Foxtel rocks into 2009

Entourage, Gossip Girl, American Idol, Sarah Silverman, Dollhouse will join new Aussie shows The Phone, The Pam Ann Show and The Contender on Foxtel in 2009.

Foxtel has joined the procession of new programme announcements, with a raft of Australian-produced and international shows, some of which launch as early as December.

The channels owned & operated by Foxtel include FOX8, FOX Classics, Arena, Comedy, Crime & Investigation, History, Biography and the W Channel.

The titles include 15 local productions, starting with An Aussie Goes Calypso in December and reality competition The Phone in January. Both will air on FOX8.

To be presented by Justin Melvey, The Phone sees two hidden mobile phones ringing somewhere in a city. When a stranger answers, they inadvertently become unsuspecting players in a game for cash. Assuming they don’t hang up we presume…

30 Seconds from Zapruder’s other films is currently in pre-production. The eight-part satirical drama set in and around the fictional advertising agency BND Worldwide, will follow Martin Manning, BND’s egomaniacal Creative Director. It promises to “lay bare the truth behind the ads that surround, manipulate and influence us every day.”

Peter Moon’s Whatever Happened to That Guy? will launch in February while The Pam Ann Show will begin production in December.

There are new seasons of Australia’s Next Top Model (that would be the one without Jodhi Meares), Project Runway Australia, Football Superstar, Blood Sweat and Gears, Crime Investigation Australia, and a local version of boxing reality show The Contender to debut in mid 2009.

Meanwhile in overseas programmes Gossip Girl and Entourage return in December. American Idol is back in January just hours after the US, the fourth series of NZ’s Outrageous Fortune, Sarah ‘I’m F***ing Matt Damon’ Silverman, more Top Chef, Top Design and Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style. America’s Next Top Model will feature cycle 12 sometime after 11 ends.

New shows Dollhouse from Joss Whedon and Better off Ted with Portia de Rossi are also coming- we just don’t know when.

“FOXTEL is committed to delivering a broad array of exclusive local and international content to our subscribers,” said Director of Television Brian Walsh.

“With 15 local programs and series either ready to premiere or in pre-production, our Australian production slate is more extensive than ever and of course we have a few more projects still in development.”


An Aussie Goes Calypso
Premieres December 3, Wednesdays at 7.30pm on FOX8
Following the huge success of An Aussie Goes Barmy (2006) and An Aussie Goes Bolly (2007), everyone’s favourite larrikin, Gus Worland, is at it yet again. This time, he’s going Calypso and hitting the West Indies for the one cricket tour he will never forget! Narrated by Hugh Jackman, this popular observational documentary series follows host and cricket die-hard fan Gus as he escapes to the Caribbean to find out all he can about the character of life in the homes of our cricketing adversaries. Throughout the series Worland goes absolutely Calypso, experiencing not only the stunning Caribbean landscape but also the culturally diverse people. Irreverent and full of West Indian colour and spice, An Aussie Goes Calypso also features special guest appearances by the Australian cricket team and interviews with feisty fans, making this series a summer must-watch for sports and arm-chair travellers alike. An Aussie Goes Calypso is the third series for Seed Productions screening on FOX8. Seed Productions was formed by partners Hugh Jackman, Deborra-lee Furness and John Palermo and is co-produced with Granada Productions.

The Dog Whisperer
Series four premieres December 4, Thursdays at 8.30pm on Bio.
Cesar Millan, the ‘Dr. Phil for Dogs’ is back with a new series. Each episode of The Dog Whisperer continues to document the remarkable transformations that take place under Cesar’s guidance and teaching, helping dogs and their owners live happier lives together.

Series five premieres December 7, Sundays at 8.30pm on Arena
Drawing on the experiences of Hollywood insiders, the hit series Entourage stars Adrian Grenier as Vince, who is enjoying life in the limelight as a hot young actor; Kevin Connolly as Eric, Vince’s manager, who tries to help him make the right choices; Kevin Dillon as Vince’s half-brother Drama, now relishing a taste of success from his new series, “Five Towns”; Jerry Ferrara as Turtle, the least savvy of the group, and Emmy-winner Jeremy Piven as Ari, Vince’s aggressive, high-powered agent. Mark Wahlberg is the executive producer of Entourage.

