Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Channel 4 rebrand in new reality TV tie-up

The Real Housewives of Melbourne Photo/Supplied
The Real Housewives of Melbourne Photo/Supplied

MediaWorks and America's NBCUniversal International Networks have formed a joint venture to turn Channel Four into an entertainment-lifestyle brand heavily weighted towards reality TV, for launch in July.

Bravo New Zealand will become the premier destination for reality or "unscripted" TV shows, focused on glamour, design, food and pop culture, the parties said.

Today's announcement confirms a Herald on Sunday report, which telegraphed the tie-up between the two media companies.

As part of the announcement, Bravo has commissioned The Real Housewives of Auckland, a local version of the popular reality TV franchise.

NBCUniversal International Studios' production company Matchbox Pictures - responsible for creating the popular The Real Housewives of Melbourne - has for the past five months been searching for New Zealand's privileged women for the local show, to premiere in August.

Bravo will also feature shows such as Million Dollar Listing (New York and Los Angeles), which follows the fortunes of three successful and aggressive real estate agents, Top Chef and The Real Housewives.

Other foreign reality TV shows Vanderpump Rules, Flipping Out, Southern Charm, Shahs of Sunset and Made in Chelsea will also form part of the programming line-up.

New series premieres in 2016 include Tour Group, Below Deck: Mediterranean, Aprs Ski, The Real Housewives of Potomac and The Real Housewives of Dallas.

Bravo New Zealand will be a standalone, NBC/MediaWorks entity, to be based at MediaWorks' Mt Eden offices.

MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon said the Bravo brand had been one of NBCU's big successes of the past decade.

"It has a coveted advertiser audience with highly talkable, engaging content that plays well on TV, and has substantial catch-up viewing audiences playing well into the binge-watching trends of our time."

Chris Taylor, NBCU's managing director for New Zealand and Australia, said Bravo would resonate well with New Zealanders.

Neither Taylor nor Weldon would comment on the ownership structure of Bravo NZ, or the kind of money involved. Weldon said it was a "complex arrangement" with both parties contributing assets into the new business.

As Bravo NZ, Channel Four will be aimed at adult viewers, with a skew towards women. From an advertiser's perspective, the channel will be aimed at the household shopper demographic.

Weldon said the success of The Bachelor had confounded critics, with the show enjoying high ratings, and high "talkability and engagement " levels.

NBCU has longstanding commercial relationships with MediaWorks and Sky Network TV.

- NZ Herald

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