Underbelly to screen in Victoria

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.

Press Release:
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.

Source: The Age Herald Sun

13 Comments:

  1. Underbelly is still eligible for next year’s Logies, although had it not been allowed to be shown in Victoria, Nine would not be able to show clips during the Logies coverage. Since many Victorians have seen Underbelly one way or the other I am sure they will nominate it in categories like most popular drama, most popular actor and actress.

  2. You really don think it will hit a mill? It will be interesting to find out.
    With a 60 minutes lead-in you couldn’t give it much better spot I guess.
    Show a few now and win a week or two then eventually (seems like a long way from now by the looks of things) you get to show them in full with the remaining episodes, give it a good month of pushing and make see how it goes, then you have the ‘pre-quel” next year maybe? And I’m sure they will run over every detail of that script to avoid this years mess.
    It really seems like Underbelly in Melbourne 2008 is a lost dream, at least this way they can squeeze a bunch of dollars out of it, I wonder, considering its only a weeks notice before airing, whats the deal with ad spots? Does this short notice mean they cant charge as high a rate as they normally would?
    Also does this have anything to do with the Logies next year? If it didn’t air in Melbourne at all would it still be eligible?

  3. Underbelly will not hit a mill. A large majority of Vics have already sourced a copy, and im sure they would prefer to watch their unedited version. I predict an audience of around 450k.

  4. Agree wholeheartedly with David. I’d be surprised if the Melbourne audience for Underbelly didn’t hit at least a million – or thereabouts.

    I’d watch it again. I mean, I’d watch it. For the first time.

    *cough*

  5. Johnson,

    The DVD will not be available in Victoria until after nine has shown the series(13 episodes) in full(edited or not).
    No idea on if or when the last 8 episodes will be shown, it could be sometime in 2009 for all we know.

  6. Finally some good news for Victorians who want to see Underbelly on a legitimate fashion, although we will have to wait to see the eight remaining episodes. And what about the DVD? The injunction should not have been imposed in the first place.
    You will also find that regional broadcaster Imparja will react promptly to include Underbelly in its schedule. Although Imparja mainly broadcasts to Northern Territory (except Darwin) and western parts of Queensland and NSW, it has not been able to show Underbelly because the coverage area also includes parts of Victoria. But since May people living in NT, QLD and NSW have been able to buy the series on DVD, and won’t have to wait until the episodes go to air.

  7. I agree with you David, it willl do huge numbers, Seven will be very keen to protect its new baby, Packed to the Rafters, ill be interested to see if they leave it in the firing line or whether they maybe concede and yank it for the two Tuesday nights that Underbelly is on…(in melbourne that is)

  8. I must say I expect this will still rate in Victoria. There is a huge proportion of the audience that does not download, buy illegally or source interstate. But blogs and sites such as this one are actually popular with fans and those who download, so I’m not surprised many Vic. readers here have already seen it.

    The show has had such publicity, I expect it to perform in its home city. We’ll know soon enough.

  9. so they are screen three of the 5 episodess available to them in the one week? that seems a little odd..
    will probably win them the week in Melbourne but seems strange to show them in such a short space of time

  10. Everyone who wants to see it would have already seen it

    I bet Channel 9 promos will say The series that was banned is finally allowed to be shown in Victoria

    Note the keyword “Edited”

    Will be interesting to see ratings

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