Couch potatoes face reality TV overload, with more than 250 primetime hours hitting our screens this year.
Kiwis are already being fed a steady diet, with Our First Home and The X Factor NZ going head-to-head three nights a week. With help from Australia's MasterChef and The Bachelor, those glued to the screen were exposed to almost 14 hours of reality TV last week. And brace yourself New Zealand ... more is on the way.
The Bachelor NZ will premiere on TV3 this month, with the network's other offerings for the year including former TVNZ staple MasterChef NZ and a fourth season of The Block NZ.
As well as Our First Home, the state broadcaster will debut House Hunters this winter. The eight-part show follows people trying to get on the property ladder. A second season of My Kitchen Rules NZ will follow.
And that's without counting emergency services programmes such as Piha Rescue and Motorway Patrol.
While some might wince at the onslaught, it's good news for reality TV addicts such as Dunedin academic Rosemary Overell.
The University of Otago media and cultural studies lecturer watches up to 40 hours of the genre a week.
"It's pretty much all I watch ... I find it more real and authentic. I grew up watching soaps, but once you go back to that it seems so stagey. I think real dialogue and the banality of it ... is much more endearing."
She was enjoying The X Factor NZ, but her favourite was Big Brother Australia. Overell said the troubled on-screen romance of contestants Anthony Drew and Tully Smyth even helped her navigate her marriage break-up in 2013. "I did kind of look at my life through the lens of these people I didn't even know."
Reality TV has changed the way we see ourselves, and even the words we use, she said.
"I hear it with the students, [phrases like] 'You're fired' and 'Make it work'."
TVNZ general manager of commissioning production and acquisition Andrew Shaw said reality TV in New Zealand was now a "multi-night event" and the genre's loyal audience made it attractive to networks and advertisers.
Hundreds of reality shows were pitched each year, including dozens of homegrown ones.
"Everybody in the production business is trying to get on board this train while it's still working."
MediaWorks Group entertainment content director Andrew Szusterman said audiences loved reality TV.
"It's locally made event TV that families and flatmates alike can watch together, tweet about and enjoy."
Take a leaf out of a TV addict's viewing diary
Thursday, February 19
Project Runway via the internet: This isn't airing in New Zealand right now but it will be shortly and features Wellingtonian Sean Kelly. Like many American reality TV offerings it is formulaic and contained but slick editing and canned muzak make for easy viewing. Kelly certainly appears to embody all the Kiwi myths about ingenuity and upstart hobbits. At one point he even claims his designs are more "pure" than the American contestants due to growing up in an "isolated" country.
Went out, no telly.
Went out, no telly.
The X Factor NZ on TV3: Singing contests are a funny one. The saccharine covers that make up the fodder are generally considered the lowest form of pop. But there's something comforting in a karaoke-style version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. What I enjoy most is the drama with the judges. They have so much brass and ego - but they are always washed-up pop singers. I especially enjoyed the Soul Sisters' backchat to the judges on Tuesday's episode. Even mild-mannered Stan Walker was caught in the crossfire as one sister refused to believe their version of Natural Woman was abominable.
Our First Home on TV One: This show is resonant as it tackles the insanity of the Auckland property market and the difficulty people of my generation have when buying a home. The inter-generational bickering satisfies my hankering for 'real life' soap drama. But I can't help noticing the whiteness and hetero-normativity of this programme - not to mention the assumption there is something inherently Kiwi about owning a building on a patch of land.
The X Factor NZ on TV3 plus 1: This was the episode where Shae Brider made an appearance. What seemed like a run of the mill hard luck story ended up being much darker. The dependence on stories of tragedy for building authenticity is interesting. To channel the 'singing from the heart' vibe essential to gaining a standing ovation from Walker, auditionees apparently need a tale of woe.
Our First Home on TV One and The X Factor NZ on TV3 plus 1.
The Block: Triple Threat on the internet: I am a Melburnian so I have a soft spot for all things Block-related. This one is airing in Australia at the moment (The Block Fans vs Faves is on TV3 here). I particularly enjoy the posturing of WAG Deanne Jolly (back from The Block: Glasshouse). Although the experts on Our First Home advise against pelmets for curtains, they are all the rage in this Toorak-based Block season. Watch this space - Kiwi TV will be full of pelmets next year.