Reality TV channel Bravo is to launch in New Zealand as a free to air channel in July, under a joint venture between Bravo owner and distributor NBC Universal and NZ broadcaster MediaWorks, teh partners said Tuesday. Its the first time anywhere in the world that Bravo will operate as a free to air network.
Part of the deal includes commissioning of an NZ version of Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise, with NBCU’s Australian production company Matchbox Pictures, scouting the nation’s largest city for the last five months to find the cast for The Real Housewives of Auckland.
The channel, which will replace NZ’s youth channel FOUR, will be programmed for New Zealand, and feature shows such as Million Dollar Listing, Top Chef, Shahs of Sunset, Flipping Out and The Real Housewives. New series to premiere in 2016 include Tour Group, Below Deck: Mediterranean, Après Ski, The Real Housewives of Potomac and The Real Housewives of Dallas.
In a statement NBCU said “This new JV is a major milestone for NBCUniversal International’s business in New Zealand as the company invests in local growth in the region to compete even more effectively and build profile with local advertisers and viewers”. Bravo New Zealand will be headquartered at MediaWorks’ Auckland offices.
The deal was announced by Chris Taylor, managing director, New Zealand & Australia, NBCUniversal International Distribution & Networks, and Mark Weldon, CEO, MediaWorks.
“Asia-Pacific is an important growth region for NBCUniversal International and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to invest further in New Zealand,” Belinda Menendez, President, NBCUniversal International Distribution & Networks said. “Having enjoyed a long-standing, strong relationship with MediaWorks, we are excited to expand our relationship in order to bring Bravo – a premier free-to-air entertainment-lifestyle channel – to the market.”
“We are delighted to introduce one of the most popular TV brands in the U.S. to New Zealand – and we look forward to partnering with Mark and the MediaWorks team to bring this exciting channel to life,” Taylor added. “Bravo is a brand that we know will resonate well with New Zealanders – both viewers and advertisers, alike.”