Looking for the magic touch

TEN is hoping for the magic touch in 2009 with more factual series than ever, MasterChef, Merlin, Life on Mars (US), Worst Week, Lie to Me and more. Some spoilers.

TEN’s line up for 2009 includes more factual series than ever, returning favourites and new international content. After a disappointing 2008, especially in the second half, TEN will need the magic touch to win back loyal viewers.

The network made the announcement today as part of a three day tour across the country.

Headlining the announcement is the acquisition of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Cooking show MasterChef Australia will replace Big Brother across a 7pm timeslot mid year.

Another 7pm strip show is yet to be announced.

The new locally produced factual shows include Recruits, which follows police trainees at NSW Police College in Goulburn, Guerilla Gardeners who will make-over concrete-filled city spaces, Undercover Boss where an executive masquerades amongst staff as a new employee, and the overdue delivery of Bondi Vet starring Dr. Chris Brown.

It also announced Talkin’ ’bout my Generation, a “Baby Boomers” v “Generation X” v “Generation Y” panel show, and Australia’s Hidden Genius, a ‘Cinderella-style search’ for an undiscovered brainiac.

New international shows include Merlin (pictured), Lie to Me, Life on Mars, Little Britain USA, Worst Week, Harper’s Island and the daytime series The Doctors.

There are return seasons for Biggest Loser Australia, Dance Australia, Rove, Good News Week, Bondi Rescue, AFL including AFL Grand Final, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, RUSH and Australian Idol.

Set to continue are: NCIS, House, Life, Supernatural, SVU, Numb3rs, Medium, Dexter, brand new Simpsons, Californication, Criminal Intent, 9am, Oprah, Dr Phil, Ready Steady, Bold and the Beautiful, Huey’s Cooking, Totally Wild, TEN News and Judge Judy.

And “Seriously” stays put.

Press Release (some spoilers):

TEN announces seriously targeted 2009 line-up

10 November 2008

Network Ten today announced its strongest program line up in recent years with an expanded international and domestic slate rivalling previous offerings to secure a big year, all year, for TEN in 2009.

o TEN introduces seven new Australian programs;

o TEN announces new marquee franchise mid year, Sundays and Monday thru Friday 7pm; with at least one other 7pm strip show to be announced mid year;

o TEN announces return of Australian drama RUSH with a full season pick up;

o TEN welcomes seven new US series; and

o All TEN’s proven domestic and international favourites return

Network Ten chief executive officer, Grant Blackley, said investment in TEN is investment in a highly targeted and efficient proposition.

“TEN remains focused on our strategy of building share in the highly important 18-49 demographic. TEN’s prime time audience strategy most closely reflects the age composition of the Australian adult population, as 18-49s account for three in five adults. TEN provides the most targeted and efficient delivery of this important audience,” Mr Blackley said.

“We are also focused on maintaining our leading position in 16-39s.

“In addition, we are the undisputed number one network in daytime. For total people, GBs or women 25-54, we have been the number one network for the past 100 weeks – and we intend to remain so.”

The first big announcement of the day was TEN’s acquisition of live and exclusive rights, to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The deal covers all broadcast rights (both freeto-air and subscription), all new media rights (incorporating Internet and mobile) and all radio rights. This is a marquee event in the Australian and international sporting calendar, and will build on TEN’s broadcast of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

Mr Blackley also said: “With the launch of ONE, the Network’s new dedicated sports channel, our ‘seriously different’ programming strategy will mean more than it ever did before. “Together, TEN and ONE will build a larger and more diverse audience for the Network as a whole”.

TEN’s chief programming officer, David Mott said; “It’s a great time to stay home and escape. And our 2009 schedule is pure escapism.

“We’ve got a terrific line-up of returning series plus some very exciting new shows and, of course, that means depth and consistency across the whole year,” Mr Mott said.

TEN remains the leader in ‘event’ TV with marquee franchise shows such as Dance Australia (finale 2.21m), Biggest Loser Australia (finale 2.35m), and Australian Idol (launch 1.8m), dominating the ratings and the buzz throughout the year.

TEN today announced the introduction of a fourth powerhouse franchise to add to the mix, MasterChef Australia, taking a prime position in the mid-year schedule; Sunday nights and Monday through Friday at 7pm.

MasterChef Australia is the first of a series of new domestic shows that will feature over 2009, making TEN’s domestic slate bigger and better than ever before.

