Wealth spreads to America
The Kiwi drama Filthy Rich is heading to the US market. The US studio 21st Century Fox has confirmed a pilot is in development of a US version of the series, to be written and directed by the writer-director of the film The Help, Tate Taylor. The original series is the story of a wealthy family who clash with three hitherto unknown heirs to the family fortune; it stars Miriama Smith, Josh McKenzie and Alex Tarrant. The series was notable in New Zealand as it was the country's most expensive television drama ever produced, inclusive of a NZ$8.25M grant by the funding agency New Zealand On Air. Two seasons of the series have aired in New Zealand.
Thrones bested in battle
Stranger Things, Netflix's homage to '80s childhoods everywhere - served with a dash of Dungeons and Dragons on the side - has emerged as the platform's strongest title and is on the way to contesting Game of Thrones' domination of the airwaves. (Game of Thrones, you may recall, has only just displaced The Walking Dead to take the top position on the totem pole). Though actual ratings numbers are nebulous in the streaming world, the second season premiere of Stranger Things drew 750,409 social media engagements across major platforms, inching towards the record set by Game of Thrones' penultimate season premiere, which drew over 1.1 million. The show's audience was mostly under 34, with 18-34-year-olds dominating three quarters of the data.
House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, who has become enmeshed in the sexual harassment scandal which is sweeping through Hollywood, will be denied the honour of receiving the International Emmy Awards' Founders Award. The award, given out annually, is a lifetime achievement award and is considered the highest honour bestowed by the International Television Academy. "The International Academy has announced that in light of recent events it will not honour Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award," the industry body said in a statement. Past recipients of the award include Steven Spielberg, Matthew Weiner, J.J. Abrams and Shonda Rhimes.
Fox cancels deal with Ten
In one of the most dramatic twists in the saga which has seen the Ten Network acquired by the US network CBS, rival US studio 21st Century Fox has cancelled its output deal with Ten. The deal dates back almost three decades and has seen some of Ten's mainstay titles, including The Simpsons, depart the network's schedule. Other affected titles include Modern Family, the drama This Is Us and the reboot of The X-Files. The deal was worth more than $350 million, but has been ripped up in the wake of Ten changing hands and the planned takeover by Fox's Lachlan Murdoch being thwarted by CBS. The output deal, one of the few remaining in the Australian market, was due to expire in 2019.