Seven 2015 highlights: House Rules x 2, Restaurant Revolution, Gibney / Thomson dramas

Seven announces 2015 highlights in a splashy, interactive event at FOX Studios pushing content and platforms.

2014-10-29_1447Seven has announced it 2015 programming highlights in a splash of interactive presentations to advertisers and media today.

Amongst the announcements are:
Two seasons of House Rules
Restaurant Revolution -a reworked version of My Restaurant Rules combining renovation and food.
Rebecca Gibney drama series Winter (further extending The Killing Field)
Erik Thomson drama 800 Words_, “an international seachange”
History series Australia: The Story of Us
Catching Milat drama
Gallipoli: The Power of Ten profiling Victoria Cross recipients

plus returning seasons of My Kitchen Rules, The X Factor, Dancing with the Stars, Winners and Losers, Home and Away and Better Homes and Gardens.

Seven continues its big focus on Sport and News, including the ability to watch alternative Australian Open events via digital platforms.

International titles include How to Get Away with Murder, Aquarius, Mind Games, Houdini, Heroes Reborn, Red Band Society, State of Affairs and Battle Creek.

The Upfronts at FOX Studios saw attendees move from The X Factor auditorium to themed rooms showcasing lifestyle and reality hits, an outback Australian setting (complete with a mini helicopter), and a locker room showcasing sport. On hand were stars including Luke Jacobz, Virginia Gay, Sunrise cast, Bruce McAvaney Chris Bath, Jennifer Keyte, Ed from Better Homes and Gardens, House Rules winners, former MKR champs plus Cathy Freeman, Jude Bolton and Todd Woodbridge, with Nathaniel performing.

Speaking were execs Tim Worner, Brad Lyons, Angus Ross and Kurt Burnette. It was an impressive presentation to distinguish their annual Upfronts.

There was also a big emphasis on HBBtv with new genre channels, a partnership with ESPN, and the importance of cross-platforms including Tumblr.

Seven West Media CEO, Tim Worner, said, “At Seven we are constantly looking at the speed of change in our marketplace and asking ourselves what we have to do to keep pace with it,” he said. “This is not a 12-month plan. This is a path that keeps us number one until 2020.”


MY KITCHEN RULES ­ – the number one show of 2014 – will be back with more instant restaurant rounds than ever before and a colourful array of new characters. Australia’s biggest renovation show, HOUSE RULES, returns with not one but two brand new series in 2015. Seven’s Director of Network Production, Brad Lyons, said: “We will be expanding the domination of House Rules next year. The second season averaged 2.3 million viewers and enjoyed an astonishing 25 per cent year-on-year growth.”

Seven Productions remains committed to local productions, increasing its home-made content every year. Its reputation as the home of quality Australian drama continues with the confirmation acclaimed actor Erik Thomson will return to Seven in the comedy drama series 800 WORDS. His former Packed to the Rafters co-star Rebecca Gibney will star in WINTER, a gripping new crime series based on her character in the hit telemovie The Killing Field.

Seven also announced another multi-night reality franchise to join its existing ratings juggernauts. RESTAURANT REVOLUTION is inspired by My Restaurant Rules, the first truly interactive show where viewers could actually dine in the restaurants televised. Brad Lyons said: “Across the country, our contestants will be charged with locating, renovating and running their own restaurants.”

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, Seven will debut the epic drama documentary series AUSTRALIA: THE STORY OF US. And in a special series from Sunday Night, we tell the true stories of the ten ANZACs who received our highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, in GALLIPOLI: THE POWER OF TEN, presented by Ben Roberts-Smith VC.

Seven is unmatched when it comes to launching overseas drama and 2015 will be no exception. It’s being hailed as a Golden Age in US television and each of the new dramas on Seven heralds the return of an acting superstar.

Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) spearheads STATE OF AFFAIRS, a thrilling new political drama. HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER is the new legal drama from TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy; Scandal) starring Academy Award nominee Viola Davis. David Duchovny (The X Files; Californication) stars in AQUARIUS as a tough, no-nonsense homicide detective on the trail of a real life serial killer.

Seven’s Director of Network Programming, Angus Ross, said: “We’re number one again now for eight years in a row and, as we promised, we’ve reshaped our audience younger. In fact, we’re younger than ever. At the same time, we’ve retained the consistency of audience delivery people have come to expect.

“We’ve invested in the content Australian viewers love: live sport, live news and public affairs, and Australian-made programming. Combining these strategies with the pick of US programming, we’re confident we will continue to deliver Australia’s largest audiences.”



