Rodger Corser and Tina Bursill in ‘Doctor Doctor.’
The Nine Network has ordered a fifth season of Easy Tiger’s medical drama Doctor Doctor, a rare commission with much of the country in virtual lockdown.
Co-head of drama Andy Ryan says the broadcaster is developing a number of drama series for 2021 and 2022.
The renewal follows yesterday’s announcement by Nine Entertainment that it aims to cut costs by $266 million this calendar year as the pandemic flattens advertising revenues.
Nine said it expects to save $28 million in spending on broadcast content this year, primarily local drama and children’s programs, assuming a prolonged production shutdown.
Co-created by Easy Tiger’s Ian Collie and Tony McNamara, Doctor Doctor stars Rodger Corser as errant rural doctor Hugh Knight. Season four, which features regulars including Nicole da Silva, Ryan Johnson, Tina Bursill, Matt Castley and Miranda Tapsell, is on hiatus while Nine News screens COVID-19 specials and will resume on April 22.
The writing team for the new season includes Keith Thompson, Mithila Gupta, Angela McDonald, Tamara Asmar and Tim Lee, all returning except Asmar who worked on an earlier series.
Ryan told IF: “We are thrilled to commission a fifth season of Australia’s favourite drama series Doctor Doctor – the only current series on network television to reach this milestone.
“Nine is most definitely not backing away from Australian dramas, which are commercially successful for us; our audiences love them, and they are a crucial part of the programming mix.
“The current production environment poses challenges to the entire industry but we are committed to helping the industry recover and to bringing Australian stories to Nine.”
Scheduled to premiere later this year are Screentime’s crime drama Informer 3838, which stars Ella Scott Lynch as Melbourne criminal lawyer turned police informant Nicola Gobbo, and Beyond Lonehand’s Halifax: Retribution with Rebecca Gibney, Anthony LaPaglia and Jessica Marais.
Ryan added: “We’re hard at work developing other drama series for 2021 and 2022 with announcements to follow in the coming months.”