Glen Kyne on why a back-stabbing reality show could be NZ's favourite series in 2023 and the streaming future of Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ

The Traitors NZ is the show Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ's head of content Glen Kyne is most excited about.
The Traitors NZ is the 2023 show Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ's head of content Glen Kyne is most excited about. Photo credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

Upcoming New Zealand reality show The Traitors NZ will be "chaos and fun", according to Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ's head of networks Glen Kyne.

The series was announced by Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ on Thursday and is described as "an addictive, whodunnit reality series where contestants work with and against each other using lies, deception and betrayal to win".

It is based on Dutch series De Verraders which premiered in 2021 and has since been adapted for the Australian market.

The concept of the show is based on Mafia, a social deduction game created by Dimitry Davidoff in 1986.

Kyne said the show was the one he was most excited about, believing the combination of treachery, deceit and a stunning mountain lodge environment would mark it out as being one of the big ones to watch in 2023 - and that it would appeal to the viewing audiences' more masochistic edges.

"I think the concept hasn't been seen on screen before. I think it plays to the slightly darker side of people's personalities," Kyne told Newshub.

"So I think it's just going to be a whole lot of mayhem, chaos and fun."

More commitment to New Zealand stories

Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ, which owns Newshub, announced a huge 2023 line-up of new local reality, documentary, comedy and drama shows this week, affirming the company's commitment to local content.

There will be a 30 percent increase in local programming across the Three and ThreeNow portfolios next year, including a significant bump in local dramas.

Robyn Malcolm and Temuera Morrison in Far North.
Robyn Malcolm and Temuera Morrison in Far North. Photo credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

Among the new dramas are Far North starring Robyn Malcolm and Temuera Morrison as an Ahipara couple who foiled one of the Pacific's biggest drug operations, along with dramedy Madame Mom, the true story of an all American, pregnant mother who divorces her husband and starts an ethical brothel in Whangarei to provide for her family.

Kyne said these kinds of stories are important to tell.

"We had an absolute commitment going into this year to increasing the drama following. It's about reflecting New Zealand stories back to New Zealanders. And you know, we think the stories we've got are phenomenal," he said.

"Far North is a very important story of course, around what actually happened. But it's got a humorous edge to it as well. We think it's a really important story.

"Madame Mom is going to blow people's minds. Who would have thought this Ivy League educated woman would come to New Zealand and her ability to survive was based on setting up a brothel? That's going to be an incredible story.

"It's also a very unique New Zealand story. I think that's the beautiful thing about drama - we get to tell you these stories in a unique way. And a lot of these stories, by the way, we're now working with our international partners to make sure they're heard overseas, not just here."

Why Paddy Gower Has Issues

The company also announced new long-form current affairs journalism show, Paddy Gower Has Issues, fronted by Patrick Gower and supported by Newshub's journalists and teams behind the cameras.

Paddy Gower Has Issues.
Patrick Gower sad announcing his new show was "a big and proud moment". Photo credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

Kyne said it's something they'd been working on behind the scenes for two years and it was thrilling to see it finally come to fruition.

"The Newshub brand has been a breeding ground for the best in the business," he said.

"Whether you are 10 years of age or 90 years of age, you have an affiliation for Paddy, he's very relatable to all Kiwis. He really cares about New Zealand and that comes across in his storytelling very, very well. 

"But of course, the show is not just about Paddy. Yes, his name is there, but it's our entire newsroom behind supporting that.  

"So you'll see a lot of our talent come through. You'll see a lot of our journalists come through that show telling really important stories. You know, whether they are national stories, local stories, potentially even international stories. You'll see our entire newsroom get behind it for that."

The streaming future

Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ also revealed it would be launching a selection of 24/7 FAST Channels to New Zealand audiences in 2023.

The Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) format is described as a new emerging class of video streaming that offers a curated, lean-back experience for viewers and another opportunity to unlock the depth and breadth of Warner Bros. Discovery's content catalogue in Aotearoa.

Kyne said these channels will complement the company's global ambitions for a new streaming service that combines the might of local content with the immense Warner Bros and HBO catalogues.

However, he said it is too early to talk about a launch date or pricing for the service.

The merging of HBO Max and Discovery Plus is expected to take place in 2023 in some markets.
The merging of HBO Max and Discovery Plus is expected to take place in 2023 in some markets. Photo credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

"Around the world we have Discovery Plus and HBO Max operating in different markets. It's been announced that those two platforms are going to come together and turn into one platform," said Kyne.

"It's no secret the US will be the primary market launching, you know, as a Western, English-speaking market, which is important for a lot of that content.

"We'll be a fast follower, but we're not putting dates on anything yet. We've got work to do in that space. We intend to be fast, we see the opportunity because we've already got an owned and operated streaming platform that is growing.

"And the FAST [Free Ad-supported Streaming Television] experience - that Pluto TV type experience - is one that sits very nicely on screen and is completely consistent with how audiences engage with that platform today. So that's where those channels will turn up, on ThreeNow."