When I got my daily news digest from TV3 yesterday, I found their third promo item for last night’s news to be the following:

Family feud continues in Melbourne’s underworld. Their lives are now part of a TV series. We bring you the ongoing family dispute between members of Melbourne’s criminal underworld.

While I’m sure there is some element of news in this, I wasn’t at all surprised to spot an infomercial for their new Australian Drama series Underbelly which screens on Sunday night during their news clip.

What do you think of infomercials during your news?

Last night we were in the audience for the filming of the first episode of Media7 which is hosted by media commentator Russell Brown. Media7 premieres tonight on TVNZ7 at 9:30pm and will also be available online with OnDemand if you don’t have Freeview.

Tonight’s panellists are high profile lawyer Chris Comeskey, TV3’s head of news and current affairs Mark Jennings and media/PR consultant Glenda Hughes.

Issues discussed include the controversial Campbell Live interview with the alleged war medals thief, interviews with other people awaiting trial – such as Bruce William Emery, why some Sunday Star Times magazine pages were ripped out recently and a news mash from the week.

The show is insightful, informative and with good dose of humor thrown in. If you’re a media or news junky, then you’ll love the show. Oh, and it’s refreshing to have time for longer discussions (thanks to only very brief breaks).

Thanks to Russell for personally inviting us along! If you have any questions about the show, let me know.

The only one April Fools’ prank on TV that we know about was Sunrise having a report about heptathlete Rebecca Wardell from Christchurch who has supposedly started smoking to help her prepare for Beijing!

Watch the video clip here »

We have just been told that 5.7% of Kiwis tuned into the controversial Australian series Underbelly on Sunday night. The show, which is based on real-life events, took a 17.9% audience share. The show started off with 7% of Kiwis watching but continued to drop in viewership consistently through the show, ending with 4.7% of Kiwis watching.

Of course, it was up against the exciting conclusion to the Hong Kong Sevens on TV ONE, where New Zealand took out the title. While Underbelly was on, between 4.7% and 7.2% of Kiwis were watching. Over on TV2, Men In Trees pulled in 6.6% of Kiwis with a 20.5% audience share.

In Australia, the premiere episode pulled in 1.32 million people when it was shown in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. It was the most popular show of the night there.

Factual channel TVNZ 7 launches today at 12pm live from Parliament with The Kingmaker Debate, the first political debate this election year between the minor party leaders.

The ad-free channel is available on Freeview. The debate will also stream live online – click here to view »

We met with Eric Kearley this week to discuss the channel. Read more »

TVNZ 7’s concept is to enable more NZ voices to be heard on TV. It will increase public service broadcasting. It will increase the accessibility of TV ONE and 2’s content by allocating prime time slots to shows which normally are only able to be screened at other times.

It aims to help foster our national identity by having more New Zealand content on TV and provide more space and time for different viewpoints to be aired. It will also provide another reason for people to get Freeview.

Documentaries screened on TVNZ 7 will be introduced by Kiwi presenters and put into a NZ context.

The news hour at 8pm will actually be 56 minutes of news (4 minutes of channel promotions) so will provide plenty of time for longer, more in-depth interviews. I observed that this will provide TVNZ as a whole more chances to make/break news stories which will cross over between the two channels.

The TVNZ 7 team have been broadcasting just within TVNZ’s buildings for the last two weeks. We got to see one of the TVNZ News Now bulletins while we were there. It’s presented in front of the news room area, not in a studio. TVNZ News at 8 will be presented from a smaller news studio which looks very similar to the main news studio. The ONE News at 4:30pm bulletin will start broadcasting from there too – all that’s changed is a slide-in section in the front of the desk changing the show’s name.

I’m most looking forward to Russell Brown’s Media 7 show – a multi-media news and commentary series. We’re going to the first filming this Tuesday night (it airs Wednesday). Back Benches, a weekly political review show, hosted by Wallace Chapman, may also be appointment viewing. Naturally, it’s filmed in the character-filled Backbencher pub.

At a dawn ceremony outside Maori Television’s studios, staff, stakeholders, delegates and dignitaries including Māori King Tuheitia Paki and Minister of Māori Affairs the Honorable Parekura Horomia, saw in the official launch of Te Reo.

The new 100% Māori language channel starts broadcasting from 8pm tonight on Freeview Channel 24 and Sky digital.

Here’s some pictures we took…

In a first for an Antipodean television drama, ABC network (USA) has given the go ahead on the pilot episode for the US version of South Pacific Pictures’ successful drama series Outrageous Fortune.

Rob Thomas (Cupid, Veronica Mars) wrote the script, which is based on the hit New Zealand series created by Rachel Lang and James Griffin.

Thomas will also act as Executive Producer on the show.

A fourth series of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE is currently in production and will screen on TV3 in New Zealand in mid-2008. Previous series of the show screened on channels Nine, Ten and Foxtel in Australia.

A UK version of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE has also been adapted for ITV. Honest was produced by Greenlit Rights and starred Amanda Redman.

Source: http://www.variety.com/

As media becomes more fragmented, indigenous peoples are finding their voice and in a lot of cases, viewers who aren’t necessarily of the same race or culture.

This week in Auckland, broadcasters from Australia, Canada, China, England, India, South Africa and the USA, among others, are attending the inaugural World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference to discuss, debate and shape the future of indigenous broadcasting.

The conference closes on Friday with a gala dinner which will include the launch of the new all Maori language channel Te Reo (Freeview 24/Sky Digital 59)

I will be attending some of the sessions and will post my observations over the next few days. For those who are interested, highlights are available on Maori Television at 10:30pm Wed 26th – Fri 28th.

I am quite looking forward to meeting some of the broadcasters from the other countries that Throng is also running in in the hopes that our sister sites can be as beneficial to them as we are to Maori Television here in New Zealand.

Leaving tonight is … Tina Cross and Aaron Gilmore!

In Episode 1, Tina and Aaron had the third highest score of 32 with their Cha-Cha-Cha. Episode 2 saw them rise to the second highest score with 29 after dancing the Quickstep. In the third episode they placed third with a score of 31 after dancing the Jive – however they were in the bottom two. Things picked up dramatically for the pair in Episode 4 when they danced the Paso Doble and tied for first equal with Temepara and Stefano.

Tonight saw them dance the Samba and Swing Waltz and end up with the second lowest score (24) above Cory and Rebecca. Their fantastic dancing last week wasn’t enough to keep them in the competition, with Jason Gunn calling this the first “shock elimination” of the show this year.

Happy Easter everyone! While we’re off on holiday…

Which ads do you think are the most often quoted, even long after the ads stopped airing? Share your ideas here and we’ll put together a list of most quoted lines from ads.