TEN’s chief executive officer, Grant Blackley, and chief programming officer, David Mott, launched the network’s 2009 line-up this morning to an audience of media, advertising and industry colleagues at The Ivy, in Sydney, the first stop of their five-market roadshow over three days.


NEW DOMESTIC: MasterChef Australia, Recruits, Bondi Vet, Guerrilla Gardeners, Undercover Boss, Australia’s Hidden Genius, Talkin’ ’bout my Generation

NEW INTERNATIONAL: Merlin, Lie to Me, Life on Mars, Little Britain USA, The Doctors, Worst Week, Harper’s Island

RETURNING AUSTRALIAN: Biggest Loser Australia, Dance Australia, Rove, Good News Week, Bondi Rescue, AFL including AFL Grand Final, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, RUSH and Australian Idol.


MasterChef Australia: Anticipated to be one of the biggest ‘event’ TV shows of 2009, as hundreds of hopefuls are set to turn out across the country with aspirations of becoming Australia’s first true MasterChef. Over 10 weeks every “Donna Hay” wannabe from amateur cook to budding foodies and even tuck-shop mums will be tossing their chef’s hat in the ring, each hoping to become Australia’s next super chef. A team of experts will lead our 16 hopefuls through their staggering challenges as they battle it out for the grandest prize of all…the title of MasterChef.

Recruits: With unprecedented access to the NSW Police College in Goulburn and various Local Area Commands across NSW, Recruits will give audiences a rare glimpse into what’s required of the men and women we entrust to uphold the law. As one group of Recruits are entering the College another is graduating and heading for their first few weeks ‘on the beat’. The series will follow both groups as they embark on the long and gruelling journey towards becoming fullyfledged police officers.

Guerrilla Gardeners: The plan’s in place. The logistics are mapped out. The risks of getting caught are sky high. Make way for TV’s most original series. It’s fun, it’s fast and it’s completely wicked. Six young warriors armed to the teeth with attitude and gardening tools band together to make-over the most barren and concrete-filled spaces in our cities. When the sun goes down and the city workers retreat to the ‘burbs’, the Guerrillas undertake covert operations that transform the biggest eye-sores in the concrete jungle into an oasis of greenery and recreation.

Undercover Boss: Every boss thinks they know what’s going on, but do they? Undercover Boss challenges a boss to go on a voyage of discovery into their own company with the aim of discovering what’s not working in the business. Normally surrounded by spreadsheets and immersed in high level board meetings, bosses across the country will find themselves cleaning toilets, working as a waiter, dealing with irate customers, unblocking drains and doing late shifts in the kitchen. But whilst they’re rooting out problems, they’re also looking to find and reward hidden talent and celebrate the unsung hero among their employees.

Talkin’ ’bout my Generation: “Baby Boomers”, “Generation X” and “Generation Y” will be pitted against each other in this half-hour comedy panel show, which plays on the inherent good natured rivalry between the ages. Covering everything pop culture, this healthy rivalry will likely become an hilariously fierce battleground as team captains lead their groups through the challenge of who knows more? And the ultimate question…Who knows best?

Australia’s Hidden Genius: Across Australia there are untapped geniuses flipping burgers, stacking shelves or sitting at home on their PS3s – and we’re going to unearth them in a nationwide, Cinderella-style search. We’ll open the doors for them to potentially transform their lives forever but at the end of this emotional journey will they decide to start a whole new life – or will they choose to return to their old one?

Bondi Vet: Featuring charismatic and energetic Sydney vet, Dr Chris Brown, Bondi Vet is an unscripted half-hour television series. Bondi Vet will show Dr. Chris saving the lives of animals that are ill or have suffered serious injury with each episode delivering a carefully crafted mix of human and animal interest stories.


