The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) has signed a deal with NHK for both season of award-winning live-action series "Hardball". The comedy will premiere on NHK linear channels and catch-up on NHK Plus in April 2024. "Hardball" S1 and S2 are distributed worldwide by the ACTF.
"Hardball", produced by Northern Pictures for the ABC, has won over audiences around the world since its premiere. It has sold to broadcasters in 19 territories globally, including the BBC (UK), France Televisions, ARD HD (Germany) and Clan TV/RTVE (Spain). On the hother hand, It has won multiple accolades both at home and overseas, including an International Emmy Award, a BANFF World Media Festival Rockie Award and the Prix Jeunesse.
"Hardball" is a fish-out-of-water live-action comedy which tells the story of Mikey, who moves from New Zealand to Western Sydney and finds himself in the thick of the ultra-competitive world of schoolyard handball. In Season 2, Mikey and his friends go on an epic adventure to win the state doubles handball tournament, but newly arrived twin sporting villains and a sweet scholarship opportunity for Mikey threaten to split up the gang for good.
Takako Hayashi, Senior Producer, Content Value Development Centre at NHK says: “It was in 2020 that I first came across and fell in love with 'Hardball' when it won the NHK Japan Prize for best program in the primary age category. I made it my mission to show it to Japanese children and let them make friends with Mikey and his colourful mates, and now my dream has come true. Mikey and his friends never lose the ability to laugh at themselves, even when they face difficulties and obstacles, and I believe their resilience will be a wonderful influence not only on children but also grown-ups in Japan.”
ACTF Executive Producer, Bernadette O’Mahony said: “'Hardball' is a warm, funny and engaging series which has resonated with audiences worldwide thanks to its themes of friendship and resilience along with a wonderful cast of endearing characters. We know that audiences in Japan will fall in love with Mikey, Tiffany, Salwa and Jerry and enjoy their hilarious exploits as much as we do.”
The series was produced by Northern Pictures with production funding from Screen Australia, Create NSW and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.