Whatever Happened To…?

The Upfronts shows that just never ever fronted.....

Sometimes networks are so quick to announce new shows at Upfronts, that not even the talent has realised their show is picked up…

Over the years networks have announced more than a few shows that proved to be nothing more than a fleeting promise.

Here are some of the Upfronts shows (and a few others) that just never ever fronted…

Sunday Night Takeaway, Seven.
Based on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Seven was declaring, “Don’t just watch the ads – win them!” in this show with “jaw-dropping stunts, hilarious surprises and mind-boggling shocks.” Did we mention “the most extravagant and ambitious celebrity pranks ever-to-be-seen on TV?” This was to be “must-see TV.” Must make it first for that to happen.

The Day the Cash Came, Seven.
“What would you do if a life-changing briefcase of cash appeared on your doorstep?” Seven asked. Think it was a show from Nine? Ultimately that’s what happened with this social experiment. Nine’s failure with The Briefcase scared Seven off pursuing another show with “heartwarming highs and crushing lows as these families’ lives are changed forever.”

Sex Ed, Nine.
With earlier classification timezones Nine may have had some fun with this one, promising “a revealing insight into contemporary attitudes to sex in Australia.” With apologies to Sophie Lee, it never arrived.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (US)
It was a Fairfax article of upcoming US content in which TEN confirmed the Rocky Horror remake with Laverne Cox. But the network later advised it wasn’t in their acquisitions. Go figure.

Mayday Mayday: The Story of Flight QF32, Nine.
At their 2014 Upfronts Nine announced a telemovie on a flight from Singapore to Sydney which came within a knife edge of being one of the world’s worst air disasters. It did air a doco on the same story to disappointing figures, which was up against the INXS miniseries. In the end it said it couldn’t secure the funding.

Return to Eden, Nine
The remake of campy 80s miniseries would have been fun, had Nine proceeded with this one.

Inside Out, TEN
In 2010 TEN announced it was returning to the prison genre with a drama about a woman who, wrongly accused, seeks her revenge. But creative differences were said to get in the way, while Foxtel later reimagined Prisoner as Wentworth.

Once Upon a Time in Carlton, SBS.
Completed sequel in the Once Upon a Time doco franchise, which has already visited Punchbowl and Cabramatta. SBS is required to air this as part of funding arrangements and swears it will. It was due in 2014.

Shock of the Now, TEN
A Tom Ballard-hosted series on gadgets and tech. TEN later said it didn’t fit their new demo of 25-54,….. because like, anyone aged 26 over obviously is out of touch with such wizardry?

Batavia, TEN
Ambitious miniseries drama written by Peter FitzSimons is a great history yarn. This was due to film interiors in Canada and exteriors in Queensland, but hit a rock with Canadian funding and sank.

The Marriage Ref, Seven
In 2009 Seven picked up local format rights to this Jerry Seinfeld series where celebrities offer relationship advice to married couples.

Got to Dance Australia, Foxtel
Local version of US dance series was due to showcase contestants from age 7 to 70 but that never happened.

Dance Nation, Nine
A one-off state vs state event. Think Eurovision but with dance down under. See above.

Don’t Stop Believing, TEN
A Glee-inspire, all singing-all dancing version of UK talent show that was even showcased with performers at Upfronts. After it flopped in the UK TEN stopped believing and  pulled the pin early. See above.

Dusty, SBS
A 13 part crime set in Darwin? It sounds too good to be true. It was.

Prison: First & Last 24 Hours, Nine
Following offenders starting the first day of their jail sentence and those experiencing their final 24 hours locked up proved too hard for Nine, unable to secure local access.

Baby Circle, TEN
“Baby Circle will offer parents and expectant parents advice, support, information and entertainment. It will be every parent’s perfect day time companion.” This companion is still yet to turn up.

When I Grow Up, Nine
Years before Little Big Shots Shane Jacobson actually filmed this series for Nine, with preview copies even sent to journos. By now this kids must be approaching adulthood.

The A-List, Nine
Richard Wilkins interview series is said to be on hold due to music rights. Do we believe them?

Tips for Married Life, Nine
This drama about a grieving wife finds who herself responsible for her dead husband’s criminal debts was funded by Screen Australia and Film Victoria, but did not proceed.

11 Responses

  1. Wow what a list! It shows that sometimes you have to take some of these announcements with a grain of salt. But in reality, there’s nothing on this list that I’m disappointed never got off the ground.

  2. A few good ideas there, for one-off’s.
    Sunday Night Takeaway: “Watch the ad and win them” and not “win a chance to win” offers of the Home Shopping shows.
    The Day the Cash Came: A TV stooge is hit in the gut by a briefcase as the offender runs off with the money shouting “finders keepers, finders keepers”.
    The “Sex Ed” theme has been flogged to death by SBS. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used ‘flogged’.
    The similarly titled “Mayday” became “Air Crash Investigation”.
    A prisoner seeking revenge show without TLJ’s “search every warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and dog house” or “There are no second chances here! This is the Last Chance House!”
    The Marriage Ref: Air your marital problems on National TV, be judged by “stars” like Donald Trump and have a billboard erected in your suburb declaring who won. Only in America!

  3. I think The Marriage Ref is worth another look. If my memory serves, 7 had big plans to make it a tent pole, centerpiece investment. It was because the hyped NBC version didn’t live up to expectations that plans were abandoned.
    But I think there would be an audience for a cheap, fun 9:30 or digital filler version, that wouldn’t have to break the bank.

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