Russell Baillie writes about movies for the Herald

TV3 shows strong hand with House of Cards among new series

TV3 is touting a raft of new shows resulting from a new studio supply deal as proof it's still a primetime player after its receivership.

Yesterday TV3 operator Mediaworks announced acquisition of five new shows from Sony Pictures Television including Emmy Awards frontrunner House of Cards. Some will air in the coming months with the rest to be part of the 2014 new season.

Starring Kevin Spacey, House of Cards is a remake of the British political drama series which earned nine Emmy nominations last week despite only being shown in the US on web view-on-demand service Netflix.

Mediaworks is also trumpeting Blacklist, a new show featuring former Boston Legal star James Spader as a wanted criminal who hands himself in to the FBI to turn informant.

The show, says MediaWorks TV director of programming Mark Caulton, "created some of the biggest buzz at this year's LA screenings".

It is due to start screening on NBC in the US in mid September and it is likely TV3 will air it here not long afterwards.

Other new shows destined for either TV3 or Four include Michael J Fox's return to sitcoms in The Michael J Fox Show in which he plays a news anchor with Parkinson's attempting to return to work; Us & Them, the American remake of the British comedy Gavin and Stacey; and Rake which stars Greg Kinnear in a remake of the edgy Australian series of the same name about a brilliant but self-destructive criminal lawyer.

Mediaworks also announced that popular Aussie soap Home and Away, which had been grabbed by TVNZ after the receivership, will be replaced by the Jamie Oliver cooking show Jamie's 15 Minute Meals in the 5.30pm slot which is regarded as an important lead-in to 3News.

Meanwhile, for next year's centennial commemoration of World War I, Prime Television has confirmed two "landmark" projects.

The Gibson Group has been commissioned to make the series War News, which reconfigures New Zealand WWI history as contemporary one-hour news bulletins.

Prime has also joined forces with Australian public broadcaster the ABC for the drama series Anzac Girls. It draws on the experiences of Anzac nurses at Gallipoli and is based on the book The Other Anzacs by Peter Rees.

NZ on Air has contributed $480,000 to the mini-series which will be filmed in South Australia with a cast that includes Antonia Prebble.

- NZ Herald

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