An investment of almost $8 million from NZ On Air will result in two innovative television projects for screening on TV2.
"We're talking drama - with a high-end thriller series about the power of a secretive cult," said NZ On Chief Executive Jane Wrightson, "and a new, afternoon children's programme with lots of fun and interaction with the audience."
The Cult is a 13-part, one-hour drama series produced by Great Southern Television. Personnel include Rachel Gardner (Apron Strings, Show of Hands) and Philip Smith (The Pretender, Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of New Zealand).
"The Cult is a fast-moving, tense drama series that follows the exploits of a group of New Zealanders trying to get their friends and family out of an all-consuming cult," said Ms Wrightson. "And that task proves to be easier said than done."
"There is a talented team of writers working on this programme - some of New Zealand's best," she said. "The A-team includes Kathryn Burnett, Nick Ward and Peter Cox - people responsible for programmes like The Strip and Street Legal, and The Insider's Guide to Happiness.
Funding has also been allocated to a new children's programme for broadcast on weekday afternoons on TV2. T.E.S.S is a pacey afternoon show for young New Zealanders, hosted by Erin Simpson.
"Erin is a popular children's presenter, who has become a fixture on New Zealand television in recent years," Ms Wrightson said.
"The programme promises a lot of fun for children in the afternoon, and will draw on technology to link its audience, providing them with new, interesting experiences. It's the first new daily show for this age group for some years."
Ms Wrightson said that one of the things NZ On Air loved about this proposal was that the producers billed the programme as 'the afternoon show for young people who don't want to be called a Kiwi or a kid'.
"It's all about treating young New Zealanders as citizens, with strong views on a number of issues," she said. "We think that's a welcome development."
The Cult $6,448,515
13 x 1 hour
Producer: Rachel Gardner, Philip Smith
Great Southern Television
150 x ½ hour
Producer: Janine Morrell-Gunn & Emma Gribble
Whitebait TV Ltd