Andrew Denton will return to ABC1, after bowing out of an on-air role several years earlier.
The popular presenter will front a new word-based game show called Randling. The half hour show, tipped to replace Spicks and Specks, will air over 27 weeks, as ten teams of two compete. TV Tonight tipped the return of Denton to front his own show last month.
Denton appeared at the broadcaster’s 2012 Programming Launch last night in Sydney, hosted by Adam Hills.
Director of Television Kim Dalton welcomed Denton back to an on-air role at a launch at the Victoria Room, in Darlinghurst.
ABC faces in attendance included boss Mark Scott, channel controllers Brendan Dahill, Stuart Menzies and Tim Brooke-Hunt, plus Myf Warhurst, Frank Woodley, Don Hany, Geraldine Doogue, Adam Zwar, Aaron Fa’oso, Judith Lucy, Justine Clarke, Josh Thomas, Diana Glenn, Richard Roxburgh, Adam Richard, Jonathan Holmes and more.
The surprise entertainment for the night was singer Deni Hines, who will appear in upcoming period drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Hines, who was so outspoken in Celebrity Apprentice, let her singing do the talking…
ABC has also lured Shaun Micallef to front a news-based comedy show, Shaun Micallef is Mad as Hell (clearly a direct reference to the movie Network.) The half hour show produced by Granada will air for 10 weeks with “One man, a desk, the world…”
A hefty drama slate includes The Straits, Mabo, Jack Irish, Redfern Now, Rake, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, although all of these have been previously announced.
In comedy there is Outland, Woodley, Laid, Lowdown (all previously announced) plus This Christmas from the team behind Review with Myles Barlow, and Josh Thomas in Please Like Me.
Arts and Entertainment shows include Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight, Myf Warhurst’s Nice, Andrew Gunsberg hosting Photo Finish, Agony Aunts, Agony Uncles and Next Stop Hollywood.
International titles include Absolutely Fabulous: 20th Anniversary Specials, Silk and Fry’s Planet Word.
ABC2 will broadcast the London Paralympics.
ABC3 returns Dance Academy while ABC News 24 sees Chas Licciardello and John Barron discuss the 2012 US Presidential Election in Planet America, ABC News Breakfast extends to weekends with Andrew Geoghegan and Miriam Corowa, and Grandstand joins the news channel.
An ABC spokesperson told TV Tonight they were still in discussions on Crownies, which now seems unlikely to return. The Chaser team are also yet to finalise 2012 plans. Gruen is back but there isn’t any clarity yet on whether it will be Gruen Planet. The sequel to Paper Giants is also in the works, tipped to centre on the magazine wars.
Please note the following are select highlights only:
DRAMA (10 x 60’)
Set among the turquoise waters and lethal wildlife of Australia’s Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait, THE STRAITS is an exotic, darkly humorous crime drama series. The Montebellos are not your average Australian family. Modern day smugglers, their family business is transporting drugs into Australia, and guns and exotic wildlife out, making use of ties of blood and loyalty in the Torres Strait Islands. When Harry (Brian Cox – The Bourne Supremacy, Troy, Braveheart), the head of the family, starts to plan his succession he sparks a vicious family power struggle. However, under attack from ambitious bikies and mercurial Papua New Guinea raskols, the family must hold together through torture, assassination and imprisonment. Also stars Rena Owen, Aaron Fa’aoso, Firass Dirani, Jimi Bani and Susannah Bayes-Morton. Support roles from Rachael Blake, Emma Lung, Dan Wyllie, Kim Gyngell. Produced by Penny Chapman and Helen Panckhurst. A Matchbox Pictures production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia, Screen Queensland, Screen NSW and Screen Tasmania.
