Aussie cooks oust Kiwi drama The Blue Rose

By Amelia Wade

Antonia Prebble (left) and Siobhan Marshall appear in the TV3 drama The Blue Rose, which has lost its 8.30pm timeslot. Photo / Supplied
Antonia Prebble (left) and Siobhan Marshall appear in the TV3 drama The Blue Rose, which has lost its 8.30pm timeslot. Photo / Supplied

A local drama with $7 million of taxpayer backing has been bumped to a later slot after three weeks because it can't compete with an Aussie cooking show.

The Blue Rose, funded by NZ On Air on the basis it would be an "engaging prime-time series", was moved by TV3 to 9.30pm last week because of the "juggernaut" My Kitchen Rules.

But even after the move, its ratings are still slipping.

The South Pacific Pictures drama received $6.889 million in 2011 - 8.3 per cent of NZ On Air's television budget of $83.5 million that year. The grant was on the condition it screen during primetime - 7pm to 10pm.

"This project comes from the red hot pen of Rachel Lang and promises to be a fresh and engaging primetime series," NZ On Air said in its December 2011 newsletter.

The only show to receive more money was the second season of The Almighty Johnsons, another TV3 drama from South Pacific Pictures, which received $6.9 million.

Both shows promised 13 episodes of 60 minutes each.

But after just three weeks on the air, The Blue Rose was pushed back from its Monday 8.30pm timeslot to 9.30pm. TV3's director of programming, Mark Caulton, said the move was designed to "protect the success of the flagship drama, after changes to the wider Monday night line-up".

The fourth season of My Kitchen Rules was launched on TV2 last Monday and that night The Blue Rose lost 60,000 viewers. TV3 announced the change to The Blue Rose's timeslot on Thursday.

"The Blue Rose is the stand-out success story of this year's new local drama and comedy offerings," Mr Caulton said.

"We believe this move is the best way to ensure the show's ongoing success, with minimal disruption to viewers."

NZ On Air spokeswoman Gina Rogers said she could not comment on the move but the 9.30pm timeslot was still within primetime.

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