Temuera Morrison will reprise his role on Shortland Street as Dr. Hone Ropata in a series of episodes to air early June this year.

Shortland Street will celebrate its 4000th episode on June 8th – a first for any New Zealand made show. The show has had huge ratings success with the serial killer storyline with an average of 45% more viewers tuning in over January and February, as compared with last year. Over 665,000 Kiwis tuned in to see the ending of Joey Henderson’s reign of terror.

Temuera Morrison left the show in 1995 for his film career.

Get ready for the show of the year – PRIME’s out to prove that New Zealand’s Got Talent!

Those who have always fancied their fifteen minutes of fame will soon get their chance as Prime Television begins the quest to find New Zealand’s most remarkable performers for everyone’s favourite family talent show – New Zealand’s Got Talent.

New Zealand joins a long list of countries which are part of the most popular amateur talent show on the planet. International series have been made in more than sixteen countries, including Australia, Britain, Sweden, Russia, Israel, Greece, Portugal and China. South Pacific Pictures, New Zealand’s largest film and television producer, will produce the series for Prime Television in conjunction with FremantleMedia Australia.

Prime’s Kathy Wright says New Zealand’s Got Talent will change lives as well as entertain the nation.

“America’s Got Talent has been one of our top shows over the past year and we are thrilled to be making a New Zealand version and looking forward to unveiling the best of our local talent to the whole nation,” she said.

“It’s a fantastic format and best of all there are no limits, so we hope to see a real variety of performers from all walks of life during our nationwide audition process. So if you are keen to show us that you have what it takes, my advice is get practising and we look forward to seeing you at the auditions later in the year!”

John Barnett, Chief Executive of South Pacific Pictures said: “We are thrilled to be working with Prime Television and FremantleMedia in Australia to bring this internationally successful format to New Zealand.”

FremantleMedia Australia CEO, Mark Fennessy, says the confirmation that Prime Television has commissioned New Zealand’s Got Talent is sensational news.

“Got Talent is a formidable brand worldwide and FremantleMedia Australia is proud to be working with South Pacific Pictures to deliver the New Zealand series. It will be a great success on Prime and we look forward to discovering some of New Zealand’s hidden treasures.”

Auditions for New Zealand’s Got Talent will be filmed in front of a live theatre audience. Wannabe stars will perform in front of a panel of judges, who could take just seconds to knock them out of the show.

Anyone who believes they have talent will be invited to audition in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland later in the year. Information on auditions and how to be a part of the New Zealand’s Got Talent live audience will be released soon.

Outrageous Fortune’s Grant Bowler (Wolf) and New Zealand’s stunt woman Zoe Bell (Kill Bill) are both in Season 4 episodes of Lost.

Zoe Bell is seen in two scenes in one episode as Regina, but her voice credited in three others. Grant Bowler is in at least two episodes in a supporting role as the freighter’s Captain Gault.

Australian actor Bowler returns to New Zealand to film Season 4 of Outrageous Fortune this year. He will also appear in upcoming Australian medical mystery drama Canal Road.

Kiwi artists Atlas, The Checks, The Mint Chicks, Opshop and Scribe and are in the running to take home an MTV Australia Award alongside politicians, pranksters, film stars, trouble makers, Grammy Award winners and pro-social organizations.

“It’s fantastic that the MTV Australia Awards have decided to honour New Zealand Artists by including a New Zealand Artist Award,” said Chris Keely, MTV Networks New Zealand General Manager. “As the show is syndicated to MTV around the world it will be a fantastic platform to promote New Zealand artists globally”

The newly styled awards show will allow the network to recognise people, organisations and moments alongside music that has entertained and engaged the MTV viewer over the last year. The seven new award categories will honour TV moments, personalities and organisations for Good Karma and Bad Karma Awards, Australian and New Zealand Artists, Live Performers, the ‘Remake Award’ with the eighth being the traditional ‘Music Video Of The Year Award’.

The MTV Australia Awards 2008 will feature eight live musical performances and eleven awards presented across music, film, television, sport, viewer-generated content and topical pop culture moments. The New Zealand Artist Award is a viewer voted category and Kiwis can register their vote online at www.mtv.co.nz. Voting closes Friday, April 25. Six other categories will be viewer-chosen with voting open now until April 25, 2008. The remaining three categories – favourites in sports, film/tv actor and international music act will be selected by MTV Australia as a way of acknowledging those who have had a significant influence on the Australian MTV audience and are yet to be announced.

