The recent ratings failure of the TVNZ 1 series “Dirty Laundry” leaves TVNZ and New Zealand On Air with a dilemma over the future of New Zealand drama. TVNZ needs a hit. Zagzigger.com pointed out on October 14 that the show was in trouble (Dirty Laundry On Line), and it never really found an audience. The TVNZ2 predecessor, “Filthy Rich” also did not rate very well, and had mixed reviews. But Filthy Rich viewership held up on TVNZ On Demand. NZ On Air says it had a loyal audience. As a result, it agreed to fund a second series.
I saw some of the same faults in Dirty Laundry that were apparent in Filthy Rich. They seemed like same old, same old. It would be easy to get despondent There is nothing sillier than making the same mistake over and over again. But unlike some media folk I’m not keen on walking away from TV drama altogether, Making drama is hard work. And many in the TV world believe that the problem is that TVNZ commissioners are caught up in an eighties time warp. The bulk of the money for kiwi dramas comes from taxpayers, but the networks are nervous about trying things that are new.Maybe so. But f they continue to play it too safe -and it creates a third underwhelming series in a row – people may start giving up.
I hear TVNZ has a promising new drama in development that is expected to be quite different to Filthy Rich and Dirty Laundry. Fingers crossed it is not called Grubby Feet.