The Seven Network’s ‘Extreme Weddings.’
The Seven, Nine and 10 networks insist they are not stockpiling Australian dramas and other local programming despite the suspension of the local content quotas for the rest of this year.
Last week Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner slammed the government’s decision to suspend the quotas for drama, documentary and children’s programming as a very blunt tool which has the “potential of crippling an industry already on its knees.”
Deaner said: “With no incentive for the broadcasters to release hundreds of hours of already delivered but not yet broadcast children’s, drama and documentary content, it harms the Australian public’s ability to access the content which is sitting gathering dust on shelves.”
The Nine Network, which has seen shows including The Voice Australia, The Block and Endemol Shine Australia’s drama RDFS suspend or delay production, rejects that notion.
“We are not stockpiling anything; we are being responsible, working in massively trying times to manage our schedule for the audience, our costs and ability to produce programs,” a Nine spokesperson tells IF today.
“We continue with our schedule as announced at the upfronts as much as we possibly can.”
Screen Australia today announced Nine has commissioned The Midwife (working title), a family drama about the maternity ward staff in a major city hospital, from Playmaker Media.
Playmaker Media co-founder David Maher and Sarah Smith (Bite Club, Love Child) created the show, with scripts by Jonathan Gavin (Offspring), Ainslie Clouston (Playing For Keeps) and Smith. Sony will distribute internationally.
A rep for Network 10, which is launching Lingo Pictures’ The Secrets She Keeps on Wednesday, said today: “We have always spoken about the importance of supporting the local production community. Despite the relief measures announced by the government, our approach to Australian content has not changed.
“We have a number of drama and scripted shows ready to share with Australian audiences this year and will be launching them from this week. Some other shows that have had a production hiatus may have a delayed TX but are not cancelled; the government’s initiative helps us manage that.
“We will continue to work with our production partners to ensure we can continue to bring Australian content to our audiences. What we are seeing is that people are responding extremely well, not only to local news but also to local entertainment content. It seems to us that people at home are responding more than ever to major shows that allow them to feel connected to the broader Australian community.”
In good news for 10, Fremantle’s Neighbours resumes shooting next week after its scheduled production hiatus with a revised production model which complies with the strict health and safety measures.
The Seven Network did not directly address Deaner’s comments but said Between Two Worlds, Plate of Origin, Extreme Weddings, First Dates, Mates on a Mission, Farmer Wants a Wife, Crime Investigation Australia: Most Infamous, Wife Swap Australia and All New Monty Guys and Gals are all in the can and will premiere this year.
Seven declined to respond to questions about children’s programming after P and C classified shows Get Clever, ZooMoo and Toybox were removed from 7TWO’s schedule.