Winners will be announced at the MTV Australia Awards on Saturday, April 26, 2008. Kiwis can be there in person by purchasing a highly coveted seat on the MTV Mile High Gig, in association with Air New Zealand. The MTV Mile High Gig departs Auckland for Sydney at 5.30pm on ANZAC day, Friday April 25. Tickets to this once in a life time experience go on sale Friday, March 14 from airnewzealand.co.nz. With last year’s MTV Mile High Gig selling out in less than 6 days (an Air New Zealand record) fans will need to get in quick to be part of the action.

The exclusive seats not only include a pre-flight gate party and mid-flight performance from Dizzee Rascal and Scribe, but passengers also receive a ‘money can’t buy’ ticket to the MTV Australia Awards on Saturday, April 26. Passengers must be over 18 to be eligible for the MTVAA tickets.

The MTV Australia Awards 2008 will air exclusively on MTV, channel 60 SKY Digital, Monday,April 28 from 7pm. Further MTV Australia Awards talent will be announced in the coming weeks.

THE VIEWER VOTED CATEGORIES FOR THE ‘MTV AUSTRALIA AWARDS 2008’

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Fergie Clumsy
Mika Happy Ending
Delta Goodrem Believe Again
Foo Fighters The Pretender
50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland Ayo Technology

AUSTRALIAN ARTIST MUSIC AWARD
Sneaky Sound System
Silverchair
Delta Goodrem
The Veronicas
Operator Please

NEW ZEALAND ARTIST AWARD
Opshop
Scribe
The Mint Chicks
Atlas
The Checks

MTV LIVE PERFORMER AWARD
Foo Fighters Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace Tour
Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveShow Tour
P!nk I’m Not Dead Tour
Lupe Fiasco Snow Jam
Juliette & the Licks The Lair

TELEVISION MOMENT AWARD
Chaser’s War on Everything APEC 2007 Stunt
Corey Worthington The ‘A Current Affair’ Interview
Jake Brown X Games 45ft stack & stand
A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila Brandi and Vanessa’s fight
Snoop Dogg MTV Citizenship campaign

MTV GOOD KARMA AWARD
Bliss n Eso South African fundraising efforts, including ‘Bullet and a Target’ charity single
Sea Shepherd Crew of the Steve Irwin Trying to keep whales on the planet a little longer
Young People of Australia For believing saying sorry was something worth voting for
Earth Hour Engaging Australia and the world to act against climate change.
Movember Raising awareness and funding for male health issues
BAD KARMA AWARD
Kevin Andrews For refusing Snoop Dogg entry into Australia
Kevin Andrews For saying “He doesn’t seem the sort of bloke we want in this country”
Kevin Andrews For defining ‘bad hair day’
Kevin Andrews For all of the above, especially the hair, and the Snoop Dogg thing

REMAKE AWARD
Summer Heights High Ja’mie’s teary tirade
Chris Crocker ‘Leave Britney Alone’ freakout
Heath Franklin Chopper’s Weather Report
Roads & Traffic Authority ‘Speeding. No One Thinks Big of You.’ Campaign

Winners will be announced at the MTV Australia Awards on Saturday, April 26 2008. The show will broadcast on MTV, channel 60 SKY Digital, Monday, April 28 from 7pm. Further MTV Australia Awards talent will be announced in the coming weeks.

For the past month or so we’ve been seeing various parts of what looks like a movie set being created just north of Kaukapakapa in Rodney district.

There is a huge fence (for a blue screen?) in the middle of a field, massive fountains (didn’t get a photo of these), large metal moving sculptures and more. This weekend there was a big marquee and people moving about. There’s security to get in the area as well.

Do you know what is being filmed here? Please let us know!

Click here to see all the photos – click on each one to read the notes »

Watch the trailer now!

Shortland Street stars Johnny Barker (Joey Henderson) and Kiel McNaughton (James “Scotty” Scott) have been quietly working on a documentary which chronicles the creation and development of The Ferndale Strangler, the drama series’ most notorious villain to date.

Dressing-room buddies have high hopes for self-made, self-funded documentary.

The documentary which currently has the working title ‘Diary of a Serial Killer’ is intended for a prime-time television audience and follows Johnny Barker as he deals with the challenges of playing a serial killer on screen whilst dealing with increasing public scrutiny in his everyday life.

“I’ve always been as fascinated as anyone else to see what public reaction was going to be like,” says Barker. “When I landed in this situation, I knew things were going to get interesting so I decided to document as much of it as I could.”

“It’s a great story we’re telling,” says McNaughton, “and if the ratings for Shortland Street‘s serial killer storyline are anything to go by there will be a lot of interest in our doco too.”

“People I’ve spoken to about the doco are curious to see how Johnny is treated outside of work and how ‘celebrity’ affects somebody’s everyday life.”