Domestic –

Erik Thomson plays George, a man who used to skate through life but who is now stumbling. When his wife dies suddenly, George makes a rash decision to move his two teenage kids away from the big smoke of Sydney to a picturesque town in New Zealand. All he wants to do is make a fresh start but it seems that everyone – his kids, the townspeople, the universe – have other ideas. This is a Seven and South Pacific Pictures production created by James Griffin (Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons) and Maxine Fleming.

More than 40,000 years in the making, AUSTRALIA: THE STORY OF US is an extraordinary narrative about the people, places and events that have shaped the continent from the first inhabitants to the present day. This ground breaking drama-documentary series weaves together stories of the nation’s origins and offers fresh insights into how Australians came to create the homeland they inhabit today. Alongside astounding CGI and cinematic sequences, the series features interviews with important thinkers, notable celebrities and iconic national figures who take us inside the stories that have influenced Australian history.

A psychological thriller and procedural drama, CATCHING MILAT is a dramatised version of the investigation into the 1990s backpacker murders leading to the arrest and conviction of serial killer Ivan Milat. After the bodies of backpackers are discovered in Belanglo State Forest, New South Wales’ Police unit Task Force Air begins its search for a murderer. Ultimately the bodies of seven backpackers are found. With the help of forensic evidence and tip-offs from the public, thousands of leads are investigated before Milat is finally arrested in 1994. CATCHING MILAT is the story of the men who brought him to justice. The mini-series is based on the book Sins of the Brother by Mark Whittaker and Les Kennedy and produced by Shine Australia for Seven.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, Sunday Night will bring you the true stories of the ten ANZACs who received our highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, presented by Ben Roberts-Smith VC. Like the carpenter who single-handedly took wounded soldiers out of the firing line; the cricketer who used his skills with the ball to catch live bombs for 50 hours straight; and the lovesick young soldier told the only way to get a mother’s blessing to marry her daughter was to come back with a VC. This is the story of Gallipoli and the ten ANZACs who became heroes amongst heroes. For the first time we’ll bring their stories to life.

World-renowned hypnotist Peter Powers unleashes his army of hypnotised subjects in this all-new outrageous entertainment series. Whether on the street, crashing a public event or just having fun playing tricks on hypnotised celebrities, Peter and his subjects put an unsuspecting Australian public through absolute mayhem. Prepare to be mesmerised!

My Kitchen Rules judge and renowned chef, Colin Fassnidge, invites us to join him on a motorcycle tour of his beloved Ireland. Setting out to re-discover the Ireland he left 15 years ago, Colin finds laughter, good humour and enthusiasm wherever he goes and meets the small organic producers who are revitalising Irish cuisine and challenging every food convention.

Ever dreamed of opening up your own restaurant? RESTAURANT REVOLUTION will give regular people the opportunity to road test their restaurant dream and make it a reality. Seven revolutionised this reality genre with My Restaurant Rules and this new incarnation will combine two of the country’s biggest loves – food and renovation – into one hit show.

With over 600,000 Australians travelling to the Land of Smiles each year, Thailand has fast become one of Australia’s most popular and intriguing tourist destinations. Known for its tropical beaches, non-stop entertainment, exotic culture and infamous full moon parties – Thailand is a place where anything and everything can happen. Gaining unprecedented access to the busiest emergency rooms, cosmetic surgery centres, and party hot-spots during Thailand’s peak tourist season, WHAT REALLY HAPPENS IN THAILAND will offer a front-row seat alongside a wide range of Aussie holidaymakers and expats who travel to and live in this unpredictable paradise.

Following the huge success of The Killing Field comes WINTER, a new crime drama series based on the Rebecca Gibney character, Detective Sergeant Eve Winter. Peter O’Brien reprises his role as Detective Inspector Lachlan McKenzie, Eve’s former boss and love interest. Together, they must solve the chilling murder of young 23-year old mother at a hauntingly beautiful fishing town south of Sydney. This major landmark series is full of twists and turns as a detective under the gun works to put together the pieces of an intricate and mysterious crime.


International –

AQUARIUS stars David Duchovny (The X Files; Californication) as Sam Hodiak, a seasoned homicide detective whose investigations dovetail with the activities of real-life cult leader Charles Manson in the years before he masterminded the most notorious killings of a generation, the Tate-LaBianca murders. A small-time but charismatic leader with big plans, Manson has begun to build up his “family”, recruiting vulnerable young men and women to join his cause. Teaming up with a young cop who will help him infiltrate Manson’s circle, Hodiak is forced to see things through the questioning eyes of someone who came of age amongst the current anti-establishment counterculture. Edgy, addictive and visually stunning, the Age of Aquarius is here.

From Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore comes new buddy cop dramedy BATTLE CREEK. A handsome, happy-go-lucky FBI agent (Josh Duhamel, Las Vegas) is unwillingly partnered with a small town homicide detective (Dean Winters, 30 Rock) to clean up the streets of Battle Creek, Michigan. As they solve crimes together, their polar opposite methods only slightly outweigh their disdain for each other.

On January 31, 2007, Heroes launched in Australia to over 2.1 million viewers. This universal tale of ordinary people who discover superhuman abilities captivated audiences. Since then, the Heroes universe has only deepened and evolved, spawning an online extension of the series, interactive websites, graphic novels and original web content. Revitalised, re-energised and reborn, the Heroes saga continues as new and returning characters collide in the epic and never-ending battle between the powers of good and the forces of evil.

The two part mini-series HOUDINI follows the epic tales of Harry Houdini as he emerges as America’s first bona fide world-renowned superstar. From humble beginnings at circus sideshows to sold-out concert halls, Eastern European immigrant Erich Weiss rose to become a household name, Houdini, across the globe. Academy Award winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist) stars as The Great Harry Houdini as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from U.S. presidents to Rasputin. A thrilling ride through Harry’s psyche, HOUDINI delves deep behind the curtain into his life through his stunts, his visions and his mastery of illusion.

Forget competitive…law school is downright deadly in the new legal drama from TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy; Scandal). Starring Academy-Award nominee Viola Davis, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER is US television’s most addictive new thriller, watched by over 20.3 million people and breaking DVR records on debut. Sexy and suspenseful, expect plenty of twists when the ambitious students of criminal law professor and defence attorney Annalise Keating (Davis) find themselves involved in a murder mystery and cover up that will rock the entire community.

In a bold new entertainment series, mind magician Katherine Mills blends her skills in mentalism with her love of magic to perform spectacular acts of mind control that don’t seem possible. From examining the bond between parents and children and the relationship between twins; to the connection between staff in a supermarket and the interaction between friends out to dinner, Katherine takes the everyday world around us and makes it extraordinary. Whether in supermarkets, restaurants, art galleries or in our homes she shows us how outside forces are often at work even when we think we are displaying free will.

Jake (Ken Marino, Party Down) and Annie (Casey Wilson, Happy Endings, Gone Girl) are finally engaged after six years of dating, but her high-strung, larger-than-life personality and Jake’s laid-back approach to life will severely test the theory of “opposites attract”. They’ll soon understand that getting engaged was the easy part. From David Caspe (Happy Endings), comes America’s number one Tuesday night comedy.

In this Traffic-like action drama, an international conspiracy explodes when three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide – a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a political activist. The only way they’ll ever save their country, their families and themselves is by joining forces and exposing the people behind the cover up. From director Peter Horton (Grey’s Anatomy) comes a thrilling story about global politics, military secrets and three strangers who only have one thing in common…the truth.

From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and starring Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer (The Help), Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and a charismatic cast of fresh faces, RED BAND SOCIETY is a provocative, unconventional and unique coming-of-age dramedy about a group of rule-bending friends and the adults who mentor them through the ups and downs of adolescence in Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital. Exploring everything from strong friendships and first loves, to humorous mishaps and heartbreaks, the series is a story of life, with an edgy comedic tone all its own.

Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) returns to network television as the President’s right-hand woman in STATE OF AFFAIRS. Each day the president is faced with dozens of life-and-death decisions, and to prioritise the biggest international crises facing the country is top CIA analyst, Charleston Tucker (Heigl). Aside from the political minefields she has to walk, Charlie has a close personal relationship with President Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard, Desperate Housewives) because she was once engaged to her son before a tragic terrorist attack took his life. Charlie sometimes engages in boundary-pushing behaviour to avoid facing her grief. But when the clock strikes 2am, she is all about her job — protecting her nation, serving her president and trying to get to the bottom of her fiancé’s murder.

We love to play games with our children. But what happens when someone else starts to play with them too? Someone we don’t know. Can’t see. Can’t hear. From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, comes new supernatural drama, THE WHISPERS, in which someone – or something – is manipulating the ones we love most to accomplish the unthinkable. Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) and Barry Sloane (Revenge) star.