DRAMA (2 x 90’)
Rain. Wind. Pubs. Beer. Sex. Corruption. Murder. It’s Melbourne in winter and life couldn’t be richer. Emmy Award-winner Guy Pearce stars as Jack Irish – former criminal lawyer, part-time investigator, debt collector, cabinetmaker, mug punter, and sometime lover. The complete man, really. Jack is an expert at finding people who don’t want to be found – dead or alive – and stirs up a hornet’s nest in the process. The JACK IRISH telemovies are adapted from the celebrated novels Bad Debts and Black Tide by Peter Temple (winner of the prestigious UK Crime Writers award in 2007 for The Broken Shore and Miles Franklin award in 2010 for Truth), with scripts by Andrew Knight (Rake, Seachange) and Matt Cameron (Crashburn, Seachange). Produced by Ian Collie. An Essential Media and Entertainment Production in
association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
DRAMA/INDIGENOUS (1 x 117’)
MABO tells the story of Eddie Koiki Mabo, the Torres Strait Islander who left school at fifteen, yet spearheaded the High Court challenge that once and for all overthrew the notion of terra nullius. Hand in hand with this David and Goliath legal battle is the tender love story of Koiki and Bonita, the woman he met as a teenager, and loved through thirty years of marriage and the raising of ten children. It tells of the deep love and partnership that fuelled their fight for Australian law to recognise traditional land rights. Although Koiki never lived to hear the High Court’s decision that returned his land to him, the name Mabo has become known nationwide. This telemovie stars Jimi Bani (The Straits, RAN) as Koiki, and Deborah Mailman as Bonita, alongside Colin Friels, Miranda Otto, Rob Carlton, Ewen Leslie and Tom Budge. Directed by Rachel Perkins, written by Sue Smith and produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear. A Blackfella Films production in association with ABC TV, Screen Queensland and Screen NSW.
REDFERN NOW (WORKING TITLE)
DRAMA/INDIGENOUS (6 x 60’)
Nestled in the heart of Australia’s most glamorous city lies Australia’s most infamous suburb. Aboriginal icon, centre of black struggle and pride, urban slum or real estate goldmine? Depending on your point of view, Redfern and The Block signify many different things and inspire both fear and affection. Think Redfern, think a black ghetto full of junkies and criminals, right? Think again. REDFERN NOW is a kaleidoscopic drama that explores this inner city suburb and the people who inhabit it. Over six episodes we join the households of six ordinary families whose lives are changed by a seemingly insignificant incident – an accident, a weakness, a lie. Produced by Darren Dale and Miranda Dear with Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Cracker) as Story Producer. A Blackfella Films production in association with
ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW.
RAKE SERIES 2
DRAMA (8 x 60’)
In the second season of RAKE the bar gets even lower. Sadly that epicentre of chaos, Cleaver Greene, (Richard Roxburgh) has learned nothing from disaster. He is in the midst of a wild affair with a woman whose position makes her a very dangerous liaison. A powerful enraged husband joins Harry-Sorry-David (Matt Day) and the still furious Scarlett (Danielle Cormack) on the list of sworn enemies of Cleaver. His deepening debts require an onerous payment plan with another dangerous woman. Not entirely convenient, as ex-wife Wendy (Carolyn Brazier) may be warming romantically. And then there’s Missy (Adrienne Pickering) – gone, but with an undiminished capacity for surprise. Cleaver pushes the loyalty of Barney (Russell Dykstra) and Nicole (Kate Box) as he defends suicide bombers, psychotic schoolgirls, a pedantic chameleon, an international pariah and a serial bobbitter – allegedly. Produced by Ian Collie, Peter Duncan and Richard Roxburgh. Written by Peter Duncan and Andrew Knight. An Essential Media and Entertainment production in association with ABC TV and Screen NSW.
MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES
DRAMA (13 x 60’)
Get ready to immerse yourself in the opulent, exciting world of Australia’s leading lady detective Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) in MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES. Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) is a glamorous and thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s. Our lady sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl handled pistol and her dagger sharp wit. Leaving a trail of admirers in her wake, our heroine makes sure she enjoys every moment of her lucky life. But behind the façade of elegance and charm are the scars of the past which drive Phryne to find justice for those who can’t help themselves and to pursue the truth of her own dark history. Also stars Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Ashleigh Cummings and Miriam Margolyes. Based on the novels of Australian author Kerry Greenwood. Produced by Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox. An Everycloud
Production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
ENTERTAINMENT (27 x 30’)
For the last decade, TV has specialised in game shows where the points mean nothing. Not anymore. From Jon Casimir and Andrew Denton, creators of The Gruen Transfer, comes RANDLING – a show where every point is fought over tooth and claw. Where viewers will be asked to pick a team and cheer them on as they tackle the Toughest Non-Sporting Competition In The Whole World.* Over 27 weeks, culminating in a grand final, ten teams of two (the names will surprise you) will slug it out on the greatest battleground of all: words. The tool which gives life meaning. The very thing that sets us apart from the animals.** A fierce and funny half hour, RANDLING is whitewater rafting for the brain. Returning to TV after spending four years in a Laotian monastery coming to terms with his failure to win the Gold Logie, host Andrew Denton promises only this: “We guarantee that every viewer will leave each episode of Randling at least 1.7% smarter and over 100% happier”.***
*May not actually be true.
**Does not include spelling bees.
***Proven by nine out of ten experts.
Zapruder’s Other Films in association with ABC TV.
ENTERTAINMENT (6 x 30’)
Confessional, illuminating, inappropriate, wrong! Welcome to AGONY UNCLES, a series where some of Australia’s funniest and wisest celebrity gents including Tim Ross, Waleed Aly, John Eliot, Brett Tucker, Josh Lawson and Lawrence Mooney, put their reputations on the line to tell you what it’s really like to be single, to cohabitate, marry, divorce and then be single again in the 21st century. Narrator Adam Zwar is also the uncles’ trusted confidant. They share with him the do’s and don’ts of picking-up, falling in love, getting your heart broken and losing a house. For male viewers, the Agony Uncles will guide you through the cycle of love and beyond, while ladies get the chance to hear firsthand what men really think about love and all that goes along with it. High Wire Films in association with ABC TV.
ENTERTAINMENT (6 x 30’)
With the camera trained on some of Australia’s wisest and funniest women including Judith Lucy, Mirka Mora, Denise Scott, Sarah Wilson, Sam Lane and Julia Zemiro, these Agony Aunts will help men, as well as their fellow women, navigate the difficult terrain of the modern relationship. Narrator and confidant, Adam Zwar (Lowdown, Wilfred) will head further down the river in his hilarious search for answers on dating, cohabitation, marriage, divorce and getting back on the horse. Will he find the answers he seeks or return more confused than ever? That’s if he returns at all. AGONY AUNTS promises to be every bit as wrong, insightful, inappropriate, confessional, and funny as its brother, AGONY UNCLES. High Wire Films in association with ABC TV.
MYF WARHURST’S NICE
ARTS (6 x 30’)
Myf Warhurst is digging out the bedazzler, and putting on her oversized koala wool knit jumper to take viewers on a nostalgic journey to find out what our popular taste says about us as a nation. MYF WARHURST’S NICE is a show that embraces past cultural icons and takes a closer look at what surrounds us – the stuff you find in your own living room rather than in a gallery or museum. It’s a celebration of all the things that are just, well… ‘nice’. Along the way Myf will ask whether these ‘nice’ things tell us more about who we are than we are prepared to admit, and in order to fully appreciate what’s ‘great’, do we also need to embrace the ‘nice’? From spiral perms to the humble dim sim, Copperart to cheesy love
duets, the fabric of Myf’s youth has gone on to influence her tastes today – and she’s not alone. That’s Nice Productions in association with ABC TV.
