Sequels, revivals and copycats, 2010 is full of them. But where are the new local hits?
The TV year is halfway done, and so far its legacy for new local productions is disappointing.
The year has been a vacuum for new Australian product, with networks reluctant to take risks and resorting to shows that either copy others, revive old glories, localise international formats or depend upon new seasons of proven product.
And as for new series hits? You can count them on one hand.
My Kitchen Rules is the year’s most successful new Australian production. Its Tuesday editions averaged 1.42m viewers. While it was seen by many as trying to capitalise on the success of MasterChef (indeed even to undermine it), the Seven show built in popularity and delivered the network a bonefide hit. But even My Kitchen Rules had its roots in an earlier show, My Restaurant Rules, however it differed enough in format for it to be considered a new 2010 format here.
Nine’s fly-on-the-wall series RBT is next with 1.29m viewers (based on two episodes).
The local version of US format Minute to Win It has averaged 1.18m viewers. It represents one of several new shows attempted by Seven.
Observational doco ICU has faltered with 963, 987 viewers, yanked from its timeslot.
The Matty Johns Show has hung on while The Bounce was bounced by Seven (and promises a Finals return). Their combined average is 891,579.
Australian Families of Crime, which has moved all around Nine’s schedule, averages 787,344. Australian Druglords has also moved around the schedule, as well as undergoing name changes.
Even new product at the ABC is thin on the ground. Documentary series Voyage to the Planets averaged 688,965, new comedy Lowdown averages 532,385 while underperforming whodunnit series Sleuth 101 was 449,048.
The list of flops is a concern: The Bounce, The White Room, Australia Versus -but at least Seven is taking risks. Nine hasn’t floated any new formats of any consequence (Wicked Love: The Maria Korp Story, a telemovie rather than a series, pulled 1.29m viewers) while regurgitating Hey Hey it’s Saturday, variations on Millionaire and new seasons of its drama batch.
Other new shows including Dance Academy and Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever have been more modest successes for ABC and SBS. ABC2’s I ROCK wasn’t even on the ratings radar. ONE has floated a few new sports chat shows.
Some of the new series in Pay TV this year have included Come Dine with Me Australia, Ultimate School Musical: Fame, As Australian As and Tough Nuts.
Meanwhile new Seven formats Beat the Star and The Marriage Ref are yet to eventuate (the former has already filmed).
But hope is in sight. Offspring, Cops LAC, Keeping up with the Joneses, The Making of Modern Australia are coming while telemovies Hawke and Sisters of War are amongst new titles due and ABC drama Rake is in production.