Prime & SoHo: what's new in 2013

Following on from their competitors, Prime TV had their new season launch this week*, giving a debut to a couple of big changes, and a rather exciting lineup of new shows (led by Elementary, on which the channel themed their invitations), that look set to bring the network into more direct competition with TV One and TV3.

The first big change is that Prime have added a few recognisable names to the lineup: 60 Minutes, a notable omission from TV3's lineup (we were told they would be rejigging the show for the new year), is coming to Prime in 2013, alongside the new season of American Idol, which TV2 decided not to pick up; Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban join the judging panel for this new season, a shake-up for the aging show.

Prime have also done the country a huge favour by resurrecting Back Benches, the wonderfully unique political show that was left homeless after the demise of TVNZ7 this year.

The second big change is that Prime are taking advantage of their first ever output deal - after TV3 cut ties with CBS (deciding to put the money into local content, which is why they had so many new local shows), Prime snatched up the deal and get first look at any new shows CBS might produce.

This means that Prime will be the home of Elementary, a high-rating US-made take on Sherlock Holmes, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson respectively, that looks as though it might actually be pretty good; Vegas, a high-rating period drama about a rancher-turned-sheriff bringing order to 1960s Las Vegas, starring Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis and Carrie-Anne Moss; Friend Me, a sitcom about two friends from Indiana who try to eke out a living in Los Angeles, starring Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse; Beauty & The Beast, the laughable take on the fairy tale starring our own Jay Ryan; and Emily Owens MD, a poorly received medical drama starring Mamie Gummer as a doctor who is still stuck in a high-school mindset, guaranteeing I'll watch as little as humanly possible.

Prime have also picked up Death in Paradise, a British fish-out-of-water drama about a detective sent to the Caribbean island of Sainte-Marie to investigate a murder, and popular British musical quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, to join returning shows like True Blood, brilliant British medical drama Monroe, Prisoners' Wives, Silent Witness, free-to-air debut of Game of Thrones S2, Strike Back, Midsomer Murders, and much more.

The third big change is a foray into locally made reality and informational shows, like Sex & Agriculture: The Exponents Story; cooking show Sachie's Kitchen, hosted by Sachie Nomura; New Zealand From Above, a documentary that promises a "bird's eye view of the rich variety of landscapes" in our country; Making New Zealand, a documentary series exploring the construction of infrastructure; Animal Science, about the veterinary school at Massey University, Palmerston North; and Aftermath, a series looking at the mood in Christchurch nearly two years after the big quake.

These shows join returning reality and informational shows like Top Gear, America's Got Talent, Masterchef USA, Man Vs Wild, River Cottage, Shearing Gang, and more.

A smaller lineup of new shows than most of the other networks, sure. But a pretty solid lineup - and plenty of shows (especially Elementary, Vegas and the return of Monroe) which I'll be looking forward to in the new year.

Before I go, and since I don't really have anywhere else to stash this nugget of a paragraph: SoHo doesn't have its own season launch, and they weren't involved in Prime's launch at all since they aren't formally connected - and given the quick turnaround they've been doing on new shows, I can't tell you too much about their plans in 2013 because, well, even they don't know their plans in 2013 yet.

However, I can tell you that January is looking good: for a start, the second season of Lena Dunham's hilarious comedy Girls starts on January 17, a few days behind its USA debut (January 14 local); Hunted, an action series from former X-Files writer Frank Spotnitz, starring Melissa George as a private security operative on the run, makes its debut on January 6; our own Antony Starr heads the cast of Banshee, an action series about a thief who takes over as sheriff of a small Pennsylvania town - the show was brought to TV by Alan Ball (True Blood, Six Feet Under) and starts on January 15, three days behind the USA; and Durham County, a Canadian crime drama, gets going on January 9.

I also have it on good authority that plenty of returning favourites will be back in the new year, including Game of Thrones (starting on April 1 in the USA), The Newsroom, Dexter, Mad Men and Veep.

So, there you have it, my third and final look at what is coming up in 2013 - a year that promises to be packed full of goodness across all our major channels. I can't wait!

What do you think of Prime's new lineup? Or the coming shows on SoHo? Anything you're looking forward to?

(*) In case you missed them, TV3/Four had theirs a couple of weeks ago, and TVNZ had theirs last week.

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