NEXT STOP HOLLYWOOD
ARTS (6 x 30’)
Lights! Camera! Action! Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Sam Worthington, Toni Collette, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Griffiths, Anthony LaPaglia. Every year another home-grown actor makes it big on American screens. But who will be next? NEXT STOP HOLLYWOOD follows six aspiring young actors from Australia as they try to make their mark during pilot season – the frenzied period in LA when network television pilot shows get the go-ahead and casting begins. Some of these characters have already made names for themselves at home. Others are relatively unknown, wanting to find their big break in Hollywood. All are ambitious and talented, but who will make it in the cutthroat US system? Who will be given a chance of becoming a star and who will head home to re-group and try again another time? Produced by Matchbox Pictures in association with ABC TV, Screen NSW and Screen Australia.
ARTS (8 x 30’)
Hosted by keen photographer Andrew Günsberg (Australian Idol), PHOTO FINISH is a unique series where, each week, three amateur photographers compete head-to-head in themed photographic challenges. Equipped with the same camera, the time-based assignments are designed to test the photographers’ creativity and skills. A marriage celebrant, a prison officer, an actor and a stay at home mum are amongst the 24 amateur photographers who take on a range of assignments including portraiture, fashion, street, landscape, plastic camera, photojournalism, or wedding photography, each assignment is designed to test the photographer’s skill and imagination. Andrew Günsberg, Anne Loxley, a curator at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and expert judges from each genre will be on hand to decide the weekly winner. A Southern Star Entertainment production in association with ABC TV.
PLEASE LIKE ME
COMEDY (6 x 30’)
Life is just kicking off for Josh. He’s living in a share house. He’s doing adult things like drinking wine and eating asparagus. And he’s heading rapidly – if reluctantly – towards his twenty-first birthday. But the events of one day throw his world spinning off its axis, and Josh is forced to move back into the family home to keep an eye on his divorced mother. Inspired by the award-winning stand-up comedy of Josh Thomas, PLEASE LIKE ME is a sixpart series about growing up quickly, and about realising that your parents are not heroes, but dopes with no idea what’s going on – just like you. Written by and starring Josh Thomas. Produced by Todd Abbott (Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey). A Pigeon Fancier production in association with ABC TV.
COMEDY (6 x 30’)
In the closet, no one can hear you squeal. Starring Christine Anu, Adam Richard, Ben Gerrard, Paul Ireland and Toby Truslove, OUTLAND is a comedy series about the lives, loves, passions, and never-ending dramas of the members of a gay science fiction fan club. Orbiting around their shambolic meetings at each other’s apartments, this is a series about how you cope if you’re gay and a geek. Can science fiction save them all? Mostly it’s about belonging – no matter who you are – and how everyone searches to find a place to fit in. Created by John Richard and Adam Richards. Produced by Princess Pictures in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
LOWDOWN SERIES 2
COMEDY (8 x 30’)
You had better change the pin number on your phone because the Sunday Sun’s star entertainment reporter Alex Burchill (Adam Zwar) is back in a second series of LOWDOWN. Driven by their editor (Kim Gyngell), Alex and his photographer mate, Bob (Paul Denny), continue to risk life, limb and moral compass to uncover the private misdoings of celebrities, and repackage them for public consumption. From exposing political sex scandals and violent actors, to outing gay sportsmen and setting up cheating TV-chefs, Alex knows he’s probably not contributing to a better society, but he hasn’t got time to worry about that now. The Sunday Sun’s circulation is in free-fall and the only thing that will save it is a story about a woman marrying her cat. Guest stars Matt Preston, Brett Tucker, Jess Harris, Colin Lane and
Kimberley Davies. Produced by High Wire Films in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria.
COMEDY (6 x 30’)
From the creators of the AFI award-winning comedy Review with Myles Barlow comes THIS CHRISTMAS a narrative comedy series centred on the Moody family. Every Christmas, with 12 months passing between each episode, we visit the Moodys as they come together to share this universally celebrated holiday, stuffed full of all the fun, fights, bad gifts, boring uncles, overbearing in-laws, shocking family secrets and bizarre eccentricities that any family who has experienced the melting pot of Christmas Day will relate to. Because, while in theory Christmas is a time for family to share and celebrate, in practice it’s often a day spent with relatives you hardly know, where dirty laundry is aired, family rifts resurface, strangers are forced to act like family, and celebratory drinks can disintegrate into drunken rows – as often happens at the Moodys. Produced by Jungleboys FTV in association with ABC TV.
