What international reality franchises should NZ adopt next?

2018 is going to be a big year for local reality franchises from Dancing With the Stars to Project Runway, but what’s still missing? Calum Henderson fills in the gaps. 

It’s never too late to pick up a successful international reality television franchise and give it a good honest Kiwi twist. Last year we saw the inaugural season of Survivor NZ arrive 17 years after the first US Survivor was broadcast, and this year TVNZ have promised another decades-overdue New Zealand reality first in Project Runway NZ.

The frantic fashion design show looks to be the cornerstone of another bumper year for reality television in this country: other new titles coming to TVNZ include competitive upcycling show Design Junkies and the off-brand Love Island clone Heartbreak Island, while Three has the Colin Mathura-Jeffree-hosted Great NZ Dance Masala in the pipeline.

When you add in the long list of returning titles (Dancing With The Stars, Survivor season 2, The Block season 100) there sure is a lot of reality programming coming our way in 2018… but there could always be more. How, for example, have any of these not been made yet?

New Zealand Ninja Warrior

Put the call out to every crossfit gym and rock climbing club in the country – the extreme agility course show is a reality bandwagon New Zealand needs to get on ASAP. From Top Town to Clash of the Codes and even Tux Wonder Dogs, we already have a proud history of making this sort of thing. A New Zealand Ninja Warrior – or better yet, a slightly low-budget rip-off – should be at the top of every network’s to-do list.

The Voice NZ

The law of diminishing returns in New Zealand reality television has never been more evident than the second series of X Factor NZ. It was so abysmal it seems to have put us off making competitive singing shows altogether (with the exception of TVNZ 1’s acappella The Naked Choir last year). Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The Voice has always felt a better fit for us anyway – a nation of above average singing ability and below average charisma. Someone please borrow those mechanical swivel chairs from the Australian version and give New Zealand the televised singing competition it deserves.

Family Food Fight NZ / The Great Kiwi Bake Off

Without the cold hard data to back it up, it seems safe to say New Zealand has more celebrity chefs per capita than any other country in the world. We certainly don’t need any more, yet we still persist in making reality shows based around the tedious exploits of amateur foodies hoping to catch a cookbook deal. The rest of the world has already embraced the new wave of fun cooking shows full of heart and personality (Marae Kai Masters on Māori TV is our best local example). A big-scale New Zealand version of Australia’s multicultural Family Food Fight (currently on TVNZ 2), or even a local attempt at emulating the wildly popular Great British Bake Off, looks like the way to go.

Shark Tank NZ

Imagine how many new inventions have been dreamed up by entrepreneurial and/or delusional New Zealanders since the first and only series of Dragons’ Den NZ (featuring prominent dragons Dame Julie Christie and Sir Bob Jones) aired in 2006. It’s possible that New Zealand simply wasn’t ready for such a show back then, but the overseas success of the modern variant Shark Tank in recent years suggests we ought to give it another try. He would no doubt sniff at the idea, but Gareth Morgan would make a sensational shark.

Big Brother NZ

Weirdly Big Brother and its thrillingly bleak ‘celebrity’ variant is still going strong in quite a few countries. On one hand, New Zealanders should probably take great pride in the fact our country is one of the few places to have never produced a local series of the show. On the other… you have to admit Big Brother NZ would be quite something. You know you would watch it. We would all watch it. The guy with the pet pig from Married At First Sight NZ would probably go on it. It would be the reality TV apocalypse. Bring it on.

Garry Busey will probably be there


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This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

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