Outcry forces TV2 to screen 'darker' Terry Teo reboot in prime time

A "mature" reboot of the classic '80s kids show Terry Teo has been given a screening date following weeks of outcry by television critics.

TVNZ has been slammed for failing to screen the acclaimed six-part series - which received $1.3 million of NZ on Air funding - on broadcast television.

Instead, the show has been airing on TVNZ's On Demand platform, where its four episodes have been streamed 30,000 times since it debuted on July 12.

TVNZ has now confirmed Terry Teo will screen in a 7pm slot on Sunday on TV2 "later in the year".

"When we commissioned the show we had it pegged for our 6pm Sunday night children's drama slot on TV2. Only G rated entertainment shows can go to air at that time," said director of content Jeff Latch.

"As Terry Teo contains some strong language as well as guns and violence, it's been given a PGR rating and that places limits around the time it can air - essentially, it can't air before 7pm in primetime.

"Rather than wait until a 7pm slot came up we decided to make it available immediately OnDemand. Premiering a show OnDemand first helps us build audiences and that's why we do it with the majority of our dramas."

The move follows weeks of criticism from TV critics who heaped praise on the show and called on TVNZ to screen it in prime time.

Herald columnist Matt heath called it one of the best TV shows ever made in New Zealand and said TVNZ should be ashamed of the way it had handled it.

"After years of disappointing commissions, you'd think they would be popping the champagne when this turned up. Surely championing great shows is why you get into the business," Heath wrote.

Read more: TVNZ should be ashamed of themselves over Terry Teo

Kahn West as Terry Teo.
Kahn West as Terry Teo.

Writing for The Spinoff, Duncan Greive agreed, saying the controversy should force changes to the way local TV shows are funded.

And Herald critic Karl Puschmann said the show deserved to be "a smash hit".

"I'm no TV programmer but if I had a locally produced show of this calibre, with a positive and charismatic young Polynesian hero in the lead and a great multi-ethnic cast, I'd change whatever plans I had and get this thing on air sharpish."

Read more: What's the deal, TVNZ? Terry Teo could be a hit

NZ On Air's Chief Executive Jane Wrightson praised TVNZ's decision.

"We are very happy Terry Teo will screen in a prime time slot, as expected, but that it is also reaching audiences online. It's a win win."

Four episodes of Terry Teo are available On Demand, with the final two being made available next Tuesday.

• Watch Terry Teo here

- NZ Herald

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