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After its launch it dropped in ratings and would have been cancelled if TVNZ had not ordered a year's worth of episodes in advance.
TVNZ renewed the production in early 1993 when the show's rating had picked up, and it now has "long-term public enthusiasm".
Greg Mc Gee at South Pacific Pictures wanted to do a series about the new private clinics emerging under New Zealand's Labour government, and suggested the idea to scriptwriter Dean Parker, who declined due to a dislike of private medicine, so TV2 and South Pacific Pictures purchased a formula from Grundy Television, who get a royalty cheque for every broadcast.
De Nave worked with several storyliners including Jason Daniel and they worked out an outline of the show.
When cast members are hired their contracts are either 4 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months or a year.
High definition production of Shortland Street started in early 2011, with the first HD episode broadcast on 18 April 2011 on the Freeview HD and Sky platforms.
Location scenes are filmed in Auckland, but other locations, including Fiji, Mt Ruapehu, Rotorua and Rarotonga have been used.
Other areas covered include different ethnicities, with Asian, Polynesian, Romanian people and even Zimbabwean characters appearing on the show.
In the first year of the show, it was decided that CEO Michael Mc Kenna's personal assistant, Jenny, should be a solo mother to help draw in that demographic, who statistically would be watching TV at 7 pm.
Characters on the show attribute and portray several different demographics found in New Zealand.
These range from the rich and well-off (such as Chris Warner) to the struggling and poor (Wendy Cooper).