Seven Network ramps up spending on revamped 2020 schedule
‘Between Two Worlds.’
When James Warburton was appointed CEO of Seven West Media succeeding Tim Worner he vowed to revitalise the Seven Network’s entertainment programming, focusing primarily on Sunday-Thursday primetime.
Warburton looks like delivering on that promise next year with a raft of initiatives including refreshes for My Kitchen Rules and House Rules, Endemol Shine Australia’s action-drama RFDS and CJZ’s four-part investigation of the disappearance of British backpacker Peter Falconio.
The line-up includes ESA’s revival of Big Brother, Screentime’s endurance competition SAS: Who Dares Wins, Eureka Productions’ extreme mini-golf competition Mega Mini Golf and Seven Studios’ Plate of Origin, billed as the “Olympics of cooking.”
Fremantle and Eureka will co-produce a new version of Farmer Wants a Wife, a format which previously aired on the Nine Network, while Fremantle’s Australia’s Got Talent has been renewed for a second season.
“I’ve been clear from day one that we’re executing a content led growth strategy. To that end we’re investing 30 per cent more in our tentpole programs and franchises,” Warburton said at the 7Upfronts on Wednesday evening.
Warburton boasted that the network will reach 90 per cent of Australia each month with the proposed merger of Seven and Prime Media. He also flagged that digital channel 7flix will be re-launched next year, targeting younger female audiences.
The 2020 slate includes Seven Studios’ previously announced drama Between Two Worlds, created by Bevan Lee and starring Hermione Norris, Philip Quast and Sara Wiseman, directed by Kriv Stenders, Lynn Hegarty, Caroline Bell-Booth, Beck Cole and Michael Hurst; Pooch Perfect, Seven Studios’ dog-styling competition series hosted by Rebel Wilson; and Screentime’s Wife Swap.
The network had already decided to cancel long-running current affairs show Sunday Night, Seven Studios’ The Super Switch, Warner Bros Australia’s The Proposal and Legacy Media’s Interview with Andrew Denton.
The futures of Every Cloud Productions’ Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries and Seven Studios’ Secret Bridesmaid’s Business are yet to be decided.
Seven has also picked up Reckoning, Playmaker Media’s California-set, Sydney-shot 10-part psychological thriller which stars Aden Young, Sam Trammell and Simone Kessell; and One Lane Bridge, a Kiwi crime drama produced by Seven’s Great Southern Television.
Among the new imported shows are Gold Digger, a British thriller starring Julia Ormond and Ben Barnes; Filthy Rich, the US remake of the Kiwi drama starring Kim Cattrall; Fox’s 9-1-1 spin-off 9-1-1 : Lone Star; UK detective drama Miss Scarlett and the Duke; and Billy Connolly’s Great American Trail, which sees the comedian follow the migratory trail of the Scots.
‘SAS: Who Dares Wins.’
Justine Clarke, Rob Collins and Stephen Peacocke lead the cast of RFDS (working title), which will follow Royal Flying Doctor Service doctors, nurses, pilots and support staff as they deal with heart-stopping emergencies while also navigating their often turbulent and profound private lives.
Produced by Imogen Banks and co-funded by Screen Australia and Screen NSW’s Made in NSW fund and regional filming fund, the series based on real-life stories will be filmed in and around Broken Hill.
Sally Caplan, Screen Australia’s head of content, said: “There’s a whole lot to like about this series. It has a distinctive and well-crafted story from a writing team including Ian Meadows, Adrian Wills, Claire Phillips, Magda Wozniak and Jon Bell.”
Commissioned by the UK’s Channel 4, Falconio: An Outback Murder (wt) will use first-hand accounts of many people impacted by the 2001 disappearance of the British backpacker and re-examine the evidence put forward at the trial of the man convicted of Falconio’s murder, Bradley John Murdoch.
Based on a Minnows Films format for Channel 4, SAS: Who Dares Wins will follow 14 Aussie celebrities as they undergo the intensive SAS selection process, urged on by an elite group of ex-Special Forces soldiers led by chief instructor Ant Middleton.
Cut off from the outside world at a secret base in a foreign country, they will eat, sleep and train together in punishing terrain, forced to confront surprising truths about themselves. Some will reach breaking point and withdraw.
Based on the US ABC Network series Holey Moley, Mega Mini Golf is set on a larger-than-life obstacle golf course with super-sized holes, testing the contestants’ putting and physical skills.
Farmer Wants a Wife will follow a new crop of single farmers who are ready to find their soulmate while Australia’s Got Talent: The Champions will bring together the most popular acts from past seasons of the Australian show and some from international versions on the one stage.
Fremantle Asia Pacific CEO Chris Oliver Taylor tells IF: “Farmer Wants a Wife will use the combined talents of Fremantle-backed companies with Paul Franklin and Rikkie Proost at Eureka and Fremantle Australia’s Jono Summerhayes, Nicole Rogers and our resources.
“The amount of digital and social buzz about this show is phenomenal. It was the biggest response to a casting call out we have ever had.
“Australia’s Got Talent is back, testament to the brilliant producing skills of Jono, Digby Mitchell and David Briegel-Jones. We think the 2020 version will be even bigger.”
“My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals.’
MasterChef judges Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan join Manu Feildel in Plate of Origin, an international cooking competition which will showcase teams from diverse cultural backgrounds who are passionate about their unique cuisine.
In My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals five teams from previous seasons will go head-to-head with five new teams. Each group will live together in separate houses, mentored respectively by Manu Feildel and Colin Fassnidge.
The stakes will be raised to new levels in House Rules: High Stakes with new judges in interior design entrepreneur Kyly Clarke and home builder Saul Myers joining Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and new host Jamie Durie accompanied by presenter/sports journalist Abbey Gelmi. Eight new teams will set out to transform a high-rise penthouse on the Gold Coast.
Big Brother finds a berth at Seven, its third network. The reality show launched on Network 10, running for eight seasons from 2001, generating huge ratings and some controversy. The format was revived by Nine in 2012 but folded in 2014.
The producers are promising a new era with a new house, new rules and a new generation of ambitious housemates determined to outstay each other no matter what Big Brother throws at them.
Celebrating its 25th year, Seven Studios’ Better Homes and Gardens will offer new content across technology, health and fitness and motoring.