TV3 has matched rival TVNZ’s talent show announcement with an ace card of its own. The much anticipated local version of hit renovation show ‘The Block’ is one step closer, with the ‘fab four’ sponsors announced. Bunnings, Kiwibank, Mazda and Wild Bean Café are the inaugural ‘foundation partners’ of this long awaited local series, and the call has gone out for contestants. Three million Aussies watched the final live show, of the most watched series in Australia, where it consistently out-rates Masterchef.
We live in uncertain times and the property market tends to reflect this. During the final, which was shown over here on Prime last year, only one of the four houses reached reserve, let alone sold. On live TV. Awkward. But the series proved it had legs of its own when it was on the front page of every newspaper the next morning. As was the eventual sale of all three properties. (Sisters Katrina and Amie were left empty-handed after getting just the reserve on their terrace.)
The Block NZ will see four couples compete to renovate four dilapidated houses in a very upmarket suburb–room by room, week by week, challenge by challenge – and then sell them at auction for the highest price. MediaWorks programme partnerships manager Mel Reece says one difference about this series is that the houses, as well as being aspirational, eco-smart houses, all have to be sold.
“The houses are all done up to get the best price. Each couple keeps any money over the reserve, and the winner also gets a big cash prize,” she says.
MediaWorks director of programming Kelly Martin says The Block NZ taps perfectly into the New Zealand psyche, and she is expecting a high calibre of contestants. “We are a nation of No. 8 wire-using, DIY-ers, who love turning houses into dream homes.
“In this country renovation is a national sport, second only to rugby, and I’m looking forward to seeing who puts their hand up for what will be the biggest show of the year.”
The series has spawned adaptations in England, Israel, The Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, South Africa and the United States. MediaWorks programme partnerships manager Mel Reece says it is the biggest reality show on the planet right now, and partners Bunnings, Kiwibank, Mazda, and Wild Bean Cafe have had involvement from the planning stages, with 360 degree platform rights:
“They can help plan the challenges. There will be prizes to be won for every room, in every episode. The partners can also develop specialty “The Block” products, have the talent appear in commercials, and be able to sell all the products featured on the show, on one website. Pluk will be part of the package too, with prizes and special deals up for the plucking,” she says.