Seven producing sports bio-drama for NZ

New Zealand rugby union player Jonah Lomu will be the subject of a bio-drama to be produced by  Seven-owned Great Southern Television for NZ channel Three.

Lomu, who died in 2015 aged 40, is regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby. He was widely acknowledged as the top player at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa where he caught the attention of Rupert Murdoch who quickly negotiated a game-changing deal with SANZAR for Super Rugby. But Lomu was also diagnosed with a life shortening and life threatening disease at a young age.

The NZ based indie won the $6million commission for local broadcaster Three via funding from the government agency NZ On Air. The series will consist of two 90 minute episodes set to air in 2019.

MediaWorks’ Chief Content Officer Andrew Szusterman said, “What Ali was to boxing, Lomu is to rugby. There has never been, and most likely never will be, a bigger name in our national game.

“Working with Great Southern Television, New Zealand on Air and with the support of Nadene Lomu and family, we are honoured to tell Jonah’s story in 2019. I have no doubt the mini-series will be one of the biggest television events of the year.”

Great Southern Television’s Series Executive Producer Philip Smith said: “In full flight Lomu was an unstoppable human torpedo; his star quality due not only to his size and physicality but his deft and effortless skills as a rugby player.”

Great Southern Television was acquired by Seven Studios in January 2018.

Seven Studios’ Director of Content Distribution and Rights Therese Hegarty said: “Lomu’s story of triumph and disaster is legendary, and we are thrilled that Phil and his team at Great Southern Television will be bringing that story to global audiences.”

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