Seven’s Head of Drama, John Holmes, adopts new role

EXCLUSIVE: Seven’s Head of Drama, John Holmes, will move into a new role which frees him up from the day-to-day machinations of overseeing the network’s drama output and allows him to focus on creating drama with long-term collaborator, Bevan Lee.

From January Julie McGauran, currently with Southern Star Entertainment, will become Seven’s new Head of Drama.

McGauran is best known as co-creator and co-producer of Wild Boys and Rescue Special Ops.

Holmes has an exemplary track record in producing drama for Seven having been Head of Drama since 1994. Under his helm he has executive produced a raft of Seven productions including Blue Heelers, Home and Away, All Saints, Last Man Standing, Packed to the Rafters, City Homicide, Winners & Losers and Wild Boys.

His work in the industry stems back 30 years, joining Seven in the film department and progessing through roles as a stagehand, floor manager, in-house producer. In 1982 he joined Grundys Organisation, where he produced Sons and Daughters and Neighbours, later producing the Home and Away pilot for Seven.

In addition to stints with Nine and TEN, Holmes has also overseen Seven’s enviable in-house production model.

“The last 17 years have been an absolute blast and I am looking forward to working alongside Julie and Bevan, two of the sharpest professionals in television today,” Holmes said.

Seven’s Director of Programming and Production, Tim Worner said, “You only need to look at John’s credits to understand his gift for storytelling. His instincts are supreme. And together with Bevan Lee he’s part of the best creative partnership in the business.

“Julie’s arrival ensures that Seven will continue to be the country’s most successful producer of Australian drama. She has acumen, energy and skill and her leadership will enable John and Bevan to concentrate on finding and telling Aussie stories.”

Julie McGauran has a long background of working under the Holmes / Lee team including as Series Producer on Home and Away for five years. Her other television credits include All Saints, Behind The Scenes Of Blue Heelers Live, Back To The Bay (UK) and Out of the Blue. She will remain with Southern Star until December 2011.

The new structure will allow Holmes to remain with the network’s Drama output for many more years. He will take up his new position in February 2012.


  1. David’s comment is spot on, for sure.
    Basically I assume from what I read in this article, that Julie will run the nuts and bolts of the day to day production organisation while JH & BL can concentrate on the purely creative and forward planning.
    Seven value JH – but, as with anyone who has had a accomplished 30+ year career, there gets a time when you just want things to be a little less full on as part of the attraction of going each day to a job you still want to love.
    Good luck to them all. Julie is a pleasant and efficient operator and JH is one of the real and true gentlemen of the TV business in this country who has never forgotten his background nor looks down upon those which whom he has shared the ride.
    JH & BL’s track record of success at Seven Drama speaks for itself.

  2. This guy is a legend. Anyone who had anything to do with Sons & Daughters and the early years of Neighbours and Home & Away has got talent that is beyond words as they are 3 of our most successful dramas ever.

    Julie McGauren on the other hand I’m not a fan of, as others have said her dramas leave a lot to be desired. With her in the top job, could this be the end of Seven’s long list of successful dramas???

  3. John has had tremendous success with a better strike rate than anyone in the country (regardless whether you like 7 dramas or not). I also think 7 does succession extremely well and as Julie produced H&A during its most successful period and is obviously familiar with the other two, it looks like another good decision (and no i dont work for 7 or even watch the channel).

  4. Jezza having broken the story let me put it simply, there will now be three running Seven’s Drama rather than two. But there’s no pushing.

    It’s fair enough that readers are familiar with Julie McGauran’s work through her two recent projects so I’m sure we’ll all watch with interest at how that pans out. The decision today, as reported, is a stepping back from the daily grind of running a big slate and will retain Holmes in the creative stream. Seems to have done them pretty well so far.

  5. @ jamie…..has he still got the same job?….err…no

    has his replacement got a ‘mixed’ track record?….probably…..

    TV execs are worse than pollies for their spin and bs

  6. @s5000 you got three feet or did i read that wrong…LOL
    @daveinprogress…what is your extension at channel 7…i must applaud your comment over the phone

  7. I’m with you Jamie on this. 7’s record on drama has been both popular and acclaimed. Consistency wise (something the ABC used to wear the crown for), 7 has maintained its appeal for a couple of decades. I may not watch Home and Away or Wild Boys, but Rafters, Winners and Last Man Standing were/are well made, enjoyable and at times provocative drama. John Holmes may well be wanting a change, he has certainly been industrious and in power a long time.

  8. Congratulations to Julie McGauran! That is the real story here. John Holmes has been trying to retire his way out of Seven for years – just let the poor guy go instead of dressing it up as anything else. Let’s celebrate the changing of the guard – so long overdue.

  9. Yeah right, more “insulting rubbish” Lizzie May of the type that constantly outrates all the other drama on television. There are clearly a lot of people who enjoy being insulted. The other networks would kill to have the skill to insult their audience as well. And Jezza, “the push sideways”? Why on earth would Seven “push” someone so successful anywhere? This would clearly have been his own choice. Yet again two examples of the tsunami of couch expertise misanthropy that washes around this site.

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