Step It Up And Dance
Premieres December 7, Sundays at 7.30pm on Arena
Contestants learn what it takes to make it big in the cut-throat dance industry. Celebrated actress and dancer Elizabeth Berkley hosts and Emmy Award nominee and Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell will mentor the 12 dancers, as they master every conceivable dance style, from ballet and ballroom to Broadway and burlesque on Step It Up And Dance. World-renowned director and choreographer Vincent Paterson (Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour), known for his creative work in film, television and music, and choreographer Nancy O’Meara (Hannah Montana, High School Musical Tour), who has worked with some of the best selling artists currently touring arenas around the country, will serve as judges for the competition. Whether it’s a music video one week or a Vegas spectacular the next, this new dance series features challenges in which the dancers audition for a range of parts, designed to showcase their versatility and moves. As the competition gets fierce and contestants are eliminated, only one person will get the final “call back” and the chance to perform, with the ultimate dancer winning $US100,000.

Gossip Girl
Series two premieres December 9, Tuesdays at 8.30pm on FOX8
Last summer’s most addictive drama returns to FOX8. The privileged prep school teens on Manhattan’s Upper East Side all live for gossip and scandal – along with fashion, shopping and partying in Manhattan’s trendiest hot spots. Keeping track of this wealthy and complex world isn’t easy, but it’s what ‘Gossip Girl’ does best. The second season kicks off by showing us all the sexy shenanigans the Upper East Siders have fallen into since summer began. There’s nothing like a warm beach and a little sunshine to shake off some heartbreak. Get ready for more backstabbing, fights, evil plans, lies, break-ups, hook ups, seduction and sex.

Instant Beauty Pageant
Premieres December 9, Tuesdays at 9.30pm on Arena
Instant Beauty Pageant challenges ordinary women to shop till they drop, strut their stuff and compete for their very own title and tiara! What starts as an ordinary day at the mall turns into high-tension TV when five very special shoppers are ambushed and invited to participate in a real live beauty pageant. But there’s a catch: the contestants must be ready for the catwalk in less three hours. With limited time to create an entire pageant ensemble, the contenders race around the mall on a frenzied shopping spree to prepare for the spotlight. Ready or not, when the three hours are up, the beauty pageant begins!

Maggie With …..
Premieres Sunday December 21 at 7.30pm on Bio.
(*New episodes will premiere each month)
Bio. is proud to premiere a new biographical series, presented by Australia’s much-loved First Lady of television, Maggie Tabberer. Each episode of the new series will feature Maggie sitting in conversation with respected, recognised women, from a range of professional fields. Premiering December 21 is Maggie With … Women of Fashion. Maggie speaks with Collette Dinnigan, Belinda Seper and Camilla Franks. Coming up in 2009, Maggie With … Women of Food and Maggie With … Women of Stage.
*Series premieres November 30 with Maggie With … Women of News featuring Tracy Grimshaw, Geraldine Doogue, Tracey Spicer.


The Phone
Premiering January 19, Mondays at 8.30pm on FOX8
In each episode two cell phones will be hidden in one city at random places. When the phones start ringing, members of the public are sure to find the phones and answer the calls, and from that moment on become participants in the game! With major cash prizes up for grabs these two strangers have the chance of winning if they decide to collaborate, and successfully accomplish the given missions. Hosted by Justin Melvey

American Idol
Series eight will premiere in 2009 hot off the satellite in January on FOX8
The reality TV juggernaut American Idol launches its eighth season in January. It is the most watched television series on the planet and FOX8 is the place for Australian viewers to watch it along with the rest of the world. The episodes will premiere just hours after their debut on U.S. television. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the series sets out to discover America – and the world’s – next solo singing superstar.
Judges, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, share their wisdom as the finalists sing their hearts out each week. Eventually the competition is narrowed down to two finalists who compete for a major recording contract and the American Idol title. Past winners are Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and David Archuletta. Who will be the next American Idol?

