The Wire

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The Wire actor Michael K Williams has told of how he was using drugs while on the set of the critically-acclaimed drama. He told the New Jersey Star Ledger: “I had to slip away to do drugs. I had to hide it. I’d be gone for days at a time. I was lonely in that part of my life. I was broke, broken and beat up. Exhausted. Empty.” Continue reading »

The wait is over for fans of quality television as SKY announces new premium entertainment channel.

SKY subscribers will soon have access to the very best in quality entertainment and drama from across the globe when SKY launches SoHo, a brand new premium channel at the end of October.

SKY Television CEO John Fellet said the company’s investment in standout content will truly differentiate SKY’s customer offering.

“We agree with some media commentators who state New Zealanders are missing out on quality television and we’re proud to be doing something about this. While other networks are ignoring critically-acclaimed content, we are delighted to be offering it a home in this country,”

“The launch of SoHo, a dedicated channel for the discerning television fan, enables us to offer a compelling selection of content for the engaged viewer who wants more  intelligent, dramatic, provocative and distinctive programming choices. For many New Zealanders this will become their favourite channel,” he said.

SoHo’s broad spectrum of content offers something for everyone

Travis Dunbar, SKY’s Director of Entertainment Content said much of the programming to be broadcast on SoHo has never screened in New Zealand before and will feature consistently in easily accessible primetime slots.

“Viewers can rest assured that as well as bringing them the best television on the planet as soon as it is available to us, we will remain committed to these programmes throughout their run, so they’ve no need to worry about their favourite being dropped mid-season or moved to an inaccessible timeslot,” he said.

SoHo will feature an outstanding content line up, with the main criteria for programming acquisition being originality, quality and distinction. This includes the highly-anticipated Game of Thrones, the fantasy drama starring Sean Bean based on the series of books ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin; the dark and disturbing American reimagining of the Danish masterpiece The Killing; thrilling six-part BBC spy drama The Hour set in a 1950’s newsroom where the reporters become embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy; BBC’s noir thriller The Shadow Line about a murder investigation; Hell on Wheels, AMC’s upcoming American period drama set during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad; series 2 of the critically acclaimed prohibition-era drama Boardwalk Empire; Treme, following a group of New Orleans residents rebuilding their city and lives following Hurricane Katrina, and the Michael Mann directed horse-racing drama Luck starring Dustin Hoffman.

“SoHo is proud to also host new episodes of drama that has been abandoned by other networks with continuation of series such as Rescue Me and will also reintroduce viewers to classic iconic content such as The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Sopranos. All available content will be screened in HD, with the exception of some classic library content which is only available in standard definition,” said Mr Dunbar.

Programming is structured around a 6.5 hour block of content which plays four times in each 24 hour period. Key series will screen twice each week in primetime and SoHo will feature a Box Set Weekend every week, where back to back episodes of full seasons of iconic series will air. Box Set Weekends scheduled at launch include the latest season of True Blood, 2010’s award-winning first season of Boardwalk Empire, season 5 of Dexter and the original season of HBO’s The Wire.
While the combined launch schedule of SoHo is predominantly content made for pay television, representing less than 5% of all the series made in the US market each year, it is over-represented in nominations for Emmy’s, Golden Globes and Critics-Choice Awards. SoHo will launch at 3pm on Monday October 31st on SKY Channel 010. All content will air uncut and uninterrupted. SoHo will be available free to all SKY Subscribers for that day and throughout the calendar month of November, following which it will be available to all SKY Basic Subscribers as a premium channel for an additional $9.99 per month.

SoHo Secures Exclusive Deal with HBO

As part of the SoHo launch, SKY is delighted to confirm an exclusive content deal with Home Box Office (HBO), a multi-year, multi-platform deal which will see SKY become The Home of HBO in New Zealand.

Travis Dunbar said the HBO output deal adds great value and quality to SKY’s entertainment programming across a number of platforms. Under the agreement all new HBO content including series, mini-series, films, documentaries and comedy specials will be broadcast exclusively, in both standard and high definition, across all SKY platforms. The deal also incorporates free-to-air broadcast rights for Prime Television.