Australia’s most loved comedian, Anh Do, travels to the land of love, music, fashion, history, art, culture and gastronomy to experience first-hand Italy’s motto: La Vita è Bella, the Beautiful Life. From the German-speaking slap-dancers of Tyrol in the Alps to the pasta nonnas of Bari in the South, Anh tastes the best Italy has to offer.

Australia’s number one lifestyle program celebrates 21 years in 2015, continuing to offer viewers inspirational ideas for the home, garden and kitchen.

Currently delighting audiences with its red-hot line-up of celebrities, Australia’s favourite dancing show DANCING WITH THE STARS returns next year for its 15th series.

Now in its 27th year, HOME AND AWAY continues its domination of the 7pm timeslot.

HOUSE RULES is back with all new teams vying for one of the biggest prizes on national television: a mortgage-free home. With Johanna Griggs at the helm, an entire home is completely transformed and revealed every week. The Seven-owned franchise averaged over 2.3 million (Metro + Regional) this year with viewers up 25 per cent year-on-year. In 2015 there will be two series broadcast with plenty of surprises in store.

Hosted by Simon Reeve, Million Dollar Minute has Australians gripped as three contestants face off in an unrivalled test of brainpower and bravery to win one million dollars.

The MKR winner announcement was the number one TV event in 2014 with 3.8 million viewers tuning in. Home-made by Seven, it is the most popular dish on a very strong Seven production menu.
Hosted by Pete Evans and Manu Feildel, fans will feast on more instant restaurant rounds than ever before in 2015.

My Kitchen Rules host and renowned chef, Manu Feildel, returns to take us on another journey through his home country. This time he travels down the Rhône Valley, from the French Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. On the way, Manu shares the food, wine and culture of his France.

The blockbuster TV music franchise created by Simon Cowell continues to excite audiences around Australia. Responsible for discovering star acts like Samantha Jade, Reece Mastin, Dami Im and most recently Marlisa Punzalan , THE X FACTOR will return for a sixth series in 2015.

Australia’s favourite friends will be back in 2015 in what promises to be the most compelling season yet.

Seven’s commitment to factual programming continues with the return of BORDER SECURITY, THE FORCE and HIGHWAY PATROL.

And returning with new seasons will be Seven’s international favourites including DOWNTON ABBEY, REVENGE, MR SELFRIDGE, PARENTHOOD, GREY’S ANATOMY, BONES, CASTLE, CRIMINAL MINDS, SUITS and SCANDAL. The Network’s current fast tracked shows THE BLACKLIST, RESURRECTION, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and THE AMAZING RACE will also continue in the new year.


The Network’s initiatives of more lifestyle programming, more adventure programming and more movies have continued to drive the channel younger this year.

With a targeted mix of home-grown and overseas content, 7mate is continuing to grow its core male audience and is still the dominant multi-channel for men under 40. Its commitment to home-made content will continue in 2015 with Pauly Fenech and his Logie Award-winning comedy team serving up themed specials in the spirit of multi-channel ratings hit Bogan Hunters. Melbourne comedian Troy Kinne returns with a new series and Outback Truckers fans can look forward to a second season. This, combined with record audiences for overseas offerings such as Tattoo Nightmares, Family Guy and Hardcore Pawn, will see 7mate continue to reach the elusive younger male audience.


Seven is committed to news and public affairs. The network is creating a world-first integrated news centre for Seven and The West Australian in Perth. This signposts Seven’s future in news and public affairs as it expands its presence across and beyond television into new forms of content delivery.

In 2015 history will be made. The Australian Open will kick off the biggest summer in sport and for the first time viewers will not only get to choose between matches on Seven and 7TWO, they will have the option of watching any one of seven matches during the day and three at night via Hybrid Broadband TV (HbbTV) on smart TVs, mobile and tablet devices.

Seven is focused on delivering the biggest sports events to all Australians. Seven will broadcast the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020. There is also an option which, if exercised, extends the rights to include the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in 2022 and the XXXIII Olympic Games in 2024.

Seven’s agreement for all-encompassing coverage of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 builds on this long-term commitment to the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games, and joins the National Football League, including the Super Bowl; the US Masters and Wimbledon as major international sports franchises for Seven.

