are required to broadcast a set amount of local productions to keep their broadcasting licences.

The drama series, made by Auckland-based production company South Pacific Pictures, would account for 30 of the 250 points required for Channel Nine to meet the quota.

Mr Brown said he was confident the programme would be dropped from Channel Nine’s local content quota. The network has yet to comment on the matter.

New Zealand Herald

Subscribe to our mailing list

About the author

Kyle Wadsworth

Kyle Wadsworth is a trained multimedia journalist with a passion for film and television - notably Westside and Outrageous Fortune! Also known as TuiKiwi (the name of which has also featured on Outrageous Fortune as a guest-starring beer brand).
More from this author »