10 has kicked off 2019 on a positive note with I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here kicking off with over a million viewers. Launching two weeks earlier than usual, it was a mighty gamble.
No surprises then that Head of Programming Daniel Monaghan says the network was thrilled.
“We knew when we set out it would be a difficult task and we know Australians like their sport. Obviously we don’t have the cricket so we had to offer them something different. We felt like there was a need for entertainment a bit earlier and we don’t want them to divert to the streaming platforms,” he says.
“So we are ignoring survey for the foreseeable future and it has worked well for us. The launch was strong and the numbers held up against the tennis.”
“We are thrilled people have come to see Entertainment”
I’m a Celebrity even beat the Australian Open for 6 of the 10 nights it went head to head.
“We are thrilled people have come to see Entertainment and not just Sport. There is obviously an audience for both out there.
“It’s a slightly different cast, intentionally. We wanted noise but we wanted heart as well. One of the things people get from the show is a different side to people.”
Which cast members have surprised him the most?
“We all wanted to see how Jackie Lambie would hold up. We know her sound bites from TV but would she hold that the whole time, and it appears she is going to. I love watching the Goggleboxers, those 2 girls are real gems,” Monaghan continues.
“Justin is quite a breakout star”
“Justin is quite a breakout star. What an interesting person. I loved his conversation where he couldn’t pronounce ‘philosophical!'”
This week also saw the return of Hughesy, We Have a Problem on Tuesday nights.
“He is in his element with the show and we have a different range of comedians from season 1. Some are new discoveries.
“Our aim at 9:00 is to get people into that first segment, and make them feel like they can watch a little bit, but drag them through the whole hour. You may be doing something else but all of a sudden you’ve enjoyed the whole hour. It’s the same model as Gogglebox and Have You Been Paying Attention? They just suck you in.”
Gogglebox is back next week with a new family of reviewers and Have You Been Paying Attention? will return around May.
Show Me the Movie has an 8 week season on Fridays while most of The Living Room cast are busy with other projects. Rove McManus & Joel Creasey are joined by Brooke Satchwell replacing Jane Harber.
“We love Jane Harber but she is in New York and sometimes scheduling doesn’t work out,” Monaghan explains.
“There is a lot of pressure on Fridays as you can imagine, but there are new games and we want people to feel like they can play along.
“Rove is a very strong host, Joel has his acerbic wit and Brooke is very funny and accomplished.”
New shows around the corner as I’m a Celebrity wraps commence with Changing Rooms with Natalie Bassingthwaighte as part of a multi-entertainment strategy.
“Each two episodes of Changing Rooms features the same families, switching houses. There will probably be 6 reveals per arc, 3 per house,” says Monaghan.
“We’re not doing the Seven model”
Dancing with the Stars, live from Sydney, moves into Monday nights hosted equally by Grant Denyer & Amanda Keller.
“There is no backstage host. There are 2 hosts in Grant & Amanda who will both be front of house. As the show gets into its groove you will find they both interview the contestants backstage. We’re not doing the Seven model of one out front, and one in back.”
Ambulance, one of three emergency observationals late last year, will screen on Tuesdays.
“Ambulance and (Nine’s) Paramedics really stood out. We were thrilled with the way it was received and rated so we thought another series in the first quarter would keep it separate from the others.”
After a brief respite, Julia Morris & Chris Brown will step in to host strong>Sunday Night Take Away, a bold live variety show, also from Sydney. Beau Ryan adopts a supporting role with filmed segments around the country.
While the trend has been towards stripped Reality, is 10 confident of the multi-show approach? Yes.
“Dancing with the stars is a heritage brand which has never been on 10 before. Changing Rooms is heritage and Sunday Night Take-Away is a brand new offering and Ambulance has shown that it can perform,” Monaghan insists.
“So I feel like we are giving people something that they know and one that they don’t.”
“We’ll steer clear of the red cordial”
I tactfully suggest studio audiences for Live shows are not too hyper this year.
“Let’s call that a lesson learned!” he laughs. “We’ll steer clear of the red cordial.”
Bachelor in Paradise is expected to run when Married at First Sight concludes on Nine.
“It’s already filmed. There is a similar success rate to last year in terms of people falling in love, but the Bachelor franchise is difficult to keep secret. People will be excited to see the cast who return, particularly Richie. We haven’t had an ex-lead in Paradise before.”
“We were really buoyed by its performance in 2018”
Q2 with MasterChef Australia signals a number of new and returning shows from May.
4 weeks of the 11th season have already been filmed, including with Nigella Lawson.
“Coming off such a strong year, we were really buoyed by its performance in 2018.”
Will there be an overseas trip this year?
“We aim to have one, but do we have one…? We don’t normally ravel until about week 11. So these things come into it quite late,” he continues.
