As the fall television schedule in the USA kicks off next month, Kiwis will be getting some of its most popular content faster than ever before.
In a New Zealand first, MediaWorks’ entertainment-focussed channel FOUR will be broadcasting new seasons of its biggest hits within a week of their Stateside premiere; The Simpsons, Family Guy, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Survivor and, new to FOUR this season, Glee.
MediaWorks last night unveiled the sub-brand Fast FOUR which will be used to identify which shows are fast-tracked; under this new definition a Fast FOUR show is any overseas programme which screens within seven days or less of its international premiere.
The ‘fastest’ show in the first batch is How I Met Your Mother, which Kiwi viewers will see a matter of hours after the American audience. FOUR’s long term goal is to have as much of its American content fast-tracked as possible, but won’t be jumping ahead - instead, more shows will join the Fast FOUR stable as Kiwi viewers catch up with their American counterparts.
MediaWorks Acting Director of Programming Mark Caulton says the new initiative is perfectly suited to FOUR’s content and audience, and is an obvious move given the network’s innovative approach to entertainment.
"We’re responding to a growing international trend to get audiences’ favourite shows to air as soon as possible after they go to air in the States," he says.
"Our audience is very connected to the global entertainment news and social media conversation and given FOUR’s mandate is to surprise, delight and entertain, it makes absolute sense for this channel to lead the way when it comes to bringing Kiwis the freshest international content.
"The Fast FOUR initiative means FOUR viewers can be part of the international water cooler talk."
Fast FOUR will also see the episodes uploaded to the ondemand service at FOUR.co.nz, so that viewers who prefer to watch their television shows online can also keep up-to-date.
The Fast FOUR initiative will see FOUR mirror American broadcast patterns. When American networks put a series on hiatus - as is routinely done to accommodate other programming, such as LIVE sports coverage, we will either take a break here or run repeats from previous seasons until a new episode becomes available.
The Fast FOUR logo will be used on-air and online to clearly differentiate new episodes of Fast FOUR shows, and the season and episode numbers will be given in programme guides, so that our audiences are kept fully informed.
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