News

Eagle-eyed Shortland Street fans watching the official website were in for a surprise yesterday when they were able to read two future episode recaps which included revealing a major spoiler that Justine Jones faked her own death and goes into hiding in Australia. You can read what happens on tonight’s episode here.

The episode summaries were later pulled from the official website.

A popular television presenter on New Zealand screens is set to take on his biggest role yet, after landing a job on one of Britain’s best-known shows.

London-born Joel Defries, who learned his trade in New Zealand with three years on music channel C4, has been confirmed as one of the new presenters of BBC One’s children’s programme Blue Peter.

The magazine-style show, with 50 years of history and an audience of millions, is aimed at children between the ages of six and 12 and is shown before the evening news.

Defries, 23, left for Britain last year and this week he told The Daily Telegraph that his role as a Blue Peter presenter was “one of the finest jobs in the world”.

“I wake up every day thinking I can’t believe this is happening,” he said.

“I have never been so happy and can’t wait to see what other adventures Blue Peter has lined up for me.”

Defries, who was a 2007 finalist in the Air NZ Screen Awards but lost to Dancing With the Stars presenter Jason Gunn, was always destined for bigger things, C4 producer Angela Mann said.

He was a natural presenter with a gift for connecting with people of all ages.

Defries’ talent had “out-grown” New Zealand, Mann said.

Paul Henry honours another legendary Kiwi in the latest installment of This Is Your Life.

On Sunday 21st September, the famous red book will be open again and another unsuspecting recipient will be surprised with the words “This Is Your Life”, before returning to TVNZ’s Auckland studios for the LIVE 90-minute television event.

Recipients are iconic New Zealanders who have made a significant contribution to the country. This Is Your Life looks behind their well-documented public stories, to reveal amusing anecdotes, interesting facts and personal insights.

This is Your Life, Sunday 21st September at 8:30pm on TV ONE.

Animal Planet is launching a bold new look in October 2008 in New Zealand.

Animal Planet

Celebrating 10 years of broadcasting in international markets, the new Animal Planet will highlight gripping and exciting stories designed to appeal to an adult audience seeking compelling entertainment.

In addition to a dynamic new logo and a vibrant on-air graphics package, the new Animal Planet will offer viewers a variety of new programming including the stunning, immersive nature films for which the network is renowned as well as quality doco-soaps, doco-dramas and ground-breaking CGI that brings to life the amazing diversity of the animal kingdom.

The new Animal Planet look was launched earlier this year in the US.

Tonight’s Campbell Live is extended to an hour long special due to coverage of Winston Peters with the Select Committee.

As a result, Power Of Ten will not air and an episode of The Simpsons will run at 8pm.

Last night’s premiere episode of New Zealand’s Got Talent drew in almost 209,000 viewers – massive ratings for smaller channel PRIME.

Read the Herald’s review of last night’s episode and the Sunday Star Times’ preview of the show.

It has been 15 years since New Zealand’s iconic telethon appeared on our screens having raised millions of dollars for good causes in its 18 year run. Now KidsCan is launching ‘Big Night In’ in partnership with TV3 to benefit Kiwi kids living in poverty.

KidsCan is aiming to raise at least $2million to help make a difference to the lives of 42,000 disadvantaged children across New Zealand.

TV3 will broadcast the 21.5 hour special starting at 8.30pm on Saturday 20 June 2009 featuring a host of celebrities including New Zealand and international stars.

The continuous broadcast will feature traditional telethon favorites such as dares and the phone bank but Co-Director, Kathy Cunningham says it’s not all about nostalgia.

“Most New Zealanders have fond memories of telethon and the Kiwi generosity and sense of community lives on,” she says.

“Now with the help of new technology and our star cast it’s time to pull out all the stops and revamp the format. Big Night In is going to be an amazing entertainment experience that will raise millions of dollars to assist Kiwi kids living in poverty.”

Brent Impey, CEO of MediaWorks, says the company is delighted to provide media airtime on our radio and television networks to help KidsCan.

“As a company, we are absolutely committed to being an integral part of the communities of New Zealand, and supporting young Kiwis is a way of helping build a great future for this country.

“KidsCan is a very positive organisation which seeks to help youngsters in a practical way, enabling them to get the most out of school – and that is a fundamental right every child should have.”

The Big Night In announcement was made today at a media launch at Auckland’s Aotea Centre.

Many New Zealand celebrities attended the launch including TV3’s Mike McRoberts who hosted the event.

Among the KidsCan Ambassadors, Jordan Luck and Donald Reid provided music and 50 students from Weymouth Intermediate School wearing their KidsCan Adidas All Blacks raincoats sang the national anthem.

KidsCan Patron and All Black Ali Williams along with international ambassador and NZ Hollywood star, Martin Henderson sent special video messages of support to the audience.