COMEDY (8 x 30’)
One of Australia’s most loved comedians, Frank Woodley stars in his own series as WOODLEY, the chaotic and accident-prone father of eight-year-old Ollie (Alexandra Cashmere). Recently divorced, his ex-wife Em (Justine Clarke) couldn’t live amongst the chaos, but Woodley secretly hopes that one day he’ll win her back, and there is nothing he won’t do to get his family together again. But with Em’s new boyfriend Greg (Tom Long) on the scene, it’s not going to be easy. Inspired by Frank’s silent film heroes, WOODLEY is an unashamedly romantic comedy filled with virtuosic physical mayhem. Produced by Bucket Tree Productions in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria.
LAID SERIES 2
COMEDY (6 x 30’)
The comical motifs of sex and death return in series two of LAID. Roo’s (Alison Bell) world is turned upside down when she meets Marcus (Damon Herriman), somebody stricken with a vaguely similar set of mysterious circumstances to the ones plaguing her – although Marcus is a little different from Roo. In fact, he is her opposite. Everybody he has sex with is healed. With EJ (Celia Pacquola) as her somewhat reluctant co-pilot, Roo embarks upon a journey to wipe the slate clean – emotionally, physically, spiritually. Along the way the two will encounter halitosis, port wine stains, funerals, trial separations, couples boot camp and one particularly appalling conversation about semen – all in the name of preserving true love. Also stars Toby Truslove, Graeme Blundell, Tracy Mann and Shaun Micallef. Written and coproduced by Marieke Hardy and Kirsty Fisher. Produced by Porchlight Films in association
with ABC TV and Film Victoria
ADAM HILLS IN GORDON ST TONIGHT
ENTERTAINMENT (12 x 60’)
World class stand up comedian Adam Hills returns to Gordon Street in 2012 with his unique take on
the traditional tonight show; monologue, interviews and top musical acts plus the added excitement of
spontaneous and unpredictable interactions with his 150 extra guests – the audience. Often the real
highlights come from ordinary people and their unexpected, surprising and hilarious stories. Layer
on great music, the twitter-verse, Facebook, Skyping A-list celebrities and comedians from around the
world and you have the hit that is ADAM HILLS IN GORDON ST TONIGHT. A Gordon St Telepictures
production with ABC TV.
DOCUMENTARY (3 x 60’)
Australia is a sporting nation, which means, in order to be a properly accredited member of society, with human rights and so on, you’ve got to either play sport or watch sport. SPORTING NATION sees John Clarke (Clarke & Dawe, The Games), arguably one of Australia’s greatest natural athletes, examine why Australia takes its sport so seriously. John meets legendary sporting heroes, sports fans, sporting sages and sporting cynics and asks them why sport matters so much. He discovers that the story of Australian sport has all the elements of great drama: a rich golden age, a crisis that threatens its very existence and a re-emergence against colossal odds. And it’s based largely on fact. Produced by Princess Pictures.
COUNTRY TOWN RESCUE
FACTUAL (6 x 30’)
Like many small towns in regional Australia today, Trundle, in Central Western NSW, is in crisis. Once it was a proud, bustling community that rode on the back of sheep and wheat; now, as long-standing farming dynasties slowly drain away, so too does the economic lifeblood of the town. But the people of Trundle – all 485 of them – refuse to give up, and they’ve come up with a uniquely Australian plan that gives families the chance to begin a new life in the country by living in an abandoned local home for just one dollar a week. COUNTRY TOWN RESCUE is about challenges and new beginnings, and the inspiring story of how everyday families come together to save a community on the brink. Produced by Zapruder’s Other Films.
