Will The Project usurp Hosking? Will Shortland Street bring back Lionel? Will Dominic Bowden take his place in The Bachelor circle of life? We look bravely to the year ahead and pluck out the most promising bits of local television programming.
Survivor New Zealand
It feels like 1000 years have passed since Lana Coc-Kroft had a deadly showdown with some coral in Celebrity Treasure Island. Thankfully, the tried and true reality TV tradition of ‘being hungry near a beach’ is returning with an exciting local take on the heavyweight Survivor franchise this year. We’ve been told there were over 8000 applicants, which guarantees that those accepted will be the cream of the reality talent crop. The Spinoff tribe has spoken: it’s going to be good. / Alex Casey
The AM Show
Thanks to the weird, sighing resignation of Paul Henry, Duncan Garner switches ends of the day and finds himself head-to-head with Mike Hosking, still. For most broadcasters, the idea of facing the inexplicable, indomitable Hosk would be a dread task, but Garner’s a true mongrel with an inferiority complex and a loathing for the born to rule streak in New Zealand society. Story, for all the good it often did, wasn’t the pure Garner vehicle he requires. So while he’s well supported by Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, this is his show and the pinnacle of his career. With an enthralling election looming, The AM Show has a legitimate shot at becoming appointment viewing in the early morning, much as its predecessor contrived to become in its final months. / Duncan Greive
Shortland Street is turning 25
New Zealand’s longest-running soap opera reaches the tremendous millennial age of 25 in May, so perhaps it should get off its lazy ass, do an honest day’s work and stop taking selfies for once its bloody life. We are all hoping for the return of some beloved faces, including Lionel washing ashore on a bespoke raft made entirely of barnacle-clad muffins. The anniversary will also be celebrated with documentary special Shortland Street: Mirror of a Culture, sure to conjure up more nostalgia and emotion than Chris Warner’s explosive rendition of ‘Anchor Me’. / AC
Game of Bros season 2
After the smashing (mild) success of season one, Game of Bros returns to Māori Television for a second season of flexing, sick burns, and lavalavas rolled so short they look like adult diapers. Twelve fresh young bros will compete in challenges for the grand prize of a trip to Tahiti (or somewhere similar). The challenges are designed to emulate the traditional work of men and women on the islands. So settle in and watch as some very buff young men inevitably struggle to perform tasks their mothers do all the time. / Madeleine Chapman
Set to debut in February, our local take on the smash-hit Australian current affairs show will sweep away Story’s chopped up bits of ankle bracelets and set up shop in the nightly 7pm slot on TV3. With the announcement this week that it will be hosted by Jesse Mulligan (RNZ), Kanoa Lloyd (Newshub) and Josh Thomson (7 Days), The Project is sure to make a nice change from cold dead eyes of Mike Hosking. I’m particularly excited to see what Josh Thomson brings to the table every night, and how long it takes for him to either take off his shirt or get his iconic Dad on the panel. / AC
The Bachelor season 3
Once we’ve all come out of mourning for Mike, it’ll be time to welcome Dominic Bowden into the fold as the new host of The Bachelor NZ, trying to save the franchise after an artistically atrocious season two. Will Dom pause for so long that the roses wilt and become infested with aphids wearing tiny ball gowns? Will he nab one of the lucky ladies for himself and surpass the Bachelor himself for Woman’s Day cover stories? Will he ever beat this sage piece of advice???? / AC
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.