Ambitious and top secret dramas in 2019

Seven director of programming Angus Ross reveals more of his plans for 2019.

A new Bevan Lee script is cause for celebration for Seven’s Director of Network Programming, Angus Ross.

He knows Lee’s track record in grabbing viewers thanks to his work on Packed to the Rafters, A Place To Call Home, All Saints, Winners & Losers, and Always Greener. Yesterday Seven announced Between Two Worlds, with a video of Lee hinting at an incident will change the lives of polar opposites: corporate and working class characters.

“A lot of scripts need a lot of work when you see them, with revisions and rewrites. But Bevan’s scripts always blow you away from the word go. This is something we’ve been working on or a while to get it to screen and putting all the financing in place. It’s very, very ambitious and we’re very excited about it,” Ross tells TV Tonight.

It will debut in the second half of 2019. But there are two new dramas circled for early 2019.

Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries will be straight out of the gate on Q1. It’s a lot of fun, as 4 x 2 hour telemovies. Geraldine Hakewill is a chameleon,” he continued.

Australian Gangster will also be straight off the top (of the year).”

Although Seven screened a trailer to media yesterday it is revealing no more while a legal case remains underway.

Elizabeth Coleman’s play Secret Bridesmaids’ Business is to become a new miniseries.

“I’ve read 2 scripts of Secret Bridesmaids’ Business. It’s a 6 part thriller, a female-skewing, very adult series and again, very ambitious.”

Amongst the surprises yesterday was a second, event size version of My Kitchen Rules in the back half the year (returning favourites from across the 10 years perhaps?). But first the standard MKR will mark its 10th anniversary with an ‘unfiltered’ contestant who says what he thinks.

“We gave an example of one of the characters today and those boys are an interesting pair. Promos will have a field day. And the ‘perfect strangers’ (twist) was also shown today as well, with 2 people meeting for the first time.”

The MKR second season will go part-way to Seven building on the second half of its programming year.

“We still feel we have strengthened this year and that was shown in the result, versus our competitors. It’s fair to say we’ve had the odd programming stumble but we have the depth in the schedule to be able to absorb those which is why we keep talking about a programming spine like news, sport and the absolute dominance of our multichannels.

“7mate and 7TWO are really part of our overall strategy of a Seven network total picture.

“But we are not relenting on further strengthening the back half of the year, we will put a couple of stripped shows in there.”

Ross has two new titles acquired from his recent visit to MIPCOM but won’t hint at the genres. Surely not more dating shows?

“At certain times of the year you only have certain options to go with to avoid what your competitors are doing. In the back half of the year Nine basically runs The Block for 5 months or so. So renovation isn’t the go. TEN runs dating shows in the back half. But relationships are a very demo-rich type of programme, attracting younger viewers, very strong on BVOD on 7Plus. So we think there is a lot of life in that genre,” he explains.

“We had a couple of misfires this year but we are bring back shows like The Super Switch that do have a heritage and have performed strongly in the past. So I think that brings a bit more certainty. And The Proposal is an absolutely bonkers show and did very well on ABC over the US summer. It will be a pretty tough casting proposition!

“Every show you get an engagement at the end. As I say it’s bonkers.”

Lastly what are his picks of the international titles for 2019?

“I would keep an eye on Cheat which is from the producers of Liar. I’ve read the scripts and it’s an amazing 4 parter. From FOX we’ve got The Passage and Proven Innocent. The Passage is quite high concept, based on a series of books, so I think that could launch well.”

You can read all about Seven’s AllFronts here.

12 Responses

  1. The new Bevan Lee sounds exciting, I will definitely give it a try.

    But otherwise, haven’t we denigrated marriage and relationships enough already? We already have a generation who have no idea that a relationship involves putting the other person first, rather than whining that their own needs aren’t being met.

    And then,,,all the other shows sound like more crime, evil, murder, detectives. Thank goodness for Bevan Lee (and hopefully a few others) who make great drama out of real life.

  2. Miss Fisher is a spinoff that was originally pitched to the ABC and seems to be a hedge against Dr Blake dying, and Secret Bridemaids’ Business was adapted into an ABC TVM 15 years ago and its hard to see a 90 minute play supporting 6 hours of TV drama.

    Headland was a low-budget spin off to Home & Away made mostly for the UK market and aired nightly in Summer here. Lee created it and wrote the pilot. Lee does write good scripts, but nobody can polish 60 mediocre scripts into something brilliant.

      1. They never did finish airing it either to my knowledge…. perhaps they could show it over summer to gain drama points……and begin from the beginning. It is funny in the final episodes of 800words I recognised an actor and eventually discovered he was from HeadLand.

  3. It’s bad enough to have MKR every year for ten years, but to punish people with two seasons in one year is ridiculous. How about shifting the one season to end of year and a new format at the start, or not even a new format of stripped shows, go with real tv programs – different each night like the good days of television.

  4. 2 series of MKR. Surely that is too much? Remember when The Block had 2 seasons a year & it started to dilute their ratings.
    Why is Seven so obsessed with dating shows? I see Bride & Prejudice has a dinner party just like Married at First Sight.

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