Underbelly will finally get an airing in Victoria following a judge’s ruling this morning -but only the first five episodes.
The sixth must remain banned until a major criminal trial is over. GTV boss Mr Jeffrey Browne said, “We intend to try and have further episodes screened in Victoria and are working hard behind the scenes on a process to achieve that.”
There have been rumours for some time that Nine was editing eps to gain clearance from the courts. Supreme Court Justice Peter Vickery today granted permission for Nine to immediately screen an edited version of the five episodes.
The suppression order on the series expired in May, when a jury found Evangelos Goussis guilty of murdering underworld figure Lewis Moran in Melbourne in March 2004. On the day of Goussis’ conviction, however, Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Rapke, QC, issued a warning against any screening of the series.
“I will not hesitate to take contempt of court proceedings against any person or organisation that deliberately published Underbelly or any part of it,” he said.
Mr Rapke said other underworld cases were still before the courts and he would ensure that accused persons involved in those cases received a fair trial.
Despite the Victorian ban, bootleg copies of the program were sold in Victoria within weeks and it was also available on file-sharing computer networks.
Nine is almost certain to slate the series for Sunday evenings in Victoria. It is the network’s most important night, and the crime genre has already proven a hit with CSI. When Underbelly was banned Nine slated new eps of CSI: Miami in Victoria. Victorian viewers are now about half a dozen eps ahead of the rest of the country, currently screening on Sunday nights.
UPDATE GTV only: Nine has confirmed the series will air at 8:30pm this Sunday in Victoria with a 2 hr premiere. It will follow with a second hour on Tuesday Sept 16. Two and a Half Men is pushed back to 9:30pm and 20 to 1 is held over.
The Nine Network is pleased to announce that episodes of the highly acclaimed drama, Underbelly, have been cleared for viewers in Victoria.
Channel Nine Melbourne was today given approval from the Supreme Court of Victoria to broadcast edited versions of the first five episodes which are based on events in Melbourne from 1995 to 2004.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring the first five specially edited episodes of this television phenomenon to Victorians, and particularly Melbourne where the events are based,” said Mr Jeffrey Browne, Nine Network Australia Executive Director and Managing Director of GTV Nine, Melbourne.
“We intend to try and have further episodes screened in Victoria and are working hard behind the scenes on a process to achieve that.
“The rest of Australia has not stopped talking about this ground-breaking series and we expect the Victorian public’s appetite for Underbelly to exceed anything ever before screened in our State.”
The series will commence with a two-hour premiere this Sunday, September 14 at 8.30pm, followed by three one-hour episodes on Tuesday, September 16, Sunday, September 21 and Tuesday, September 23 at 8.30pm.
In February, Underbelly premiered in all markets except Victoria and became the most successful drama series in those markets since the OzTAM ratings system was introduced. It attracted a peak audience of 1,475,000 and an average audience throughout the two-hour broadcast of 1,325,000 viewers (All People, excluding Victoria).
Underbelly was the number one program of the night for All People and People 25-54 in every market where it had its two-hour premiere: Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Produced by Screentime, Underbelly boasts one of the most exciting ensemble casts ever assembled for Australian television including Vince Colosimo, Les Hill, Callan Mulvey, Martin Sacks, Rodger Corser, Gyton Grantley, Kat Stewart, Caroline Craig, Robert Mammone, George Kapiniaris and Caroline Gillmer as matriarch Judy Moran.