SPORT AND EVENTS
ABC TV will again present exclusive coverage of the 2012 LONDON PARALYMPIC GAMES. With coverage spread over ABC1 and ABC2, the excitement starts with the spectacular Opening Ceremony broadcast live from London on August 30. We’ll then give you front row seats to more than 100 hours of competition and ceremonies over the 12-day duration of the games. ABC1 viewers will follow Australia’s elite Paralympic athletes, along with their international competitors, as they go for gold in swimming, athletics, cycling, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby – plus a few events you may be less familiar with. Australians Kurt Fearnley, Matt Cowdrey and Kellie Cartwright are just some of the Australian athletes viewers will be able to follow on ABC1’s live event and daily highlight programs.
THE EYE OF THE STORM
DRAMA (1 x 90’)
After critical acclaim and box office success, Fred Schepisi’s THE EYE OF THE STORM will screen on ABC TV in 2012. Schepisi’s first Australian film since Evil Angels, it features stunning performances by three of the finest actors in international cinema – Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling. Adapted by Judy Morris from the novel by Nobel Prizewinner Patrick White, THE EYE OF THE STORM is an intense family saga centred on dying matriarch Elizabeth Hunter, who maintains a destructive iron grip on those who come to farewell her, up to and beyond her dying breath. Produced by Jonathan Shteinman and
Antony Waddington. A Paper Bark Films production with investment from ABC TV.
20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIALS
COMEDY (3 x 30’)
20 years ago the world was introduced to Edina and Patsy, and things have never quite been the same since. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley reprise their celebrated roles in three highly anticipated specials, set in the present day. There will be a life changing experience for one, Eddy sets her sights on changing the career of a very big fish indeed, and Eddy and Patsy will play their own very special part in the London 2012 Olympics. 20 years on the ladies are a tiny bit older, none the wiser, but definitely still absolutely fabulous.
SILK – SERIES 1 & 2
DRAMA (12 x 60’)
Martha Costello (Maxine Peake) is 30-something, single, and a defence barrister applying for the rank of Queen’s Counsel. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ are four words she lives by. But how does this fundamental principle stand up to examination by clients who are sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes evil? Also stars Rupert Penry-Jones.
FRY’S PLANET WORD
FACTUAL (5 x 60’)
Stephen Fry explores linguistic achievements and how our skills for the spoken word have developed. From the time when man first mastered speech to the cyber world of modern times, FRY’S PLANET WORD takes viewers on a journey across the globe to discover just how far humans have come when it comes to the written and spoken word.
ABC News Breakfast
At The Movies
First Tuesday Book Club
Jennifer Byrne Presents
Case Sensitive (2 X 45’)
Grand Designs / Revisited (12 X 45’)
Kingdom – Series 3 (6 X 60’)
Luther – Series 2 (4 X 60’)
Midsomer Murders – Series 14 (4 X 90’)
New Tricks Series 8 (10 X 60’)
Qi – Series 10 (16 X 30’)
Silent Witness – Series 15 (12 X 60’)
Spooks – Series 10 (6 X 60’)
The Jonathan Ross Show (10 X 45’)
Waking The Dead – Series 9 (10 X 60’)
Whitechapel – Series 3 (6 X 60’)
2012 London Paralympic Games Sport And Events.
Kitchen Cabinet (Annabel Crabb)
The Strange Calls
Nick Cave: triple j’s Tribute
Do or Die
Dumb, Racist and Drunk
The Model Agency
Archer S1 & S2
Good Game – Series 8 (42 X 30’ + 1 X 60’)
Being Human – Series 4 (8 X 60’)
Breaking Bad – Series 4 (13 X 60’)
Misfits – Series 3 (8 X 60’)
Peep Show – Series 8 (6 X 30’)
Sanctuary – Series 4 (13 X 60’)
The Tudors – Series 4 (10 X 60’)
Bindi’s Boot Camp
Dancing Down Under
Star Wars S4
Good Game SP
ABC News 24
ABC News Breakfast
One Plus One
State to State
The World This Week