Late last year at PRIME’s new season launch, we met friendly and approachable Channel Manager Karen Bieleski who offered to help clarify questions that people on Throng have about scheduling of shows. She’s kept her word and has been quietly frequently responding to questions about upcoming shows that PRIME has bought the rights to, why programmes such as Deal or No Deal have been moving time slots, when they plan to screen shows and has passed on the odd criticism from members. Instead of viewers getting frustrated about decisions and having a rant, people are appreciating being able to get answers to their questions directly – and not in a highly edited format which may appear in other publications.

As we’ve been heading along to other events such as TVNZ’s recent preview screening of the Shortland Street ending or Vibe’s launch, we’ve met other people in programming and the industry in general who say they are regular readers of the site and listen to your feedback. We’d love to invite other people in the industry to not be shy to openly comment – we appreciate people like Karen Bieleski, Jason Paris, Eric Kearley and Simon Bennett for leaving their comments!

Last night we had the privilege of attending a special sneak preview of the serial killer storyline ending which plays out on TV next week (Monday – Wednesday). The cast were out in force and you can see photos here »

I had decided before I went to the event not to spoil the ending for you and I’m now 100% convinced that it will be better to sit and enjoy the episodes without knowing what will happen. Seriously.

These three episodes are without a doubt for me to be Shortland Street’s finest hours.

You’ll be taken on a roller coaster thriller ride which will make you proud to be a fan of the show, and proud that a Kiwi soap can produce such an amazing ending to this serial killer storyline. It’s dark, yes, but the humour is brilliant. It even felt like watching a movie – there was so much suspense, action, thrills and surprises. Scenes reminded me of a psycho-killer movie or something, it was unreal. I had a few moments when I would have yelled at the TV if I had been at home. Some of the actors I didn’t think would play a major role were outstanding and spine-tingling in certain scenes.

I think you could watch those three episodes without ever having watched Shortland Street before and be converted to start watching the show from that point onwards. I know that it will be hard to repeat this intense storyline but all credit to the writers, the actors and everyone involved for pulling off something that I would be surprised if it didn’t get critics thumbs up all around.

You can’t miss these episodes. They will blow you away.

Read more thoughts on the night »

PS None of this was a paid advertisement. The only thing which irked me in the teeniest way was Lara Wade, but I don’t think she could ever stop annoying me!

We’ve had four seasons of Dancing with the Stars, three seasons of NZ Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

Do you think it’s time for more local versions of international talent shows?

The biggest shows which we haven’t seen in New Zealand would be The X Factor and New Zealand’s Got Talent.

The X Factor has seen stars such as Leona Lewis and Shayne Ward rise to fame in the UK. Already in 11 countries – including Australia – the show is expanding into 5 more countries in 2008. The show hasn’t screened in NZ.

Think Idol but there’s three categories: vocal groups (including duos), solo singers ages 14-24 and solo singers aged 25+.

UK judges have been Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, Dannii Minogue, Paula Abdul and Brian Friedman. Australian judges have been Mark Holden, Kate Ceberano and John Reid.

New Zealand’s Got Talent would follow the international format which began in the US and went to the UK. The US and UK shows air on Prime TV.

Auditions are performed in front of a live studio audience. Judges press a buzzer when they have seen enough. When all three judges have pressed the button, the auditionee must stop. Judges decide who goes through to the next round.

Paul Potts rose to fame after winning in the UK’s first season. Bianca Ryan, an 11 year old singer won the first season in the US.

Subsequent seasons will air this year in both countries.

Judges include: Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff.

If the shows came to New Zealand, do you think they would do well?

Which channel would you want it on? Who would you like to make it? Who would you like to host? Who would you want to judge?

This morning TVNZ put on a public launch of their new programme.

News: From Monday to Friday 6am – 9am, TVNZ News Now will run rolling bulletins. Each day of the week on the hour from 9am – 11pm, there will be a 10 minute TVNZ News Now update. TVNZ News at 8 is an hour long bulletin.

New Zealand shows (new and repeat viewings): Close Up, Best of Breakfast and Business, Waka Huia, Business Weekend, Best of Breakfast, Te Karere, Asia Downunder, Eye to Eye, Marae, Attitude, Tagata Pasifika, Rural delivery, Back Benches, Media 7 and 20/20 encore.

International: abc World News, From the BBC, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, World Doco of the week, Earth Report, Four Corners, Unreported World and Dateline.

Sport: each night from 5:30pm – 6pm and 6am – 9am weekends: Airsports World, Golf Today, Motorsport Mundial, ICC Cricket World, ATP Tennis, FIFA Futbol Mundial, Countdown to Beijing.

More details are coming shortly.