Czech Republic: Prima makes run at Nova

Mip Territory Reports

PRAGUE — Czech audiences, like most around the world, like to see themselves on television — but are quite curious about U.S. and Western European pop culture at the same time. Prima TV might try to exploit that curiosity as it makes a run at TV Nova.

Prima’s locally scripted soaper, “Very Fragile Relationships,” has been rumored to be on its way out, though Rostislav Uher, head of original programming, says the station will keep it on for another season and will only interrupt its weekly sked during the ratings-guaranteed sports broadcast of Euro 2008 soccer.

Meanwhile, the station is hedging its bet on local content with the international offering “Heroes,” giving it a big promo push while eyeing new ventures.

For its part, Nova’s original scripted soaper, “Street,” has boosted its own share to almost 50%, according to Nova program director David Stogel. But Nova has also just launched Brit series “X Factor.”

“In the first few weeks, it is doing quite well,” Stogel says. “And we expect better results as the show moves (from the taped portion) into the live shows.”

Another Nova original, “A Place in the Life,” is also a success, though the one that’s still out front is “Practice in the Rose Garden,” a Czech medical soaper “which still has a solid slot on Tuesday and Thursdays, with shares around 50-52% regularly,” according to Stogel.

Imports like “House,” “CSI: Miami” and the second season of “CSI: NY,” just launched, are also winning auds for Nova.

“We’ve also been surprisingly successful in our 5:30 p.m. access prime slot with repeats of ‘CSI’ as well as premiere episodes of ‘Without a Trace,’ ” Stogel adds, reporting 47% shares. “The audience really seems to have taken to the introduction of this crime slot before ‘Street.’ ”

With those kinds of numbers, Nova is not actively shopping for anything new, betting instead on more local content with “a lot of new locally scripted projects in the pipeline being driven from our newly created development team.”

The fruit of that work, still under wraps, is likely to be seen in fall and next year.

While Prima has yet to produce a sustainable scripted hit to top Nova, a recent rejigging of its evening news slot did beat Nova, but only for a short time.

Prima’s news improved to a rare 35% share and 1.4 million viewers at first, but Nova quickly had back its usual 60% share.

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