Seven also has all-encompassing agreements for coverage of the Australian Football League Premiership Season, Finals Series, the Grand Final and Brownlow Medal, the Bathurst 12 Hour Endurance Race, all major horse racing events including the Magic Millions, the Sydney Easter Carnival, the Melbourne Spring Carnival and the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, all major Australian golf tournaments, including the Open and the Masters, all major iron man and triathlon events, and all major tennis tournaments in Australia including The Australian Open and The Davis Cup.

46 Responses

  1. Wow, lots of reality.

    Hopefully House Rules will simplify, get rid of all the ‘finals’ fluff and return the emphasis to the actual home renovations. Two season could work if they push the second right back into October-November and reduce them down to 8 weeks each. Presumably it’ll also be on fewer days each week (to fit Restaurant Revolution and DWTS in at the same time), and X Factor will shift earlier into the winter to finish by the beginning of October.

    A very strong lineup though. It’ll be interesting to see where everything fits.

  2. Absolute drivel. It may be strong but there is barely any orginiality in that lineup. MKR, 2x House Rules + Restaurant Revolution is total overkill waaay too much reality. You can see the figures on air right now they’re pretty bad because viewers are exhausted from the reality at the front end of the year. They need a rest, they need variety!
    Hopefully Nine or Ten have a better offering though that’s unlikely.

  3. Finally we get to see My Restaurant Rules again- Seven took their time.
    If they go back to the original format and don’t make it too cheesy like MKR and House Rules then I’ll definitely watch. Noticed the absence of TARA, which is kinda sad- but I guess the costs of producing that show will go into all the other reality shows next year.

  4. So Seven have 2 seasons of House Rules to counter The Block & MKR & the original MKR back with a new name. How original.
    The Erik Thomson show sounds like a Kiwi Always Greener masquerading as Australian content.
    Lots of dramas but where are Seven going to show them as we all know how far Seven runs over time with their reality shows.

  5. 800 Words and Australia: The Story Of Us sound good.

    It’s a shame they blow past 7TWO and 7mate as though they mean nothing.

    And when will Seven get a Facebook page? It’s almost 2015….

  6. Right. I heard about House Rules earlier today, so assumed that maybe DWTS will be rested. Obviously not. I can only assume that HR seasons will be relatively short, to fit it in x 2. They are really banking on strong following for their reality offerings. Other than that, really strong line-up. Really strong. They must have canned Beauty and the Geek and The Amazing Race, no mention of them at all.

  7. A picture says a thousand words….not a single female in that executive line-up. So sick of the blokesy culture at both Nine and Seven. Recycling Ma and Pa Rafter into their owne derivative drama series? Seriously. Not a shred of innovation in drama or comedy.

  8. I love House Rules but 2 seasons of it? Its a bit much. Especially with The Block. Mind you i don’t personally watch The Block but a lot of people watch both. How to Get Away With Murder is great and State of Affairs is a surprising pickup. It could go well. Interesting year ahead on Seven but the main thing they need to do is a relaunch of the 7 News brand. Its time they did some serious changes and fast.

  9. Seven Execs: “I see Nine are doing two seasons of The Block, what can we do that’s original to compete? Lets do two seasons of House Rules!”
    So more staged, drawn out, out of context, nightly shovelings of LCD reality on Seven.

    Only Winter and 800 Words might get my viewership in 2015. Restaurant Revolution will most likely be more about the contestants talking about whats happening rather than showing whats happening, so not interested. MRR was more footage and less recaps and narration.

  10. I really wish all FTA networks would give more priority to local & international drama instead of launching more reality shows. Double House Rules seems unnecessary given Seven’s full schedule.

  11. hopefully the House rules seasons are short, i remember ratings bombed after the first round was over. so perhaps this is 7s way of maximising that round and dumping the rest of the season. it must be expensive, there are no auctions to earn back the money for the network, and then they pay off someones mortgage.

    will be interesting to see how all these multi-episode shows fit into the year, i have a feeling there will be a lot of overlap.

  12. Another year of two hours of reality every night and dramas getting buried to late timeslots. So unimaginative. So unnecessary to have to seasons of house rules. Just another list of reasons to turn the tv off.

  13. Sad but true – reality shows are now the dominance in ratings compared to drama series.

    I think Seven could potentially be stronger next year. MKR usually outperforms The Block and House Rules has been performing well against The Voice this year. For second half of the year, if they launch Restaurant Revolution well and also the second series of House Rules, they could potentially be a threat to the second series of The Block and maybe Big Brother. I can see Seven be stronger in the second half of next year compared to this year. But of course, Nine hasn’t revealed much yet so I could be wrong.

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