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TV One Announces New Comedy Drama Series

For immediate release

TV ONE ANNOUNCES NEW COMEDY DRAMA SERIES

TV ONE has today announced that it is commissioning a major new comedy series, to be filmed later this year and screened in 2001.

To be called "Willy Nilly", it stars Mark Hadlow and Shaun Duffy as two eccentric and naïve brothers coming to terms with having to cope with life in a rural/small town community after the death of their domineering mother.

The General Manager of TV ONE, Shaun Brown, says it is a series ripe with comedic opportunity, a proven cast and based upon a very successful short film of the same name.

The scripts were developed by TVNZ, initially with the funding assistance of New Zealand on Air.

"However, having helped develop the project all the way to a stage ready to start filming, NZOA decided not to assist any further in the actual funding of the series on air," says Shaun Brown.

"Even though there is no public funding forthcoming for this local drama, TV ONE strongly believes in the project and the need to bring more New Zealand comedy to our screens. So this week we made the decision to fund it completely as a 7 half-hour prime time series," he says.

"Projects of this nature can cost in excess of a million dollars. While it may seem a risky genre given the difficulties faced by New Zealand comedy on television in recent years, TV ONE and TV2 are making the development of comedy a priority on both channels."

In another programming announcement, TV ONE and NZOA will be funding and screening seven half-hour prime time documentaries designed to tell Maori stories.

Shaun Brown says the idea is the brainchild of the new TV2 Head of Production, Geoff Steven.

Geoff Steven says "with most current Maori television production produced internally for TV ONE, we believe there is a need to offer an outlet for independent Maori producers to develop their skills outside of the TVNZ structure. This proposals offers emerging Maori producers such an opportunity."

Ends

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