SBS has announced its program line-up for the summer-autumn 2011-12 period.
It follows this week's announcement that Screen Australia will fund a second series of SBS's hugely successful Go Back to Where You Came From, which produced its highest ratings of the year.
“With factual content we want to provoke debate,” said SBS head of production and development Peter Newman.
“With Go Back to Where You Came From series two and Immigration Nation we’re creating a body of work that is really getting under the skin of Australian immigration stories, whether it’s through a contemporary prism or a historical one.”
The broadcaster will also screen Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta – the untold story of how the Vietnamese community overcame the odds and found their place in multicultural Australia.
The program launch comes at a difficult time for the broadcaster after its commercial revenue declined by a quarter last fiscal year due to a lack of special events and strong competition from free-to-air digital multichannels, The Australian reported.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said the broadcaster aimed to commission programs which provoked debate, surprised audiences, pushed boundaries and inspired change.
Dario Russo was just 21 years old when he pitched his idea for a new to SBS set in a bizarre 1960s-inspired version of World War II.
“We immediately spotted a great up-and coming Australian talent and… gave Dario and his team the creative license and support they needed to develop their ideas and skills themselves,” said Newman, adding that it was this untethered nurturing process which led to the creation of the new action/comedy series Danger 5.
SBS’ summer/autumn line-up will also include the first Australian version of The Family, which achieved great success for Channel 4 in the UK.
The fixed rig observational documentary uses 48 fixed cameras placed around a family’s home to offer an insight into the life of a contemporary Australian family.
Meanwhile, Bollywood Star tracks the search for an Australian Bollywood star who will win the prize of a lifetime – a role in a genuine Bollywood movie.
Newman said the new take on an established genre will show that SBS can produce a talent search their way which will also “explore cultural identity and foster social inclusion”.
The summer/autumn line-up will continue to build on SBS’ food content.
“At SBS, we don’t do cooking shows, we do food programmes that act as a conduit to experience other cultures,” said Newman. Luke Nguyen’s third series, Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong, sees the chef takes viewers on a culinary adventure across the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia.
In addition to this, is Peter Kuruvita’s series My Sri Lanka, in which the Sydney-based chef takes a journey through his ancestral home of Sri Lanka to discover its authentic cuisine.
A fourth series of the popular Who Do You Think You Are? will also screen, following six well-known Australians – comedian Shaun Micallef, AFL legend Michael O’Loughlin, actress Melissa George, journalist Kerry O’Brien and actors John Wood and Vince Colosimo – as they trace their family history.
Peter Newman presents SBS's new program lineup at Flying Fish restaurant in Sydney.