“Survivors ready? GO!”

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 Comments:

  1. Just fiddled with my TV’s to make sure they were receiving GO! Two of them instantly changed from “Nine Guide” to “Nine Go!” which was nice but on one box, I typed in 99 and wouldn’t display a channel, so I had to rescan. All sweet now. One thing that is bothering me. Shows that are 4:3 are being stretched to fit 16:9 in the promos. I hope they are shown in their proper aspect ratio when they start broadcasting properly!

  2. I’m sad they’re not going to have normal shows on after midnight… it would be nice for channels to provide some kind of viewing, even just repeating their daytime shows would be nice!

  3. I am a current foxtel subscriber(IQ2 – Cable), does anyone know when Go! will be on Foxtel(still no sign of it in the EPG), and also, if it won’t be on by sunday when it premiers, why the hold up? I don’t particulary want fork out another $100 bucks or so, to get a seperate Digital Box to watch these FTA Digital channels.

  4. thanks davmel and cpandilo, I’ll get onto to it later.

    By the way, that 5 second loop gets extremely annoying after watching it for a few minutes. Now I can barely go to GO! without shuddering. Looking forward to their previews (hopefully they loop something longer than 5s)

  5. Randallg said: They’re currently showing looped channel ID messages that become very annoying after about 5 seconds so I quickly switched off.

    The program promo reel will be up tonight – maybe by the time this message is moderated even.

  6. “Paull says:
    August 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm
    Does anyone know why when I updated my digital channels (a few minutes ago) on the vcr, that GO! was on channel 352, 9 was on 350 and 9HD on 351? While Channel 99 remains but is still called 9 Guide, simucasts 9, and the epg on 9, 90 and 99 is not updating.”

    The 350+ channels are reserved in the DVB standard to list channels either where the network hasn’t specified an LCN number or where there is a conflict between existing and new channels that are the same.
    You need to delete your existing entries so they don’t conflict with the older stored ones and then after a rescan they will have the correct LCN numbers.

  7. Does anyone know why when I updated my digital channels (a few minutes ago) on the vcr, that GO! was on channel 352, 9 was on 350 and 9HD on 351? While Channel 99 remains but is still called 9 Guide, simucasts 9, and the epg on 9, 90 and 99 is not updating.
    While on our hd television, channel 9 had no signal, so I re-scanned and it’s come back, on the normal channel numbers (ie GO on 99 etc)

  8. ER fans should unite and petition 9 / GO as there is not mention of it in any press relating to GO and there are still 2 seasons to air. I can understand why they have left it off GO for now, as its not really a younger audience type show, but surely they could consider an ER ep for the weekends rather than 3 hours of CSI each night? Or even put ER doubles on Tuesday nights on channel 9 – they will do as well, if not better than the random mess they currently have on Tuesday nights.

  9. channel 99 is now labelled as go! in epg, as is now playing promotional material for go( which is very repetitive and annoying lol) although this switch was meant to take place at 1pm, it was already in place when i switched to 99 at about 12:30pm.

  10. They’re currently showing looped channel ID messages that become very annoying after about 5 seconds so I quickly switched off. The ONE HD countdown was much better as it actually had some decent music that would play.

  11. @Neon Kitten: I forgot about that. Oh well. At least it’s on.

    @Jed: 8.30 Tuesdays is bad for me too, Jed, so I am hoping that I can be at home at 12 on Wednesdays for the repeat. That’s my only chance.

  12. “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.”

    Then why not make these limitations an advantage? why not offer decent content for younger viewers during these timeslots? this is meant to be a youth channel.

    Kids shows could be offered between 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM weekdays, like the ABC2 used to, in the distant past. There is no content offered for younger viewers at this time (unless you count The Simpsons repeats), and anything would be better than Australia’s Funiest Home Video Show.

    Nine could show more kids marathons of TV series or movies during the school holidays too. There are several animated movies (ie :Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix) from Cartoon Network and Warner Brother they should still have rights to, that have not been shown before.

  13. well i’ve rescanned everything and GO is working, but the EPG for 99 still only shows now and next nothing beyond that and the 90 EPG is showing the programs that are going to be on GO not 9HD. so have they said when they are fixing up the EPG for both these channels coz i can’t program my recordings until the EPG is correct.

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