Channel Seven’s attempt at claiming a tax rebate on its reality wedding show Bride and Prejudice has been knocked back by Screen Australia.
Seven attempted to claim a tax rebate on the reality wedding show by listing it as a documentary. However, Screen Australia objected to the characterisation of the show as a documentary.
It was found the show was not a documentary because certain scenes were scheduled by producers, it was “unoriginal” and it also failed to analyse or criticise its subject matter.
Channel Seven declined B&T‘s request for comment on the decision.
While there was indeed plenty of drama on the reality show, which aired for two seasons, Channel Seven told the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) none of the key content was put on for the cameras, which was one of its main arguments as for why the show should receive a tax break.
The tax offset is allowed for feature films and series filmed in Australia. Documentaries can claim the offset, yet reality TV shows cannot.
Screen Australia suggested the level of control the show had, including predetermining when events would be able to take place and the fact participants in the show were paid, amounted to what was happening on camera being contrived.
AAT deputy president Brian Rayment said: “The participants were, for the most part, not persons with acting training, but did their best to put on a good show.
“The program model was itself contrived in my opinion, involving an apparent arrangement between the producers and those who appeared on screen so as to put what would usually be done in private into the public arena.”
In its ruling, Screen Australia also referred to Bride and Prejudice being listed in the “reality” section of Seven’s website and not its “documentary” section.
Rayment applied a number of questions created by ACMA and adopted by Screen Australia to determine whether the show could be treated as a documentary but inevitably ruled the show failed to meet the standards.