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"The Point" Drama Series Cancelled

8 March, 2007

"The Point" Drama Series Cancelled

TVNZ and NZ On Air have decided not to proceed with the production of the planned local drama series The Point.

TVNZ Head of Television, Jeff Latch, and NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jane Wrightson, said in a joint statement today that both organisations had come to the conclusion that the weekday drama series The Point was not feasible financially.

"Discussions with some of the leading contenders for the production contract for The Point, and assessment of the cost of producing the draft scripts, indicated that we could not produce a high enough quality show for the available funding," Mr Latch said.

"Proceeding at the planned budget level would have resulted in a series that did not meet TVNZ's or NZ On Air's quality expectations. It would not have been prudent for TVNZ to invest more money in this idea as it would have compromised the budgets for other prime time drama and comedy."

Of the $12 million budgeted for The Point, $3.5 million was direct government funding and $8.5 million was allocated by NZ On Air.

Mr Latch said about $600,000 of the $3.5 million direct government funding had already been spent on developing scripts for The Point and these would be kept and evaluated, possibly adapting them for a future prime time programme. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage will work with TVNZ to ensure that the remaining $2.9 million is now diverted to other local drama and comedy initiatives.

Ms Wrightson said no NZ On Air funding had actually been drawn down. The full funding commitment will be reversed and the money will now be available for other contestable initiatives.

She said NZ On Air supported TVNZ's decision that proceeding with The Point was too expensive an undertaking.

"The jointly run TVNZ and NZ On Air evaluation process has come to the conclusion that The Point can not be produced for the funds allocated. To deliver a production that met our quality expectations would require more funds.

NZ On Air believes further allocation of public funds to The Point is too difficult. While The Point was initially a good idea, the obstacles now seem too great, in this case, for us to feel comfortable continuing with the project."

Mr Latch said that TVNZ would continue to explore options for the TV ONE 5.30pm slot.

ENDS

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