Premieres January 4, Sundays at 9.30pm on The History Channel
Throughout eons of evolution, the natural world has played host to this never-ending competition. Since the dawn of time roughly ninety-nine percent of all species have become extinct. In order to survive, all creatures, including man, must treat life as a battlefield and master the natural weapons and defences that have evolved: Tyrannosaurus Rex’s 13-inch canines; the gecko’s Velcro-like toe pads; the bald eagle’s telescopic vision that is capable of spotting a hare a mile away. Evolve is an 11 episode series examining the history of these evolutions and how did they come about? They didn’t just appear arbitrarily, they evolved for a common reason – to give these animals a critical edge in interspecies warfare.

Top Chef: New York
Series 5 premieres January 5, Mondays at 8.30pm on Arena
Bright knives, big city. The 17 sizzling new chefs take to the Big Apple along with guest judges and stars, including Martha Stewart, Foo Fighters, Jean-Georges, Eric Ripert, Natasha Richardson and new judge Toby Young. The fifth season of this Emmy award-winning series returns with Top Chef: New York. Cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi presides over the judges’ table alongside head judge Tom Colicchio, renowned culinary figure and chef/owner Craft Restaurants, and judge Gail Simmons, of Food & Wine magazine. This season introduces new judge Toby Young, food critic and best-selling author of the book “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”, which was the basis for an upcoming film. The Top Chef: New York cheftestants will be skewered down week by week as they compete to out-flavour, out-cook and out-do their competition. The winning chef will receive $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, furnished by the makers of the Glad family of products, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of “Top Chef”.

Vanity Lair
Premieres January 6, Tuesdays at 8.30pm on Arena
Over the course of a summer, ten beautiful people will move into the impressive Vanity Lair mansion. There they will live together, enjoying all the trappings of a luxurious lifestyle. Each week, new people arrive in an attempt to make it into the house. The new arrival, who convinces the residents that they are the most attractive, gets to move in. The repercussion is that in turn, the new arrival kicks out the resident they feel is least attractive. At the end of the series, the most attractive person will win a £10,000 prize.

Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style
Series two premieres January 6, Tuesdays at 8.30pm on Arena
Everyone’s favourite personality on Project Runway hosts his own show. Using his book Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style as a point of reference, Gunn transforms style-challenged subjects whilst informing the masses about his philosophy on dressing, grooming and poise.

Premiering January 7, Wednesdays at 9.30pm on FOX8
In the action-packed drama series Leverage, Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton plays. Nate Ford, an insurance investigator who realises he needs a change in career when his employer denies him family health insurance claims that ultimately lead to his son’s death. Out of work and in a downward spiral, Ford is hired by an aeronautics executive to recover airplane designs that have been stolen by a rival company. Assisting him are four highly skilled team members, who at first are hesitant to trust each other after so many years of working alone. A common fear of being double-crossed, forces the team to unite, and they emerge from the job realizing that they are far better working together than apart. Once they discover they can trust each other the group targets their cons toward the richest, the greediest and the most unjust.

The Spirit of Australian Sport: Tennis
Premieres January 17, at 7.30pm on The History Channel
This summer The History Channel’s exclusive series turns the spotlight on tennis. This two hour program looks at the key people, players and events that helped define and shape the sport revealing the intrinsic culture of the sport, the impact it has had on the nation and uncover the reason why it captures our imagination. The events portrayed will be placed on the canvas of the times in which they occurred – the music, the politics and the mood of the country.

