‘The Masked Singer.’
Network 10 is sticking to tried-and-true formats next year, its schedule and investment in local content unaffected by the pandemic-induced advertising downturn.
While all the new and returning shows unveiled today were commissioned before the Federal Government’s media reforms scrapped the local content sub-quotas, executives say that had no bearing on its strategy for 2021.
New to the slate next year are Making It Australia, an adaptation of the NBCUniversal format, a local version of the UK’s The Dog House and The First Inventors, a co-commission with NITV. (See separate story).
The network continues to commission children’s dramas, with the second series of Jonathan M. Shiff Productions’ The Bureau of Magical Things, the Stephen Jaggi Company’s teen mystery drama Dive Club (a co-commission with Netflix) and a third show yet to be announced. All will premiere on 10 Shake.
“We will deliver a 50-week schedule next year,” Daniel Monaghan, 10 ViacomCBS head of programming, told IF. “The market has learned how to make shows in a COVID-safe environment and has created a ‘bubble’ for each production.
“We won’t change our commissioning structure as we have so much in production. There are a lot of shows we do with ratings in mind, without thinking about how they contribute to the quotas.”
Apart from Fremantle’s Neighbours, the only Australian scripted shows in the line-up are the previously announced second seasons of Hoodlum Entertainment’s Five Bedrooms and Pablo Pictures and Princess Pictures’ comedy How to Stay Married.
Due to the pandemic, filming was halted on the 4-part thriller With Intent (formerly Breathless), created by Neighbours executive producer Jason Herbison for 10 and the UK’s Channel 5.
Production is still on hold but will resume when Fremantle is able to bring back former EastEnders star Charlie Brooks from the UK, with the aim to deliver in mid-2021.
The 260 half-hour episodes of Neighbours are worth 195 points so the broadcaster will easily meet the annual local content quota of 250 points, with the balance coming from Five Bedrooms, the children’s dramas and documentaries.
The network has not ruled out renewing Lingo Pictures’ The Secrets She Keeps after the psychological thriller starring Downton Abbey‘s Laura Carmichael and Jessica De Gouw performed well at home and in primetime in the UK on BBC1.
Warner Bros Australia and BBC Studios’ Dancing with the Stars won’t return and Screentime’s Playing for Keeps wasn’t renewed.
Kicking off the year on January 3 will be ITV Studios’ stalwart I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, set somewhere in the Australian Outback, followed by Eureka Productions’ The Amazing Race Australia, which is now filming.
‘The Amazing Race Australia.’
Post Easter, Endemol Shine Australia’s MasterChef Australia will debut, followed later in the year by Warner Bros’ The Masked Singer Australia, Australian Survivor, The Bachelor Australia and The Bachelorette Australia.
The factual/light entertainment slate includes more helpings of Screentime’s Hughesy We Have a Problem; ESA’s Gogglebox and Ambulance Australia; and Working Dog Productions’ Have You Been Paying Attention?. Also returning are The Project, CJZ’s Bondi Rescue and McAvoy Media’s Territory Cops.
Beverley McGarvey, chief content officer and executive VP of ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand, said: “Despite the obvious challenges, this year has been a remarkably successful year for 10 ViacomCBS.
“Not only are we the only commercial network growing its audience, we have also had the biggest prime time commercial shares in key demographics since 2011.
“We have cemented our position as leaders in escapist entertainment and delivered a 50-week schedule to our key target market of under 50s.
“Our established suite of shows has seen our linear free to air channels enjoy an incredible 11 per cent growth and generated more top regular programs in key demographics than any other broadcaster.”
At the virtual Upfronts McGarvey announced Australian Original shows will premiere on Paramount+, ViacomCBS’s rebranded and revamped SVOD platform which launches in 2021. She foreshadowed further news on that in the coming weeks.