“She plays a retired detective who can’t keep her hands off the crimes”
The first one hour drama for 2019 is expected in Q2, My Life is Murder, an ‘offbeat procedural’ starring Lucy Lawless.
“Lucy Lawless is obviously very well-liked and accomplished, and she plays a retired detective who can’t keep her hands off the crimes.”
It will film in Melbourne where Five Bedrooms is currently shooting.
“Five Bedrooms has the quintessential 10 family-but-not-family dramedy and it’s about relationships. They meet at a singles’ table at a wedding and they all buy a house and live in it together. So it feels very 10,” Monaghan explains.
Comedy series Mr. Black with Stephen Curry and Nadine Garner will also screen while Playing for Keeps returns for 2019. Miniseries The Secrets She Keeps is a thriller about 2 women who are both pregnant, but may not air in 2019.
“There’s a little bit of a Single White Female element about it. We haven’t cast it yet.”
Another Pilot Week will take place, with shows to be locked in over coming weeks. Returning pilots from 2018 will see Taboo for 3 episodes around June or July, Saturday Night with Rove (working title) around July and Trial by Kyle from August.
Is Sandilands enthusiastic about the show or does his cynicism generate publicity?
“He’s a popular guy in Sydney, the radio show is so successful. He brings something unique to Trial by Kyle and we were very comfortable with the way it performed. Whatever he says, he says… the show is coming in August and we’re excited.
Kinne Tonight will return with similar Q3 timing.
“It appeals to the unicorns, being the young males, so we’re thrilled to have it.”
Could Justin Lacko from I’m a Celebrity be this year’s Bachelor?
“You’re not the first person to suggest it. I think he would be a lovely Bachelor but I don’t think so,” Monaghan reveals.
“It’s very close to filming, and we have cast all the girls. We are probably a month away from production.”
“We will steer in a different direction this year”
Monaghan would not confirm rumours this year’s Bachelor is an unknown male.
“The Honey Badger was obviously very noisy but we will steer in a different direction this year,” he continues.
“Honey Badger and Sophie Monk both brought an element of humour to it but finding a celebrity with their quick wit who is single and at an age where they want to settle down is very difficult to find.
“Our male seasons such as Sam Wood, Richie and Honey Badger have been successful and they all offered something different. So we’ll find a man who is ‘desirable’ wants to settle down and people will want to follow his journey and he girl he chooses. He may be funny, he may not be…
“The same goes with The Bachelorette as well.
“Being able to talk is also very important. You have to hold an entire show for 16 or 20 hours. That’s what Honey Badger & Sophie Monk both did so well.”
Australian Survivor will film again in Fiji. With Champions vs Contenders again which Monaghan insists is a launch strategy.
“Once you get past the theme after the first couple of episodes it really doesn’t matter. It’s a way to get people in through the door,” he explains.
“It’s a hook to get you invested in the characters.”
New this year is Celebrity Name Game hosted by Grant Denyer, based on a US format.
“We have filmed 12 episodes to run as a block in a couple of months. Grant is host so after Dancing is done, maybe MasterChef time.
“But Grant is doing far less hours than when he was on Family Feud!”
“I would like it to do better”
How is 10 feeling about the Feud‘s replacement show Pointless? Monaghan is pragmatic.
“I would like it to do better,” he admits. “Mark and Rochy do a wonderful job as hosts and Shine make a very good show. I do think we’ve suffered a little bit from people who watched Family Feud and people who watch Pointless are not at all similar. So we’ve learned a lot.
“It’s a well-made show but whether or not we will be able to get there is another story.”
There are no plans for “rested” show Family Feud to return, but never say never.
“We built the set so our aim is to bring it back at some point but it’s not planned to be brought back right now,” he confirms.
Also not returning are Sisters, Cram, Street Smart and The Wrong Girl. There is no decision yet on Game of Games, Blind Date, The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds, or How to Stay Married, although the latter is under discussion.
Shark Tank and All Aussie Adventures are out for 2019 but could return in the future while “We’d love to have more Offspring even if it as a short run. But there is nothing in the works.”
Also coming are Body Hack, Bondi Rescue, joined by regulars The Project, 10 News First, Studio 10, Neighbours, The Loop, and a new addition, Victoria’s Spring Racing Carnival.
“I think we will give it a really refreshed look”
“We’re really looking forward to it,” says Monaghan.
“It’s a great fit with the racing discussion, the celebrity elements. I think we will give it a really refreshed look and you will feel that as the year goes on.”
10 also has a raft of international titles and plans to continue its 50 weeks of programming to build on its summer schedule.
“We’ll have a new Entertainment format for Q4 to announce, for post-Bachelorette, to lead up to Christmas”.