TV3 makes play for older viewers with C4 shakeup

By Beck Vass

Tyra Banks of America's Next Top Model. Photo / Supplied
Tyra Banks of America's Next Top Model. Photo / Supplied

Fans of America's Next Top Model and The Simpsons, which now screen on TV3, will no longer be pressing "3" on their remotes from early next year.

The channel changeover is part of a rebranding by Mediaworks, which owns TV3 and C4, as the broadcaster tries to attract older viewers.

Mediaworks TV chief executive Jason Paris announced yesterday that the network was giving the mostly music C4 channel a shakeup, making its content more mainstream and renaming it "Four".

"Four will be a channel which appeals to anyone looking for great entertainment," Mr Paris said.

"Everything the channel does will be entertainment. No news, sport or information, just pure escapism."

The C4 relaunch aims to widen the range of programming to attract a more mature audience, as the age range of the target audience increases from 15-39 to 18-49.

New programmes include Community, in which comedian Joel McHale plays a lawyer forced to go to community college to get a real qualification after his degree was found to be fraudulent.

Also included is drama series The Gates, set in a neighbourhood with a "dark and delicious" secret, and Top Chef: Just Desserts - a spin-off of the Emmy-winning Top Chef series.

The Simpsons and America's Next Top Model will be moved from TV3 to Four from early next year, although exact dates are not yet known.

TV3 will now be aimed at those aged 25-54 (up from the 18-49 bracket) and programmes on the way to lure viewers include law-and-order series Hawaii Five-0, a remake of a cult-classic which began in 1968, and The Defenders, a comedy-drama about two colourful Las Vegas defence lawyers, starring Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell.

Adding to the comedy, James May's Man Lab will see television presenter May on a mission to return modern men to the "resourceful, practical and dependable band of brothers" they were 30 years ago, saving themselves from their reputation today as "useless, half-drunk and unreliable oafs".

New Zealand content will include The Almighty Johnsons, starring Tim Balme and created by South Pacific Pictures, the makers of Outrageous Fortune.

The series is about four brothers, raised in heartland New Zealand, who are "sort of" superheroes but also typical Kiwi blokes who like to have a few beers with their mates.

"It has become clear [to us] that these two target audiences are where the biggest potential lies," Mr Paris said.

TVNZ will announce its 2011 line-up on November 8.

- NZ Herald

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