“Our agreement with HBO, a company with an outstanding reputation for critically-acclaimed original programming made specifically for pay-TV, shows our commitment to provide the best pay-TV experience for our customers,”

“This output deal is our company’s first of this size for exclusive series content. HBO produces a small number of quality cable shows each year and our commitment is to purchase all of their new content on an annual basis. This exclusive arrangement will form the backbone of the programming content for SoHo,” said Mr Dunbar, adding the HBO content will be complemented with additional exclusive and quality first run series from both the US and UK markets.

“Series such as True Blood which have found their natural home on Prime will continue to be available to our free-to-air viewers and our deal allows us the flexibility to provide Prime with other terrific drama content to supplement their schedule,” he said.

“We are flattered to be a part of this huge commitment by SKY to create a home for such distinguished programming,” added Jennifer Bowen, senior vice president, HBO International Sales. “It is SKY’s creativity and innovation that makes them a perfect partner for HBO.”

As well as available across SKY’s entertainment platforms, HBO content will also be accessible to SKY customers through iSKY.

SoHo at a glance

• SoHo will launch on Monday 31 October at 3.00pm
• SoHo will be available on SKY Channel 010
• SoHo will screen uninterrupted, un-cut HD quality content
• Exclusive deal with HBO will see all new HBO productions including series, mini-series, documentaries and comedy specials broadcast across SKY platforms including pay channels, free-to-air on Prime and on iSKY.
• SoHo scheduled content is uncut and commercial free. Programming runs in a six hour block and each programme will air two days a week.
• Approximately 90 seconds commercial airtime per hour between scheduled programming
• Free to all SKY Subscribers from 31 October 2011 – 30 November 2011
• Monthly subscription fee from 1 December 2011 of $9.99 per month
• HD programming will be accessible for subscribers with MY SKY HDi and HD Ticket.
• The majority of content will be broadcast in HD, with the exception of some classic library content which is only available in SD.
• iSKY catch up available as well as library content.

SoHo launch programming at a glance
• New content includes Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Treme, The Killing, The Hour, Rescue Me, Dexter, In Treatment, Weeds, How to Make it In America, Luck, Girls, Bored to Death, Hell On Wheels, Pillars Of The Earth, Camelot
• Premium library content includes The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Entourage, True Blood, Mad Men, The Wire

Talk of new Underbelly series

There is talk of a new Underbelly series for 2011 being set in Sydney during the 1920s, a time when crooks armed themselves with razors as opposed to handguns. The buzz is around a new season of the Channel Nine series featuring gangs of razor-wielding crooks who operated in the Darlinghurst/Kings Cross area during a time when pistol licensing laws made it easier for crims to choose blades over bullets.

Writer accuses MTV of stealing Jersey Shore concept

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Uni offers course on The Wire

A Baltimore university has begun offering a course based on critically acclaimed drama series The Wire. The John Hopkins University has launched the class which uses the show as a base to explore issues affecting US cities including drug use and crime with guest lecturers including the show’s creator David Simon.

Ugly Betty actor claims God was involved in murder

The former Ugly Betty actor who killed his mother last week with a samurai sword has insisted he was “doing the work of God”. Michael L. Brea has claimed that voices in his head ordered him to attack his mum after a “demon” took her soul.  

If you’re a fan of The Wire, you’ll be pleased to you know that its creator and writer are about to launch their new show on HBO and it sounds incredible.

Treme is about the rebuilding of New Orleans, post Hurricane Katrina, as seen through the eyes of local musicians.   It’s said to cover political corruption, the public housing controversy, the criminal-justice system and the tourism industry problems.

Oh and what’s more, it includes some of the cast from The Wire too: Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters plus Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, Melissa Leo, Rob Brown and Steve Zahn.

Check out the trailer:

As a side note, over this summer, we’ve been watching HBO’s The Wire for the first time after regularly hearing about how it’s the “best TV drama ever”.  When it screened in NZ it was at some insane hour – in the middle of the night on TV2 on a school night.  We’re half way through Season 2 and while it’s sometimes a little slow, it is incredible storytelling, gritty realistic flawed characters, full of layers of societies problems and complexities.