What can we expect from ABC, SBS Upfronts?

New dramas, docos and light entertainment will be unveiled from public broadcasters.

The spotlight swings to ABC and SBS early next week as they unveil their 2019 highlights.

ABC will hold a Content Launch in Southbank on Monday afternoon.

ABC hasn’t held a formal ‘Upfronts’ for several years, but their slate is always the biggest. After troubled months, it is important to put forward a positive outlook.

SBS will hold theirs at lunchtime on Tuesday at Barangaroo, now under a new CEO.

Some titles have already been announced over recent months or received funding from Screen Australia.

Here’s some of what to expect…..


2019 dramas include Glitch, The Cry, Diary of an Uber Driver, The Heights and Harrow. Meanwhile Mystery Road‘s second season has been in development. Will we get any news on Maralinga? And any word on Janet King or Jack Irish?

Comedies include Rosehaven, Frayed, The Letdown, Get Krackin’ and more Squinters. Will it be time for more Utopia? Those Superwog boys deserve to inflict us with more mayhem… will Corey White get the same? And any more from Ronnie Chieng?

Light entertainment should see renewals for Hard Quiz, Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, The Weekly and fingers crossed for more Gruen (but it may be unknown at this stage). Is it too soon to confirm more of Spicks & Specks and Tomorrow Tonight?

In Documentaries expect to hear about more You Can’t Ask That plus The Royals Down Under, Aftermath: Beyond the Firestorm, Storm in a Teacup, and The Cult of the Family a three-part investigation into Anne Hamilton-Byrne. There should also be wildlife series The Magical Land of Oz exploring  exotic creatures of Australia. Sarah Ferguson is working on Catholic Church investigation Revelation.

ABC is yet to air Escape from the City, Blue Water Empire and more of Restoration Australia.

The Recording Studio allows people to record a song for a special occasion. Back in Time for Dinner was a hit, will it be renewed?

In Kids’ TV there should be more Mustangs FC plus The Inbestigators, Spongo Fuzz & Jalapena, The Unlisted and Hardball.

Unlikely to rate a mention could be Think Tank, Back in Very Small Business, Everyone’s a Critic, Sando and Pine Gap.


SBS should reveal more on their upcoming drama The Hunt in which two idealistic high school teachers discover students sharing explicit photos of their underage friends and peers – a revelation that puts unbearable stress on the tightly woven lives of four teenagers and their families.

SBS is always rich in the Doco space. It should finally be all aboard for Great Australian Railway Journeys with SBS star Michael Portillo.

Marry Me Marry My Family is renewed for a second season.

Indigenous doco First Wars tells the story of Australia’s frontier conflicts. Australia in Colour will take a look at pivotal moments in our nation’s history from 1900 – 1970.

My Family Secret is a three-part series helping regular Australians scrutinise the silences from both their family’s and our country’s past.

Eurovision: Australia Decides is coming in February ahead of the big event in May, and the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras should be on the calendar again.

SBS and Matchbox Pictures have also been looking for people who have a have a big life event coming up for a new documentary series. “Maybe it’s a wedding or a new job? Perhaps you’re having your first baby and you’re worried? Are you starting a business for the first time and worried about how you’re going to cope? Maybe you’re going on your first date since a long term break up or trying to quit smoking for the umpteenth time?” a casting notice asked.

Untold Australia series will next include Secret Life of Death: on the inner workings of two funeral homes; Business As Usual, looking at the Indian-Australian family behind event business Manjits; Trans Mission which follows a transgender push to stage a Mardi Gras in Wagga Wagga; and Young, Dateable and Disabled.

Will there be more from Struggle Street and Filthy Rich & Homeless? And after The Ghan, what’s next in Slow TV?

Unaired titles include the final Family Law and the long overdue show that makes SBS execs duck for cover, Once Upon a Time in Carlton.

I would be surprised to hear of more for The Chef’s Line, Go Back to Where You Came From or Dead Lucky.

TV Tonight will be live tweeting from both events!

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