The Grand Plan

Prime held their New Season launch for 2012 on Tuesday at the Langham in Auckland and of the three networks, it was by far the flashest.  Themed around their hit Emmy Award winning series Downton Abbey, guests arrived to high tea complete with curtsying help at the door.

The Great Room at the Langham is an excellent venue at any time and it definitely suited the theme.

And the food was divine.

Unless you worked in advertising though, you weren’t really there for the food and the excuse to get out of the office for a couple of hours.

Before we were introduced to what was in store for Prime in 2012, Karen Bieleski, Prime’s programmer got up to say a few words.  Her speech was priceless and started off with a quote from Fox’s head of scheduling about what a programmer does.

Our job is to build the house so you can change the furniture once in awhile. You don’t want the furniture to get stale, worn and unattractive but nor do you want to buy a complete new set every few months.

It was a quote that set the tone for what was coming next; the not so subtle mocking of recent programming decisions at TVNZ.

Bold scheduling moves get all the media attention, yet I would argue that the best schedule is one that features the least amount of change: predictability is an audience’s best friend

One couldn’t possibly imagine what Karen was referring to.

Once we find a show and slot that work together, our preference is always to stick with it.  New Top Gear plays Sunday at 7.30.  Cooking shows play Tuesday 7.30 and 8.00.  Murders play Saturday 8.30.  If we start Torchwood Thursday 9.30, the series will finish its run Thursday 9.30.  If Downton Abbey performs well Tuesday 8.30 for series one, you can be pretty sure that’s where series two will be.

If we ever find something that works at 7.00, you know we’ll be sticking with it till the end of time!

And then there was the final dig at recent changes to Sunday and Monday nights on that other channel.

Without Prime, free-to-air viewers would have much more limited choices – like whether to sit down with the family to enjoy Embarrassing Celebrity Aircrashes or to switch over just in time to catch the premiere of Oh No! My Fat Pet Can’t Dance.

Very entertaining indeed.  But let’s take a look at what is coming to the Prime schedule in 2012.

Wild Boys


Downton Abbey
Paul Merton in Europe
Expedition Impossible
Junior Masterchef Australia
Case Sensitive: The Point of Rescue

Arctic with Bruce Parry
The Sinking of the Laconia

Case Histories

True Blood
Boardwalk Empire


New Tricks
DCI Banks

Upstairs Downstairs

Silent Witness
Midsomer Murders
Prisoner Wives
History Under the Hammer (Local Series)
Australia’s Got Talent
Masterchef USA
The Restaurant Inspector

Country House Rescue

Antiques Roadshow
Top Gear USA
Shearing Gang (Local Series)


Deal or No Deal
Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Vacation, Vacation, Vacation
The Grand Plan (Local Documentary)
A Shocking Reminder (Local Documentary)
Secret War
True Stories
Prime Rocks
Prime Presents
Prime News: First at 5:30
The Crowd Goes Wild
London 2012 Olympic Games
Man vs Wild
Top Gear
Doctor Who
America’s Got Talent