Viewers waiting for local drama backlog to be cleared

Still wondering where all the Dramas are this year? Networks promise they're coming.

1.16.LOVE CHILD S3.Photo Tony Mott.3742

The second of half of 2016 looks set to be very tempting in Australian Drama -which will surely make up for the lower volume in the first half of the year.

The ABC, Foxtel and Seven have led the way in local Drama titles so far with Nine, TEN and SBS yet to launch any new Drama titles in 2016 -though notably Here Come the Habibs! emerges from Nine’s Drama department.

2016 so far

The Doctor Blake Mysteries
Jack Irish
Janet King
Tomorrow When the War Began
Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows (movie)
(Comedy Showroom*)

Home and Away

Secret City

(Here Come the Habibs*)
(Wolf Creek -Stan)


(The Family Law*)

*denotes comedy

By comparison 2015 had served up much more at the same mid-point of the year.

2015 by June 5:

The Doctor Blake Mysteries
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
Redfern Now: Promise Me
(Maximum Choppage*)
(8MM Aboriginal Radio*)
(Top of the Lake UKTV)

Home and Away
Catching Milat

House of Hancock
Love Child

Deadline Gallipoli
(Open Slather*)


(Danger 5*)

It’s a big contrast to previous years when there were so many Dramas on air at once, some even went head to head. But if we’re in a Golden Age of Drama, and viewers want local content, are traditional our 8:30 Dramas being elbowed aside by Reality TV?

Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia says production slates are still high and it’s a question of network scheduling.

“The networks commission a range of content including Drama and while we don’t want to see it buried or replaced with cheap foreign content – it’s ultimately up to these businesses to work out where to schedule and seek audiences.  There is a lot of great Australian production that has been commissioned and in the pipeline which will be out later in the year which, given the way audiences are responding to well told local stories, will be great for the broadcasters,” he said.

Andy Ryan, Nine’s co-Head of Drama agreed the status reflected the Programming environment.

Love Child is coming soon and we’re promoting that at present. House of Bond and Doctor Doctor are also in in production.

“In terms of the slate and commitment to drama we have 4 shows in production, or 5 if you count Stan’s No Activity 2, and the Habibs which is full steam ahead with pre-production in June. So I’ve never been busier!

“Hand on heart it’s not representative of any change of direction from our point of view.

“Primary channels aren’t playing as many overseas dramas either, so it’s probably a bit more conspicuous as well.”

A TEN spokesperson said, “To suggest local drama has been ‘elbowed aside’ by other forms of programming is nonsense and misleading.

“As usual, Network Ten has broadcast Neighbours – the longest running television show in Australia – five nights a week on ELEVEN in the first half of this year. We have an extremely strong slate of local drama productions in the second half of 2016, starting with the eagerly anticipated return of Offspring. That will be followed by one of the television events of the year – Brock – and the exciting new drama series The Wrong Girl.

“Network Ten remains strongly committed to bringing premium local drama content to our viewers. We also note that other networks also have several local drama series and events ready to roll in the second half of 2016.”

An SBS spokesperson said, “We of course have just finished filming our drama series Deep Water planned to air late this year as part of our multi-platform offering = doc + online offering.”

Foxtel advised it would screen more local drama this year than ever before.

Amongst some of the titles still to come this year are Offspring, The Wrong Girl, Brock, Love Child, House Husbands, Hyde + Seek, House of Bond, The Secret Daughter, Winners and Losers, Deep Water, The Kettering Incident, The Code, Barracuda, Seven Types of Ambiguity, Nowhere Boys plus several ABC comedies.

Seven and ABC did not respond.

18 Responses

  1. 7 could have put on winners and losers instead of this kiss bang love show. At 8:30 on 7 tuesday nights they used to dominate with some great drama. Stemming back from All Saints then Rafters then winners and losers then 800 words.

    It would be great if they put 800 words and w&l as a double header.

    1. Channel 7 will most probably burn off this season of W&L as they did the last especially seeing as though its the final season. Usually that comes after Wimbledon and then 800 Words will follow the Olympics

  2. I’m sick to death of ads for Offsrping and Love Child saying “coming soon”. On Foxtel we knew Secret City was on June 5 for ages.

    How hard is it to give an air date that we can actually look forward to rather than the bombardment of “coming soon” which is all but meaningless.

    This is the usual case that the networks have such paranoia and so little faith in their own product that they’ll wait and see how the others schedule first before making a decision – more often than not resulting in TBA’s until 7 days before and air date then giving a show just 7 days of promotion with an actual date and time (and then wondering why it ends up not doing as well as they had hoped).

  3. When the likes of MKR get 1.2 to 1.6m viewers why would they produce local drama. Even great shows like NCIS struggle. Drama is on to late for the majority of viewers. These days many start between 9-9.30pm even later for many. When you have to front n centre for work the next day it’s hard to commit

  4. The reality tv vortex doesn’t seem to be dying off anytime soon. Viewers have allowed networks to get lazy by allowing them to mass produce renovating, cooking, talent and dating shows because we keep tuning in. In comparison to dramas, these shows are cheap to make and provide hours of content. What networks are really missing these days is balance. Go back to hourly timeslots eg 7:30pm reality tv 8:30pm local drama 9:30pm US/UK drama. 90 plus mins of reality shows 5 days a week on all three commercial networks is overkill.

  5. Im looking forward to The Secret Daughter.

    seems like the local quota rules need some tightening, how is ten getting away with making so little? was it only Neighbours and leftover episodes of Wonderland for the entire 2015?

    1. For a network that had for a long time produced quality dramas, 2015 was dire. Princess Mary movie is the only other local drama. Brock was meant to screen in 2015 but never eventuated. Compare that to 2014 when Ten had Offspring, Party Tricks, Wonderland and Secret and Lies. Thankfully Ten’s back to producing local dramas in 2016.

  6. If it wasn’t for ABC this year I wouldn’t have seen any Aussie dramas. I did watch Wanted (mainly to support new drama) but I don’t watch Neighbours or Home and Away and want a weekly drama to enjoy. It will be interesting to see where 9 put their dramas. At least 7 and 10 are consistent and we generally know Tuesday will be 7s offering whilst Wednesday will be 10s. 9 seem to move from Sunday to Monday and sometimes I think outside these nights. Fingers crossed it will be spread out so loyal drama viewers can view Them across the week. Thank goodness for catchup services though. It’s just a pity it will all be in the second half of the year as there has not been much at all.

    No 800 words in your list David?

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