EXCLUSIVE: Major changes have taken place behind the scenes of kid’s troupe Hi-5 with an Australian production office recently closing up shop.
The series returned to Nine in 2016 with new cast members, Lachie Dearing, Courtney Clarke, Shay Clifford, Joe Kalou and Bailey Spalding. Filming took place in Malaysia, including with Live regional appearances, while scripting still took place in Australia.
But filming of latest episodes in Malaysia was halted after one cast member departed for personal reasons, and is yet to resume. A production office in Sydney downsized a year ago to a co-working space but has now relocated to Singapore.
Hi-5 general manager & executive director Jaenani Netra told TV Tonight, “The plan is to resume next year with some significant changes to how we rollout our content. We are also working on a new animation series, working very closely with a formidable broadcaster. New broadcasters and emerging platforms are constantly engaging us to undertake various animated content for them.
“We are also planning to list the company in Singapore in the next few months, thus the strategic initiative to move to all to Singapore.”
It remains unclear if new episodes will be delivered to Nine or if the troupe will appear at Carols by Candlelight in December.
Meanwhile a casting call has been issued for cast members for a stage tour while former members have secured upcoming projects including Joe Kalou performing in upcoming productions of In the Heights and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Hi-5 remains a much-loved Nine brand, having previously been owned by CEO Hugh Marks as part of the Southern Star group and has helped to meet children’s quotas.
Nine declined to comment.