“Survivors ready? GO!”

Ahead of the launch of GO! on Sunday night, TV Tonight spoke to Les Sampson, Nine's Director of Multichannels about the new channel.

survFrom today GO! begins its signal on digital televisions, ahead of its ‘soft-launch’ on Sunday night with an array of tasty titles.

TV Tonight spoke to Les Sampson, Nine’s Network Director of Multichannels about its programming.

GO! is structured similar to a subscription TV channel with ‘block’ programming from 3:30pm – 12am, which is repeated again the next day. The SD channel has been carefully programmed so as not to cannibalise Nine and to skew towards younger demographics.

“The model is designed so that we get maximum use of the available audience,” says Sampson.

“At the moment the schedule is ‘blocked’ but probably in the next two months we’ll expand those blocks out. It’s a work in progress.”

The channel launches at 6:30pm on Sunday with a new series of Wipeout. While Nine has 60 Minutes and Rescue, GO! begins with comedy titles such as The Big Bang Theory and Aliens in America.

Aliens in America is a fun little show,” he says. “A family decides they want to get an exchange student, so they advertise hoping for a tall blonde Norwegian or a hot sexy German. But they end up with a guy from Pakistan. He’s not what they’re expecting so he’s the ‘alien’ in the family. It’s funny with its interaction between the eastern and western mentality. It’s a fun little show that has a sense of what the channel is. It’s a little bit risqué, with some moments that are potentially politically incorrect.

“Mondays we’ve got Dog The Bounty Hunter, Neighbours at War, Bad Lad’s Army, so it’s a ‘go get ’em’ type theme, in a sort of blokey night. Obviously we have female-skewing shows on the premium channel with Farmer and Drop Dead Diva.”

Tuesday night offers reality with Survivor, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

“We’re playing (Survivor) Gabon and then we lead into the next series (Tocantins). They are all new Australian premiere episodes which you wouldn’t have seen on Foxtel,” says Sampson.

“Wednesday night we’ve got Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe, Eleventh Hour episodes. We’ve played a few episodes before but the majority will be new. Thursday’s Gossip Girl will be a repeat because it’s been on Foxtel, but most will be Free to Air premiere episodes. There’s Moonlight and then The Hills which will pick up from where we left off.”

Fridays and Saturdays offers repeats of CSIs plus the return of Dance Your Ass Off.

“And at 7:30 weeknights TMZ will be Australian premiere episodes which we pull off the satellite everyday. They fit the channel, they’re very young, very papparazzi driven.”

TMZ will pair with Entertainment Tonight which premieres on Nine at 3pm before playing again at 7pm on GO!

In designing the new channel, Sampson says classification issues have been the network’s biggest problem.

“Foxtel have the luxury of being able to play content wherever they want pretty much,” he said. “We still have to play ‘G’ programming early evening. We can’t play ‘M’ programming before 8:30. We can play it during the day between 12 and 3, but not during school holidays and it’s the same problem on weekends.”

GO! will also screen music clips overnight as part of The ARIA Music Show. Over summer while the premium channel has a focus on cricket GO! will offer complementary programming.

In October when GO! completes its launch, it will offer the Australian premiere of Kevin Williamson’s The Vampire Diaries, as well as breakaway commercial feeds in each market. Sampson sees the channel as a ‘work in progress’ and indicates the addition of channel exclusive interstitials.

“We’re looking at doing fashion updates, snow report updates, bar and restaurant interstitials. The channel is very new so it’s a matter of developing out. It will grow.”

While shows that are dropped off Nine are not necessarily guaranteed an immediate place on GO! the upside is the channel is looking to playout its series.

“We have to forward-plan 6 to 12 months in advance. So we won’t just drop one show for another. We want to try and play out each episode of each series.”

Sampson also flagged other titles to follow inclusing Weeds, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hell’s Kitchen and Nip / Tuck.

“Unfortunately we can’t have everything on the schedule at once!”

GO! Channel 99
WIN / NBN Channel 88 (East Coast)
GO! Digital TV help line on 1300 152 231

68 Responses

  1. Wts the deal with GO! ? they have no web site to give feed back……..it suposed to be a channel for younger ppl but they keep putting on crappy re runs of shows that are up to over 20 yrs old!! WTF. wen it first came on it repeated the new programs that where on at nite during the day, wat happened to that!! The good shows are good the old shows are crap, why do you think the other stations only play them in the off seasons!!! Wake up GO! I f ur doing re runs make it of the the good young shows please!!!!

  2. I hope GO shows all the eps in each season showed and maybe introduces some other sci-fi shows like Bab 5, BSG. STTNG, DS9 .voyager etc.
    What usually makes me hate comercial tv is the constant timeslot changes for shows and ending eps mid saeson to show it 6 months later or never again. I hope with these new channels coming on baord that will cease.

  3. @mac: ofcourse I know that, but as previously stated, the owners (sony) went back to the original film it was filmed on (as opposed to tape) in order to allow it to have HD quality.
    “As Seinfeld was shot on 35 mm film, natively a 4:3 format, Sony Pictures had to crop out top and bottom parts of the frame, while restoring previously cropped images on the sides, in order to conform to the 16:9 aspect ratio of high-definition television.”

    Also, I don’t know if this info is correct, but apparently GO will simucast it in HD on GO (well this is according to the wikipedia site, it could be a hoax edit though)

  4. @vid: 100% agree with you. Seinfeld has already been cropped by its owners, Sony, and they’ve done a pretty good job (from what I could tell when I was watching Seinfeld HD on 9 HD). They also have the rights to the original 4:3 episodes too, so there’s equal possibility that they could show the HD eps (downscaled to SD ofcourse) or the SD eps that are already in 4:3.
    On a side note, I wouldn’t mind it if networks such as 7 aired 4:3 shows in 14:9 (a good compromise b/w 16:9 and 4:3)

  5. @timmy although many networks crop 4:3 shows for proms(111hits, fox8) it’s most likely the actually eps of seinfeld will be cropped(not stretched) as they where when airing on nines main channel recently. in my opinion it’s better to show 4:3 programmes in their original ratio as the cropping technique nine uses cuts of a bit off the top and bottom of the picture. @paull, not sure if you where referring to seinfeld or not but it aired from 1989-1997 before ws became widespread.

  6. @Paull the promo that shows Survivor in WS also shows The Bachelor/Bachelorette in stretched format… presumably these shows are in 4:3 and were just stretched for the promo to make the promo cohesive.

  7. @Luke W: Doesn’t your tv have an option to adjust shows back to 4:3? Mine does (although the down side is it’s no use on SD channels because when the show isn’t 16:9, the 4:3 has black bars around it, so squeezing the image only makes it look thinner)
    As for the 4:3 shows, im still shocked that america doesn’t just film all shows in 16:9, regardless of the HD factor, they could simply film and crop the tops and bottoms, or squeeze the image in then stretch back out on the editing board. Shows like amazing race would go so much better in 16:9, even if it stayed SD.

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