Kiwi drama ‘Legal’ unlocks Oz market

ScreenWorks sells 26 episodes of drama

AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time.

Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network.

It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on Oz TV last year.

Australian broadcasters traditionally have been reluctant to buy Kiwi shows, aiming to protect their homegrown industry and fearing programs from their nearest neighbor will swamp the airwaves.

Irritated Kiwi industryites set up the Project Blue Sky lobby group to protest. It alleged the Oz standard for local content, a minimum of 55% Aussie programming between 6 a.m. and midnight, contravened the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement.

In 1996 an Australian court ruled in favor of open competition and said Kiwi content must be treated as Oz content; that verdict was upheld on appeal in 1999.

But it was a hollow victory. Until now, it was mostly Kiwi movies, such as “Once Were Warriors,” that made it onto Oz screens, although New Zealand’s popular soap “Shortland Street” ran on minority channel SBS.

Now ScreenWorks partner Greg McGee hopes “Street Legal,” which has already sold to a number of European territories, will crack the ice for other Kiwi productions. The sale was negotiated by London-based agency, Target.

“Street Legal” stars Jay Lagaaia as a maverick lawyer working in inner-city Auckland. Lagaaia is familiar to Oz auds through his regular supporting role in long-running Oz police drama “Water Rats.”

More TV

  • Anthony Anderson

    Anthony Anderson Under Criminal Investigation, Disputes Woman's Claims of Assault

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

  • 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger' Renewed for

    'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger' Renewed for Season 2 at Freeform

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

  • Frances McDormand Oscar theft

    Amazon Showrunners Panel: Frances McDormand Will Star as God in 'Good Omens'

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

  • Amazon Studios SDCC Roundup: Teaser Trailers,

    Amazon Studios SDCC Roundup: Teaser Trailers, Casting, Release Dates

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' TV Reboot in Development From Joss Whedon, Monica Owusu-Breen

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

  • Iron Fist

    TV News Roundup: Marvel's 'Iron Fist' Gets Season 2 Premiere Date on Netflix

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

  • Jon Schnepp and Holly Payne g

    'Metalocalypse' Writer-Director Jon Schnepp Dies a 51

    AUCKLAND — A drama skein from New Zealand has cracked the Australian market for the first time. Auckland production company ScreenWorks has sold 26 one-hour episodes of law drama “Street Legal” to Kerry Stokes’ Seven network. It is a significant step for Kiwi producers that nearly quadruples the eight hours of Kiwi content aired on […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content