Top Design
Series 2 premieres January 19, Mondays at 9.30pm
Top Design, the series that follows the work and lives of professional designers, returns with brand new host, fashion model and design aficionado India Hicks. In the second season of the interior design competition, the drama is more intense and the stakes are higher than ever as the 13 contestants are critiqued by some of the most influential names in the design industry. With challenges ranging from redesigning a fall out shelter to competing in a full-on design triathlon, eccentric personalities and creative egos combine to fuel the competition. World-renowned designer Todd Oldham will return to mentor the designers. Head judge Jonathan Adler, along with series’ judges Margaret Russell and Kelly Wearstler, will decide which designer wins the $100,000 cash prize and a four-page editorial showcase in Elle Décor magazine.

Bait Car
Premieres January 25, Sundays at 7.00pm on Crime & Investigation Network
Using high-tech hidden dashboard cameras and sophisticated satellite trackers, Bait Car provides a front row seat to the reactions of car thieves who are playing a real life game of ‘Grand Theft Auto! A Bait Car is a vehicle used by police to catch car thieves red-handed. Authorities leave an unattended car parked on a street or in a car park, sometimes with the keys left in the ignition. A GPS tracking device is attached to the car and a hidden dashboard video camera records the thief’s every move. After a few minutes of a seemingly successful joy ride, the bad guy’s trip ends when police shut down the engine via a remote control. Bait Car from Court TV is an action-packed ‘fly-on-the-dashboard’ observational documentary series of 13 episodes that gives viewers a bird’s eye view from inside a stolen car during the actual theft. In addition to recording the theft and the subsequent police arrest, the hidden cameras also provide a revealing insight into the minds of car thieves, as these specially equipped cars capture every nervous glance, ecstatic laugh and bone-headed conversation from the moment the car is stolen to the inevitable bust by the police.


Whatever Happened To That Guy?
Premiering February on THE COMEDY CHANNEL
Five years on, a Moon spotting is as rare as a moon landing, which is hard to comprehend considering the success of Peter Moon’s comedic alumni, Jane Turner and Gina Riley, to name but a few. To help THE COMEDY CHANNEL in its search it has hired the best in the business, including legendary comedy director Ted Emery (Kath & Kim) for this eight x 30 minute series. ‘The Peter Moon story’ will be unique, intriguing and absolutely hilarious.

Crime Investigation Australia
Returns February, with new episodes premiering monthly on Crime & Investigation Network
Crime Investigation Australia first premiered on the Crime & Investigation Network in August, 2005. Since then episodes have covered The Granny Killer, The Graeme Thorne Murder; Daniel Morcombe’s Disappearance; The Murder of Dr Victor Chang, Ivan Milat and the Backpacker Murders, The Anita Cobby Murder and Snowtown: Bodies in the Barrels, The Kimberley Killer, The Greenough Family Massacre, The Disappearance of Donald Mackay, The Body in the Sports Bag, The Assassination of John Newman, The Butchered Boys, The Killing Fields of Truro, The Murder of Virginia Morse and Headless Body – The Kim Barry Story and The Gonzales Family Murders. The series is hosted by Steve Liebmann and produced by Graham McNeice Productions.

Outrageous Fortune
Series four premieres February 15, Sundays at 7.30pm on Arena
New Zealand’s best-loved comedy drama Outrageous Fortune continues on Arena in 2009. In the fourth series, Cheryl battles the forces of Wolf to defend her kids and castle, but as family tensions erupt, the worst villain may be the enemy within …Outrageous Fortune is a comedy-drama series about the wrong sort of people trying to do the right thing when the rewards for going straight are neither immediate nor bountiful. It is a bold, fresh series which is by turns bawdy, action-packed, satirical and trashy – but only ever a heartbeat away from reality. The idea of a former crime family trying to go straight, the tension this generates between matriarch and patriarch, and the contemporary moral questions the show poses, all provide a touchstone for 21st century audiences everywhere. Stars Robyn Malcolm as Cheryl West, Antony Starr as twins Van and Jethro West, Grant Bowler as Wolfgang West, Siobhan Marshall as Pascalle West, Antonia Prebble as Loretta West, Frank Whitten as Grandpa Ted West, Tammy Davis as Munter, Kirk Torrance as Wayne Judd, Nicole Whippy as Kasey, Tyler-Jane Mitchel as Sheree and Craig Hall as Nicky.

