New ‘high-end’ dramas in development


FremantleMedia Australia is developing four high-end drama concepts following matched funding outside the traditional broadcast model from Screen Australia’s Enterprise Stories program.

Jo Porter, FremantleMedia Australia’s Director of Drama said, “This is the most innovative and ambitious development model ever undertaken in Australia. We will partner with local writers to take Australian-led stories to the international stage.

“This significant investment is going to be a game changer for Australia’s creative community. It is a unique opportunity to connect the best local talent with the leading creatives in the world.”

Every Cloud Productions (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), Werner Film Productions (Dance Academy) and Melbourne-based screen resource organisation Open Channel have also been funded to develop market-ready scripts for film, television and multiplatform projects.

The Enterprise Growth program also sees Van Vuuren Bros. receive funding for a Soul Mates spin-off feature Kiwi Assassins: The Musical.

Fiona Cameron COO at Screen Australia added, “Enterprise Industry has a fundamental underlying principle of advancing the capacity of the industry as a whole and not just the business plan of the applicant. These projects announced today are ambitious, innovative and together work to raise the profile of the Australian screen sector and ensure it is armed to punch above its weight into the future.”


  1. It is hard to swallow this spin from Screen Australia who seem to know nothing about television and don’t have any executives from television. This program is ill conceived and a complete waste of taxpayer’s money. Reg Grundy got it right when he talked of international parochialism as the basis for his companies huge international success. He of course meant making shows for a domestic market which if they found a strong domestic market may then travel or be remade. And what he really meant was quiz shows and soaps. It is ironic then to see Fremantle, who took over Grundys via Pearson to be the recipients of this funding. TV is driven by local broadcasters just as the best of UK and USA is driven by local broadcasters be it pay, free to air or new media. So what we need is a variety of local players with good commissioning skills and writers with skills strong enough to make…

    • Somewhat true.

      Though my next point has nothing to do with this fund, the difference between the Grundy era and today is that the broadcasters are inward looking, scared, creatively void vessels compared to what they were then. Seven and ABC are the only channels to producer original “formats”. Nine and Ten can’t and won’t invest in anything that wasn’t developed overseas. It’s actually bad business, but the thinking has become so narrow and entrenched, they’re unable to operate any differently.

  2. I don’t get what will make these developed projects “high end”?

    The recipients don’t appear to have made anything “high end” (Wonderland) or innovative (Wentworth) to date..

    Don’t al Australian dramas have deficits filled by distributors, so they’re in a sense being produced for international audiences. No point producing for an international audience if it doesn’t get recommissioned in Australia.

  3. So what’s it going to be a cop drama or a doctor drama? what about adults in their 30s figuring out their lives? I know a political drama! think outside the box!

  4. Here’s the thing – there’s not a lot of point to developing anything without actual broadcaster support. Nine just tried a “high-end” drama and will be wary of doing so again. That said – broadcasters are essentially outsourcing the risk to Screen Australia – hopefully a strong project will emerge.

    However, why a global behemoth and vertically integrated company like Fremantlemedia – with dramas like Neighbours, Wonderland and Wentworth in full swing, (let alone everything else they produce and derive revenue from) qualifies for tax-payer subsidised development is a mystery to me. Fremantle has global resources – at least Werner, Every Cloud etc can argue they need the support.
    Frankly these foreign owned entities are milking the available subsidy for all they can and it’s disgraceful.

    • “tax-payer subsidised”…. Exactly what I was wondering. Are we taxpayers actually getting any return on our investment? Something that pulls in an audience would be a start.

  5. Why is everyone so nasty on this site?

    I say well done Fremantle and Screen Australia, I am looking forward to seeing what is produced.

    • There is a lot of love for Wentworth on the site, less for Wonderland. I think people forget other dramas like Killing Time and Better Man. Every project must be made on its own merits.

  6. There’s nothing in the recipients’ creative DNA to suggest they’ll be able to deliver ground breaking high-end product. Creators of Dance Academy, Wonderland and Miss Fisher. Really?

  7. Sounds good on paper, but of course “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, we’ll see, Blake and Fisher on ABC are worth their weight in gold, not much else Aussie drama is. IMHO-OC

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