Two new free-to-air TV channels launch today. What can we expect?
Viewers of free-to-air television now have more content to choose from, with today’s launch of Discovery’s new channels eden and Rush. These two channels replace Choice, and while they keep Choice’s vibe of lifestyle and light entertainment, eden and Rush will be refreshed by a broader and newer schedule of programming.
“We’re delighted to launch two new free-to-air channels in New Zealand, delivering on our promise to bring more great entertainment to Kiwi audiences,” Discovery’s Glen Kyne said in a press release. “Eden and Rush combine the best of Discovery’s global library with carefully selected shows to build a stellar line-up of content. Whether viewers watch live or stream on ThreeNow, we know they’re going to love it.”
Will we love it? What can we expect from these two new channels? Let’s find out.
Eden’s (the lower case e is part of the new brand) tagline is “a better everyday”, with a focus on reality, light entertainment, drama and films. Eden will continue to screen some of Choice’s popular shows, but also give viewers a variety of new-to-New Zealand content.
The channel launches with shows like The Chase USA, Ellen’s Next Great Designer, wildlife series Meet The Penguins, and the reboot of classic 90s home renovation show Changing Rooms. There’s a regular Saturday night movie slot, and later this year, eden will screen other big-name shows, including the Keeley Hawes drama Finding Alice and reality series Strictly Come Dancing.
Other launch highlights include:
Thursday night is drama night on eden, and the channel kicks off with the premiere of this award-winning Australian series set in a TV newsroom during the mid 1980s. Ambitious reporter Dale Jennings finds himself paired with notoriously “difficult” newsreader Helen Norville, and as the pair cover a variety of world events, their professional and personal lives become entangled. The Guardian called it “well-told and engrossing”, the Sydney Morning Herald gave it five stars. (Weekly from Thursday 24 March).
The Bidding Room
A cross between The Repair Shop and Dragon’s Den, this series sees the public bring in a variety of intriguing antiques to be valued by a panel of experts, before the items are sold at auction to professional dealers. (Weeknights from Monday at 6pm).
Newshub Live at 8pm
New channel, new news. Rebecca Wright presents eden’s nightly news bulletin, screening live at 8pm every weeknight with a “tightly-curated” round up of the day’s news and exclusive interviews.
Why has nobody thought of a reality show about trimming bushes before? Clipped follows talented topiary artists as they turn trees into works of art, with one artist “clipped” from the competition each week. Could be incredible, could just be a show about wonky hedges. (Weekly from Friday 25 March)
Dancing on Ice
Ever thought Dancing with the Stars was missing something, like ice skates and thermal pantyhose? Then check out Dancing on Ice, the British reality series that pairs celebrities with professional skaters as they compete to raise money for charity. (Weekly from Friday 25 March).
Your TV may grunt when you change channels to Rush, thanks to all the testosterone in its shows. Rush wants you to “experience more” and promises extreme thrills and high-octane adventure, and if you love being stuck in the outdoors with nothing but your tightly honed survival skills for company, Rush is all your dreams come true.
As well as shows presumably chosen simply for their intriguing names (Amish Mafia, Alaskan Bush People and Goblin Works Garage), here’s a few of Rush’s best launch watches.
Man vs Wild
Bear Grylls is a man on a mission, and maybe that mission is to drink his own pee on every single continent. Season six of the classic survival series sees Grylls continue to test his endurance in some of the toughest and most remote environments in the world. (Weekly from Monday 21st March).
This isn’t the British game show hosted by Michael McIntyre, but a survival series where six ordinary people are challenged to survive alone in a variety of extreme ecozones. They’re stuck in the wilderness for 60 days, and have to move from one zone to the next with little notice. Michael McIntyre could never. (Weekly from Monday 21st March).
Embrace your inner child with the series that designs and builds custom treehouses around America. From a spa treehouse in Texas to an Ohio brewery in the trees, building expert Pete Nelson travels the world in search of amazing tree homes. (Weekly on Mondays, rerun on Wednesdays).
Manhunt with Joel Lambert
Joel Lambert is trapped in a foreign land, trying to reach a pre-arranged rendezvous point before the local military finds him. Will his experience as a special operations officer help him survive the tough terrain? Of course it will, but one of these days both Joel and Bear Grylls will be captured by Michael McIntyre and imprisoned on The Wheel, and then we’ll really find out what they’re made of.
Check out eden (Freeview channel 8) and Rush (Freeview channel 14) from March 21. Selected shows will be available to stream on ThreeNow.