How Life Began
Premieres February on The History Channel
Billions of years before man first walked the Earth, billions of years before dinosaurs existed, Earth was teeming with life. Single-celled organisms made a roiling soup of our oceans, and living creatures were crawling in the soil. Where did it all come from? How does one exactly define “life”? And how do you go from a single-celled organism to a trillion-celled organism like Man? How Life Began is a visually stunning and thought-provoking two hour special.


The Stamp of Australia
Premieres March 2009 on The History Channel
Whatever has happened to Australia and Australians in the past two hundred years has been passed on to people by letters: letters delivered by lone horsemen, courageous aborigines, Cobb and Co coaches, flimsy pioneer aircraft, and even once by a Japanese bomber. And now by the most sophisticated electronics. This is the story of how Australians have told the world and each other what it’s like to be Australian. The Stamp of Australia will commemorate the Bicentenary of Australia’s oldest institution – Australia Post. Over two one-hour episodes the documentary will present a snapshot of Australia’s history during the tumultuous eras of a new colony as it evolved from convict settlement to a prosperous and proud nation and a look ahead into the future of our most common form of communication. The Stamp of Australia will use re-enactments and letters of the period to bring legends to life and to chronicle 200 years of Australia’s growth. Through a series of small stories, a big picture of determination, courage and adventure is painted on a romantic canvas of the wide brown land. Hosted by Scott McGregor.

The Sarah Silverman Program
Premiering March on THE COMEDY CHANNEL
Arguably the funniest and sexiest woman in comedy today, Sarah Silverman took the world by storm with her hilarious music clip and You Tube phenomenon ‘I’m F***ing Matt Damon’. Now, THE COMEDY CHANNEL is gearing up for the Australian premiere of her Emmy-nominated comedy series The Sarah Silverman Program. Ranked one of TIME Magazine’s top new TV shows, The Sarah Silverman Program’s humour is predominantly based on satirizing conventional “family-friendly” or wholesome television programs.


The Pam Ann Show
Premiering in early 2009 on THE COMEDY CHANNEL
The Pam Ann Show will be a studio-based comedy program, hosted by the internationally famous Australian Flight Attendant Pam Ann – the outrageous and irreverent alter ego of comedian Caroline Reid. The series will emphasise the vagaries of air travel, including the identifying quirks of various airlines around the world, mixed with a generous dose of ribald humour and double entendre. Each 30 minute episode of The Pam Ann Show will focus on a different international destination – London, Athens, Beijing, Paris, Dubai, Sydney, L.A. and Rio. The studio audience (ostensibly passengers on the flight) will be encouraged to dress accordingly and the set is the galley and cabin of a Boeing 747, complete with spiral staircase to the upper deck lounge. Each program will feature two high profile celebrity passengers who will be interrogated by Pam as well as musical numbers, sketches, filmed vignettes and celebrity cameos.

Blood, Sweat & Gears
Series two premieres in early 2009 on FOX8
Blood Sweat & Gears sets out to discover Australia’s best car and the driver behind the wheel. Hosted Scott McGregor, this is more than just a car show. As well as showcasing the latest innovations in street car modifications, it will be a clash of egos as Australia’s most passionate car lovers will battle it out to be recognised as the best.

Australia’s Next Top Model
Series five will premiere in early 2009 on FOX8
Subscription television’s highest rating general entertainment series will return in 2009 with new host Sarah Murdoch heading the search for Australia’s Next Top Model. Australia’s Next Top Model is the hit reality series that follows a group of young women as they try to prove they have what it takes to make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of modelling. The 2008 series smashed all previous viewing records and the nationwide audition tour for a fresh group of young hopefuls to compete in series five has just concluded. The finalists will move into the top model house in early 2009 and the cameras will follow their transformation from attractive girls-next-door into potential working models. During the series, the girls must demonstrate both inner and outer beauty as they learn to master complicated catwalks, intense physical fitness, fashion photo shoots and perfect publicity skills. Murdoch will lead the panel of judges – including fashion designer Alex Perry and fashion identity Charlotte Dawson. Each week, the judges assess task performance and potential to narrow the field until only one remains. The winner of Australia’s Next Top Model will take away a prize package including representation for 12 months by premiere model agency Priscilla’s; an all expenses paid trip to New York to meet with top international agencies and a fashion spread with a leading fashion magazine.

