Following on from recent announcements by TVNZ and MediaWorks (TV3 and Four), Prime unveiled its 2013 season line-up yesterday, and they're looking more competitive with the major networks than ever.

With new exclusive rights to programmes from America's CBS network, they've got a clutch of drama series with some big names attached.

One that may stand out for Kiwis is Jay Ryan who played Kevin in local hit series Go Girls. He'll star in a modern re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast as doctor Vincent Keller, who enlisted in the army only to have his DNA altered in such a way as to make him a beast, forcing him into hiding. He's still a nice guy underneath though, saving damsels in distress across New York - which is how Detective Catherine Chandler (played by Kristin Kreuk, best known for her role in Smallville) discovers his existence, and realises he's intertwined with her own past.

Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis star in Vegas, which continues America's current obsession with stylish dramas set in the 50s and 60s. They play nemeses in a battle for power in 1960s Vegas - Quaid as a rancher turned reluctant sheriff who's not happy about the swelling number of high rise casinos and escalating corruption, and Chiklis as a Chicago mob man determined to make Vegas his town.


Elementary is another re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes telling the famous stories in a modern setting - but unlike the BBC's version, Elementary makes Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller) a recovering alcoholic who's been sent to New York after falling from grace in London, and turns Dr Watson into a woman - an addiction specialist played by Lucy Liu.

Prime will also add two British drama series to its line-up - BBC series Prisoners' Wives, and medical drama Emily Owens MD - and fans of True Blood, Game of Thrones, Strike Back and Monroe will also be happy the shows are returning with new seasons. The channel is also wading into the current affairs sector by taking 60 Minutes from TV3 and local political discussion show Back Benches from TVNZ.

There will, of course, still be a strong emphasis on reality and lifestyle shows (Top Gear, River Cottage, Man vs Wild, various series revolving around Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and so on) and this is where Prime's new local content sits too, with shows like Shearing Gang, New Zealand From Above, and Christchurch doco series Aftermath. It's also adding to the overwhelming number of singing format shows on the box with American Idol and America's Got Talent, but those who fancy a bit of British musical fun will be delighted to find Prime has added award-winning, anarchic quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks to their line-up.

- TimeOut