Someone save the NZ TV Awards!

Last updated 12:49 15/02/2013

The NZ TV Awards got cancelled on Tuesday night* - organisers ThinkTV released a statement that simply said "ThinkTV, the convenor of the 2012 New Zealand Television Awards, has announced the end of the annual Awards following discussions with its major partners TVNZ and MediaWorks."

20130215In a news report, the Herald spoke to TVNZ spokesperson Georgie Hills, who said that TVNZ had withdrawn their support because the awards "had become a two-horse race between TVNZ and TV3", which isn't really fair given the number of awards given to Maori TV at the 2012 awards. Blame was also placed on the loss of a sponsor in 2011.

But I don't really care about why the awards failed. I want to know how we can get them back.

We have a great television industry in this country. We're punching way above our weight in terms of the number of productions, and the quality of those productions. It would be a shame not to recognise those achievements somehow, especially considering the number of new productions getting off the ground in 2013.

It seems clear that part of the reason the awards failed was cost; the 2012 edition ran at a loss, and organisers weren't happy with the relative lack of coverage compared to the Vodafone Music Awards - though, as I wrote last year, part of the blame lays with its publicist; I don't like blowing my own trumpet, but when a guy who writes about TV as regularly as I do has no idea your TV award ceremony is taking place in a week, you're doing your publicity wrong.

Most of those ideas still stand, too.

If you want a telly-friendly ceremony, you have to get rid of all those technical awards. Please know that I think all you cameramen and editors and reporters and makeup folk are doing important work, but the ceremony is just too long if you include all those categories. I think these awards should be handed out at a separate technical ceremony run before the main awards, with the winners announced and honoured at the televised TV Awards ceremony.

I still think that mini-series, drama series and comedy series need to be separated; you could almost follow the Golden Globes in deciding on categories: have a Best Show, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Writing award for each discipline, then Best Director, Best Music, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards that draw from all three.

Those awards would all be part of the telecast, along with some of the other well-known categories - Best Factual Series, Best Constructed Reality Series, Best News/Current Affairs Presenter, Best Entertainment/Reality Host. Add a host (wouldn't Guy Williams be perfect for something like this?!) and you've got yourself a stew goin' show.

The question is, though, whether anyone could actually organise such an event. After the press release came out, I emailed ThinkTV's Rob Hoar and asked if an independent group could run the awards - his response was "not in the current format. Possibly with a shorter, more viewer orientated format. The current format was designed to be industry focused so has limited public appeal. Consequently, it has limited appeal to non-industry sponsors."

I think that an independent group organising the awards, and trying to make the ceremony a "viewer orientated" experience, could get the NZ TV Awards back on track. I'm too small to get it done on my own, and a few of the other voices calling for a revised awards will need support to get anything off the ground, too.

So, consider this blog post a challenge to organisations or media outlets, which operate separate from the major networks and channels in this country: let's get the awards back on track - our local television industry is too good to let a year, or several years, go past without recognising that excellence.

How do you think we could get the NZ TV Awards back on track?

(*) They actually got cancelled on the same night that Campbell Live beat Seven Sharp for the first time, and TV3 beat TV One at 7pm for the first time ever. I'm just mentioning this because WOW.

- - - - -

It's a comparatively quiet week for local TV, with most shows just ticking along. Here are the few things starting this week ...

SATURDAY
Reality fans can rejoice: The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business pops up here, with double episodes (TV2, 1pm). Later, TV2 rejigs their lineup with laughable reality show Oh Sit (TV2, 6pm) turning musical chairs into a spectator sport, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (TV2, 7.30pm). The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Four, 8.30pm) and surprisingly enjoyable screen makeup competition Face Off (Four, 9.30pm) return for more, too.

SUNDAY
You're not gonna believe this, but repeats of The Big Bang Theory are playing (TV2, 7pm) before candid camera show Fool Britannia (TV2, 7.30pm) and the second season of Charlie Sheen's Anger Management (TV2, 7.30pm). Meanwhile, Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs Faves gets started (Four, 7.30pm), marking the return of crazy contestant Philip.

MONDAY
Masterchef NZ just not enough for you? Fear not - My Kitchen Rules (TV2, 7.30pm) is back, playing on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

TUESDAY
The final episode of Africa (One, 8.30pm) is on, ahead of a special episode next week; does anyone else hear Toto whenever you see an ad for Africa? Later, the young police team on Rookie Blue are back with some of their better work stories (TV2, 9.45pm).

WEDNESDAY
The second season of Durham County gets underway (SoHo, 8.30pm), while Russell Brown is shining a light on the media and current affairs on Media3 (TV3, 11.20pm - repeating Saturdays at 10.30am). Also, if you're a Sky subscriber, you could check out Catfish: The TV Show (MTV, 10pm), based on the stunning documentary of the same name, about couples who met online but have never met in real life.

THURSDAY
The final episode of Prisoners Wives plays (Prime, 9.35pm), while basketball fans can enjoy free coverage of the NBA All Star game on Poitukohu NBA (Maori TV, 11pm).

FRIDAY
Does anyone care about the finale of The Bachelor (TV2, 10.30pm)? If you're looking for something so bad it's good to watch, you can't go wrong with movie The Core (Four, 8.30pm), starring Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart.

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