America’s Next Top Model
Cycle 12 will premiere in 2009 on FOX8
FOX8 continues to be the home of Australian television premiere episodes of America’s Next Top Model, featuring the international hit format’s creator Tyra Banks and her team of Jay Manuel, Miss J, Nigel Barker and Paulina Porizkova and, of course, a group of top models in the making.
*Cycle 11 is currently airing on FOX8 and will continue through summer.

Project Runway Australia
Series two will premiere mid-2009 on Arena
Project Runway Australia was the top performing debut series of the year on subscription television so standby for more stitching and bitching in 2009. Australian supermodel Kristy Hinze will return as host along with the panel of fashionistas (Henry Roth, Sarah Gale and Jayson Brunsdon) who mentor and judge the competing wannabes each week as they vie for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch their career in Australian fashion.

Football Superstar
Series two will premiere mid-2009 on FOX8
Get ready for another round of FOX8’s sports reality series Football Superstar. The series is a national hunt to unearth Australia’s undiscovered football talent, with the winner receiving the career-launching prize of a professional contract. The backbone of the program is the week by week drama as the lads go through the highs and lows of their trial period and are challenged off the field to see how they’d cope living the public lifestyle of a high-profile footballer. Throughout the series, the hopefuls will be whittled down by an expert judging panel. Host Brian McFadden is set to get his boots on for series two.

30 Seconds
Premiering in 2009 on THE COMEDY CHANNEL
Produced by Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films, 30 Seconds is an eight-part satirical drama that will lift the lid on the advertising industry and the characters within it. Set in and around the fictional advertising agency BND Worldwide, the storyline will follow Martin Manning, BND’s egomaniacal Creative Director, as he stokes the often ridiculous, true-to-life drama that arises from the conflicting interests of an advertising agency and its demanding clients. Central to the series is BND’s relationship with its powerful new client, the Daiyonda Motor Corporation. An international realignment means Daiyonda Marketing Head Marion West is forced to give their business – including the biggest vehicle launch they have ever attempted – to the Australian office of BND Worldwide, which she does not hold in high regard. So begins one of the most awkward relationships in the history of advertising.
Through BND’s dealings with Daiyonda and other clients, including Rex Beer, Bobo’s Burger Chain and Poeffer Power tools, 30 Seconds will lay bare the truth behind the ads that surround, manipulate and influence us every day.

The Contender
Premiering in mid-2009 on FOX8
The Contender sees FOX8 moving from the catwalk or the soccer field to the high energy world of competitive boxing, in a bid to find the next champion of the ring. This local version of the U.S. and worldwide ratings hit will debut in mid 2009.

15 Responses

  1. A bit disappointed that Arena is taking so long to bring Entourage. Its like 3 months behind the US? All my co-workers get to watch them through their illegal downloads, and I have suffer waiting for it on Arena, and I pay for Arena and they get it for free. Why do I get punished for doing the right thing? Arena really needs to get their act together instead of screwing their viewers.

  2. Ten had it, but they sold it to Foxtel as the were concerned over the amount of ad time they’d be able to insert in it. That, and the fact it would mean Ten actually air a quality show (besides Life), and thats not what they look for in their programs

  3. I love Entourage its good to see the show getting aired so soon after its completion in the states 0 I’ve been acquiring Season 5 for a while though.

    I think TEN should purchase the show to air in its late night sunday slot, whats commonly becomming its late-night cable fix.

  4. First episode of Leverage was quite good, so i’ll definately be watching that.

    Sarah Silverman Program is hilarious, but having just finished the third season in the states, already seen them all.

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