It’s not a great week for the beleaguered Ten Network: first its much-hyped remake of Wake in Fright debuted to disappointing ratings, and now it’s been revealed The Simpsons will no longer air on Ten after negotiations with 21st Century Fox broke down.
The program has been on the Ten Network since 1991, and has proven a steady ratings success. The network has also lost other Fox content, including Modern Family and This is Us.
But perhaps more concerning for Ten is Nine’s official announcement that it will air its own reboot of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, the popular game show format that was a significant ratings boon for Ten from 2009 to 2012.
Host Shaun Micallef will return to the series with three new team leaders: Robyn Butler representing Gen X, Andy Lee leading the charge for Gen Y, and Laurence Boxhall leading the newest generation included in the series, Gen Z. Baby Boomers (for whom Amanda Keller was an original team leader) will not be appearing in the new six-episode series.
The reboot was announced as part of Channel Nine’s Upfronts last night, revealing all that’s in store for audiences in 2018. Nine is the first network to launch its slate for the coming year.
Returning shows include the ratings juggernauts Australian Ninja Warrior, The Block, The Voice and Married At First Sight.
They join a handful of new entertainment programs with a rather curious set of descriptions.
The Underbelly franchise will return with Underbelly Files: Chopper, a two-part miniseries that Nine modestly promises is destined to be “one of the most compelling dramas in Australian television history.” According to the media pack, Nine will tell the “untold” story of the gangster Mark ‘Chopper’ Read.
Given the amount of media attention given to Chopper over the last few decades, including the autobiographical film starring Eric Bana in 2000, it’s difficult to know exactly what the “untold” story of Read might be . Perhaps the producers at Screentime have some startling new revelations up their sleeves.
Aaron Jeffery will star as Chopper, with screen veteran Michael Caton as his father Keith. Vince Colosimo and Kevin Harrington return to the Underbelly franchise, and Debra Byrne will reprise her portrayal of Judy Moran.
The major new drama for Nine in 2018 is crime thriller series Bite Club, currently in production in Sydney, featuring Todd Lasance, Ash Ricardo and Deborah Mailman.
Nine’s synopsis explains: “After surviving a shark attack two detectives join forces to hunt the ultimate predator, the serial killer who is also hunting them.”
The network will also debut a new show that could feed into important questions about Australia’s property market and housing affordability.
Buying Blind is, well, exactly what it sounds like. Here’s Nine’s rather colourful description:
“In 2018, Nine unveils the most ground-breaking property show on Australian television. Couples searching for their dream home will hand over their life savings to three experts, trusting them to take over the biggest decision of their lives. Amazing transformations and edge-of-your-seat drama make Buying Blind the new high-stakes property thriller.”
Driving Test is a new “heartfelt factual show” premiering in 2018 that follows people learning to drive, from their first lesson through to the final test. It’s filmed in Darwin and has the following description:
“They set off on the ride of their lives hoping to secure the ticket of their dreams – a driver’s licence.”