Henderson will join a glittering array of international stars on the night of the event in June.

3 News

So I am half way through the first episode…and despite myself I am enjoying it.

The exposition in the first 10 minutes was astounding, but I guess given the target audience it is expected.

You can see a roadmap for all the chracters, their growth over the next couple of season has probably been planned out in minute detail already and the obvious foundations already laid.

But…despite the hacknyed plots and overly defined characters, Rob Thomas is pulling it together and Jennifer Walters was a BRILLIANT addition.

I think I will keep watching.

Television New Zealand made an after tax profit of $19.4 million for the financial year ended June 2008, Chief Executive Rick Ellis said today.

This was from operating earnings before non recurring items, interest, tax and financial instruments of $27 million, which represents a $14.3 million turnaround or a 112 % increase over the prior year.

Mr Ellis said the strong result was off the back of higher advertising revenues from higher channel ratings and getting the organisation’s costs under control.

Mr Ellis said the annual result meant TVNZ achieved a return on average equity of 8.3%, which was ahead of the 6.4 % target set for the year.

TVNZ would be paying a $10.3 million dividend to the Crown.

Excluding Government funding for the digital channels, total income for the year was $379.7 million, an increase of $4.7 million (or 1.3%) over the prior year. The primary driver of this increase was a $2.7 million (0.9%) increase in advertising revenue.

Excluding costs for the digital channels which are covered by Government funding, total expenses were $352.6 million for the year, a reduction of $9.7 million (2.7%) on the prior year’s operating costs.

That means TVNZ had a year on year improvement in earnings (before non recurring items, interest, tax and financial instruments) of $14.4 million from the $4.7 million improvement in income and the $9.7 million of cost reduction from the core business.

“Our revenue targets for the year were all exceeded. This is year one of the TVNZ three year turnaround plan and it’s a credit to a highly motivated and focussed staff working to a well thought out strategy,” he said.

“Our increase in advertising revenue is particularly pleasing given the broadcasting of the 2007 Rugby World Cup occurred on a competing channel in September and October 2007 and the market conditions in the latter part of the financial year. TVNZ television advertising revenues were strong in the second half of the year with a year on year increase of 3.4 % for the January to June period.

“While the economic outlook for the 2009 financial year is challenging for many New Zealand businesses we are cautiously optimistic about the environment and confident in our abilities and plans.”

He said local content hours on TV ONE and TV 2 were at similar levels to the previous year at 4,867 compared with 4,822 and 15 of the 20 top rating programmes for the year were on TVNZ channels. It was particularly pleasing that 17 of the 20 top rating programmes on TV ONE were locally produced.

That quantity of local content doesn’t count the impact of TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 and is more than three times TVNZ’s nearest rivals.

“We’ve had a very strong year on screen. Our flagship ONE News at 6pm has had consistent lifts in its ratings, shows like Dancing With The Stars have proved extremely popular, coverage of major events like Sir Edmund Hillary’s state funeral captivated the public and the launch of TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 has enabled TVNZ to extend its range of programmes and its value to New Zealanders as the country’s public broadcaster.”

He said TVNZ continued to work hard on its strategy of ‘inspiring New Zealanders on every screen’ with commercial deals signed with Bebo, Google, Telecom, Fairfax, South Pacific Pictures, Greenstone Pictures and Chinese Television.

TVNZ ondemand had become enormously popular in the space of 18 months with 30,000 hours of television watched on average each month, while tvnz.co.nz. has monthly average unique visitors of 826,000.

He said other highlights included:

• higher than anticipated uptake of digital platform Freeview, of which TVNZ is the largest shareholder;
• the beginning of a $30 million investment in TVNZ’s digital infrastructure;
• conducting the first statutory review of the TVNZ Charter;
• the use for the first time in the annual report of a framework to measure TVNZ’s delivery of the Charter; and
• more than 600 hours of content broadcast to 14 Pacific nation broadcasters via the TVNZ Pacific Service.

N.B. This is the first year that TVNZ has used the new New Zealand International Financial Reporting Standards.

Tonight saw the murder of core Shortland Street character Craig Valentine (played by Renato Bartolomei) by pharmaceutical company hired thugs.

Renato Bartolomei joined the cast in 2004 and has directed a number of episodes of the soap. It is currently unknown whether he will continue his off-screen role as others have done including Katherine McRae (Nurse Brenda Holloway) and Angela Bloomfield (Rachel McKenna). Craig’s two children Scarlett and Jake had already departed the show and had recently separated from his partner Alice. Fans of the once-couple Sarah and Craig were given some closure with Craig confessing his true love for Sarah hours before his death.

A Throng member leaked Craig’s demise six weeks ago.