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Two new prime time drama series and a new comedy panel show greenlit by NZ On Air

News: 7 July 2022

NZ On Air media release.

Local audiences have two new drama series to look forward to, showcasing stories that are grounded in Aotearoa and topical issues.

A new series for TVNZ 2 and TVNZ+, The Bishop centres on a charismatic young pastor who forms an unlikely alliance with a queer podcaster to challenge his father’s mega-church, with explosive results.

Funded for Three is Dry Creek, based in post-earthquake Kaikōura. Described as a fast-paced drama full of quintessential Kiwi optimism, the series explores a friendship that goes sour when a surrogacy deal goes wrong.

Also on Three will be a new, original format comedy panel series. Guy Montgomery's Guy-Mont Spelling Bee puts NZ comedians through their paces as they attempt to be crowned best speller in front of a live audience.

Returning for a second season on Prime is the Pax Assadi penned comedy Raised by Refugees. When a 14-year-old Pax is presented with the alcohol-fuelled adventures high school has to offer, he is confronted with a choice; dive into the adventure, or stay firm in his Bahá’í beliefs.

Image of the Assadi family from the comedy series 'Raised By Refugees', based on Pax Assadi’s childhood. Image is courtesy of NZ On Air.

And NZ’s top-rated comedy 7 Days will be back on Three, pitting top comedians against the week’s news and each other.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says it’s always exciting when new story ideas and creatives are emerging.

“We’re excited to see these timely and relevant New Zealand stories brought to life and we think both new dramas will resonate with local audiences. It’s also fantastic to be supporting comedians like Pax and Guy with greater opportunities to bring their talent to our screens,” she continued.

The first funding round of the new financial year saw 11 Scripted projects seeking $17.8m production funding.

Funding details

Dry Creek, 6 x 44 mins to Great Southern Television for Three, up to $6,652,204

The Bishop, 6 x 45 mins Warner Bros. Int. Television Production NZ for TVNZ 2, up to $5,551,956

Raised by Refugees 2, 6 x 22 mins, Kevin & Co for Prime, up to $1,371,655

7 Days 2023, 20 x 44 mins, Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ for Three, up to $1,097,926

Guy Montgomery’s Guy-Mont Spelling Bee, 8 x 44 mins, Kevin & Co for Three, up to $400,000.

Updated on 21st July 2022