Merlin: Launching to an audience 35% above BBC’s primetime average, Merlin explores the adventures of the legendary sorcerer as a young man, bringing to life a new legend for a contemporary audience. This action-packed, 13 x hour long fantasy-drama revisits the saga of Prince Arthur (Bradley James,) and his wizard, Merlin, (Colin Morgan,) in the mythical city of Camelot. One-hour drama

Lie to Me: From the team behind 24 and Arrested Development comes this compelling new drama series. The average person tells three lies in ten minutes of conversation. Dr Cal Lightman, played by the potent Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk, Reservoir Dogs) can detect the truth by analysing a person’s face, body, voice and speech. Lightman is the world’s leading deception expert, a scientist who studies facial expressions and involuntary body language to discover not only if you are lying but why. One-hour drama

Life on Mars: Based on the BBC series about a 21st century detective who is mysteriously transported back to the 1970s. Jason O’Mara (Grey’s Anatomy, CSI:Miami) and screen icon Harvey Keitel, lead an excellent cast through this gritty crime series shot out of New York. One hour drama

Little Britain USA: Written and created by Lucas and Walliams, the six episode series set in contemporary America, Little Britain USA will feature familiar “Little Britain” characters in new sketches, as well as brand-new characters, all performed by Lucas and Walliams. Returning favourites include Lou and his seemingly wheelchair-bound best friend Andy; Dafydd Thomas, the self-proclaimed “only gay in the village”; Emily Howard, an awkward and obvious transvestite in denial; and of course, Margaret Dawes… 30min sketch-com

Worst Week: A firm favourite with international program buyers, this half-hour comedy sees entertainment magazine editor Sam Briggs do anything to impress his girlfriend’s parents but no matter how hard he tries, continually messes up. This “Meet the Parents-esque” series is a 30min sit-com.

Harper’s Island: One of the most compelling dramas to hit our screens, Harper’s Island is a 13- part closed ended mystery boasting a killer cast, an original concept and strong script. It’s a murder mystery that unfolds as friends and family attend a week-long wedding celebration on a secluded and picturesque island off the coast of Seattle, infamous for a homicidal maniac’s rampage seven years ago. One-hour drama

The Doctors: From the creative team behind the long-running hit series Dr. Phil comes The Doctors, a new, one-hour daytime talk show. For the first time on daytime television, viewers will have a source of reliable and fascinating medical and health advice, dispensed daily by a distinguished panel of four ‘on-call’ professionals.


Dance Australia: So You Think You Can Dance Australia proved to be another of TEN’s great success stories on its launch in 2008 as dance fever spread nation-wide culminating in a massive finale peak of 2.2million. Dance isn’t just ballroom, waltz and foxtrot on a parquetry floor, but a whole pumping culture that has been evolving underground, in closed studios and performed in shadows until now. With the launch of Dance Australia came an explosion of energy and passion for one of the country’s most popular past-times, and uncovered some of the most impressive talent ever seen on television. Glamorous host Natalie Bassingthwaighte will return in 2009 alongside judges Jason Coleman, Bonnie Lythgoe and Matt Lee to uncover the next round of uber-talented dancers. With the bar already set so high by season one’s competitors, anticipation about what we’ll see in 2009 is huge.

Biggest Loser Australia: After a hugely successful series in 2008, The Biggest Loser will be back in action with another batch of weight loss hopefuls – and this year they won’t have to do it alone. In a groundbreaking change to the Australian format, this series will have couples competing against each other for the title and the prize. Trainers Michelle and Shannan return to motivate, inspire and guide the couples through the emotional and inspirational journey that is The Biggest Loser.

Australian Idol: Australian Idol is synonymous with entertainment, talent, inspiration and dreams coming true. Having uncovered some of the greatest talents to come out of Australia since its launch in 2002, Idol has established a legitimate path for young unsigned talent to pursue their dreams. Dominating amongst viewers in the 18 to 49 demographic again in 2008, Idol continues to engage the nation as everyone from the young to old campaign behind their favourite singers throughout the incredible journey from auditions through to the grand final. Returning to TEN in 2009 for its eighth season, Australian Idol is a proven performer at engaging and entertaining the nation.

Rove: Rove McManus and his cohorts will cement their position as Australia’s longest running and most successful television talk show of modern time as Rove returns with its tenth season on TEN in 2009. Rove, with the support of his gang of comedic heavyweights, is the first port of call for international guests and home-grown favourites headlining the biggest names in pop culture year-on-year.

GNW: Paul McDermott loves only one thing more than reading the paper. He loves to poke fun at all the ridiculousness right there in front of him. In current times when doom and gloom prevails in the news, Good News Week exposes a different side of local and world affairs – the hilarious side of it. Alongside team leaders Mikey Robins and Claire Hooper with weekly special guests (from all walks of life) Good News Week’s mission is to get people to lighten up about the news and have a good laugh.

