New Zealand production company Pukeko Pictures and ITV have secured a deal with China's giant state broadcaster CCTV, to screen the Thunderbirds series.

Wellington based Pukeko made the programme for the UK broadcaster and has a share in the intellectual property rights.

A start date for the Chinese broadcasts is expected soon, and Pukeko is now making the third series of the rebooted 1960s show.

Pukeko chief executive Clive Spink says the deal with its Chinese distribution partner Huawen Century has been a boon and Pukeko is working on four projects for the Chinese TV market.


Part-owned by Sir Richard Taylor, Pukeko has been a big supporter of the NZ Film Commission's China co-production push.

With Chinese co-production partners, it is producing an animated series called The WotWot Kiddets - 52, 11-minutes episodes, with more series to come.

TV3 rebrand

MediaWorks bosses know better than anyone that the rebranding of TV3 will not send viewers racing to the channel.

After 14 years it's a marketing must-do - more housekeeping than a renovation.

The channel's new look is good for at least one thing: drawing a line under the upheavals from 2014 into 2016. Those bad years led to an exodus of staff, and in my mind, left the faint smell of defeat hanging around TV3, though that has diminished over the past six months.

The last makeover was in 2003, when Netflix and Apple TV did not exist, and free to air TV was still dominant.

Justin Mowday is chief executive of DDB, the ad agency for Sky TV. He says it is probably time for a rebrand, not just for viewers, but to help bring in business from advertisers, and for staff. Rebrands allow staff to put the past behind them, says Mowday, as was apparent with the rebranding of Telecom as Spark in August 2014.

A new look might help, but at their heart TV channels are about programming. TV3 is reported to be shifting its focus from news to entertainment and the programming changes involve new formats that mix the two categories.


Next week TV3 will launch The AM Show, the simulcast radio and TV breakfast programme replacing Paul Henry. Expect an ensemble cast with Duncan Garner sharing the set with Amanda Gillies, and Mark Richardson performing the hi-jinx once led by Henry.

The AM Show has a hard task competing with the memory of Henry, who resigned last year, though he has committed to guest spots on another new TV3 show, The Project.

TV3 will launch The Project on February 20. The local version of an award winning Australian comedy news format, this is MediaWorks' latest effort to revive the 7pm timeslot that never recovered from the end of Campbell Live.

MediaWorks has high hopes for personable weather woman Kanoa Lloyd, who presents The Project alongside Jesse Mulligan and Josh Thomson.

The proof of the pudding will be in the viewing, and I wonder who will provide the newsy edge that makes the Australian Project a success. Maybe tabloid political editor Paddy Gower will be a regular?

How will TV One and Seven Sharp adapt to The Project? The danger, it strikes me, is that Seven Sharp will turn to more chit-chat between Mike Hosking and Toni Street. TV One may think they have a star, while TV3 does not. But in my opinion, you can have too much of the Mike and Toni banter - and that won't bring in new viewers.

Jackson action

Willie Jackson says he will review his roles with Maori media organisations once it is clear whether he will be elected to Parliament on the Labour list.

He has ended three on-air gigs: on TV One's Marae, alongside Alison Mau on RadioLive, and his show on Radio Waatea. Jackson is chief executive of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, where he oversees Waatea with Waipareira Trust chief executive and business associate John Tamihere.

Jackson holds several roles in Maori media. He is chairman of the National Maori Radio Network, with 21 stations, and a member of the recently created Te Matawai, which does work in Maori broadcasting, though he says he will soon stand down from that role.

Jackson has a finger in many pies, which is probably why Labour has chosen to give him a high place on its list. He can be both belligerent and charming.

Labour Party women and Left activists have lamented Labour's decision, after a blunt RadioLive interview in 2013, in which Jackson and Tamihere talked to a girl named "Amy" about sexual abuse.

In the resulting row, social media activists encouraged advertisers to boycott RadioLive. The show was taken off air, but an internal RadioLive inquiry found there was no breach of broadcasting rules, and there was no complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Tamihere's RadioLive contract was not renewed, he took legal action against MediaWorks and the case was subsequently settled.