RUSH: RUSH returns to screens in 2009 after a successful premier season secured critical acclaim, two AFI nominations and impressive ratings against stiff competition. Set in a critical incident police-unit, our heroes are a mobile squad trained to be smarter, tactically superior and technologically advantaged providing an insider’s view of police under pressure. Starring Rodger Corser, Callan Mulvey, Catherine McClements, Nicole Da Silva, Josef Ber, Ashley Zukerman and Samuel Johnson. RUSH returns in 2009 with a full episode order.


2009 will see the return of favourites: Bondi Rescue, NCIS, House, Life, Supernatural, SVU, Numb3rs, Medium, 5th Grader, Dexter, brand new Simpsons, Californication, Criminal Intent, and the ratings winning daytime line up of: 9am, Oprah, Dr Phil, Ready Steady, Bold and the Beautiful, Huey’s Cooking, Totally Wild, TEN News and Judge Judy.


TEN has invested deeply in Digital Media assets. For all the major program franchises, TEN continues to expand digital offerings, with strong website and mobile phone content that extends the program brands, driving deeper viewer engagement that offers sponsors unique and cost effective ways to further leverage their TV spend. The distinct advertiser proposition and program line-up for 2009 will prove to be a winning combination.

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70 Responses

  1. Wow a couple of inferior remakes of British shows…

    Merlin, i saw the first episode and it was decent, however I don’t see if this would necessarily go well on channel 10. I didn’t see it as a prime time commercial network show.

    Maybe they’re trying to get the Xena audience from years back. Why not go for show’s like The Legend of the Seeker or Crusoe then.

    Is Burn Notice back?

    The Office?

    I wonder why the net works don’t buy more premium cable shows from the states. Sure Dexter is one, but there many more good ones, much better than US network shows which seemed to always be getting cancelled just after the aussie networks pick them up.

  2. Where is Flight of the Conchords?

    I doubt Life on Mars will do well here. In Australia, people won’t even sample the US version of The Office, believing the British version is better without even seeing the US one. I think Life on Mars will suffer the same fate.

    Was there any mention of an “exit strategy” for 10HD? Will Battlestar Gallactica, Smallville etc be played out before OneHD takes over? Do Ten have the rights to the Torchwood mini-series?

  3. An awful line-up. Now what alternative will we have when all the other networks are playing factuals? >:( Even the drama/coms sound really lame.

    Odd that they failed to mention Sit Down, Shut Up and The Cleveland Show…

  4. Unbelieveable comments here. More negative than my credit card. Do you all really think that a few descriptive words on a TV show makes anything sound good? Wait and see. Rush is quality and continues to build audience, Masterchef will go great with Grocery Buyer’s and Women 25-54 (areas lacking on TEN), Merlin is a fantastic production and will be great family viewing, Recruits sounds very intriguing and sure to suck us in, Little Britain USA will be pretty niche, but piss funny, Lie to Me looks great, Harper’s Island could be risky, Worst Week is very clever, Undercover Boss looks like good dumb fun, plus Dexter will get a half decent timeslot.

    Everyone is great at slagging off, but rarely stops to think what the alternatives are.

    David, what were your final results for “Which Slogan is best” question from a few weeks back?? I think ‘Seriously’ was going pretty good?

  5. Matt

    Yes, WA gets screwed, again. It’s like Perth is a insigificant afterthought when 10 does programming, but then they do WA news from Sydney to save money, which they are not pumping into their shows!

    I don’t mind Rush, at least its a local production. More local content would be good. Oh, and and their are some older series Ten can Seriously play again, no, not the constant repeats they always do, but shows that haven’t seen the light of TV since they were first run. Ten, think about it!

  6. Ten is keeping 9am, Dr Phil, Oprah, Ready Steady Cook, Huey and Judge Judy, which seems to mean the only spot available for The Doctors is 11:00-12:00. Is this the end of the 11:00am news and TTN?

  7. The whole ‘serious’ thing may have been cute way back when, but now it just shits me. Ten need to completely rebrand themselves because at the moment they come off as the ugly poor cousin no one likes.

  8. No more doI get excited when I see proposed lineup for next year.

    Based on past 2 years what networks promise they rarelt deliver.
    Hate to be saying this but likeliehood that 30 percent of above promised will make it into lineup before June is…

    30 percent .

    and then what will get canned or rescheduled or moved or dropped or rested after 3 eps..

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