Upfronts 2020: SBS: Hungry Ghosts, Addicted, & iOTA

  • Local dramas: New Gold Mountain and Hungry Ghosts
  • New docos: Who Gets to Stay in Australia?, Addicted, See What You Made Me Do, Come Fly with Me
  • Lisa Wilkinson, Bert Newton, Troy Cassar-Daley in Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Returning: Marry Me Marry My Family, Every Family Has a Secret, Where Are You Really From?, Filthy Rich & Homeless
  • iOTA & Mitch Tambo join Eurovision: Australia Decides, Courtney Act joins Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras live; Celebrity Mastermind
  • Luke Nguyen’s Railway Vietnam, Asia Unplated with Diana Chan, Cook like an Italian with Silvia Colloca
  • War of the Worlds, Dublin Murders, Zero Zero Zero, The New Pope, The Good Fight and The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Feed moves to SBS

SBS has announced a bumper slate for 2020 brimming in Australian and international stories in Drama, Documentary, Food, Sport and Entertainment.

SBS Managing Director, James Taylor led a lunchtime event held at The Cutting, Barangaroo before advertisers and media this afternoon.

This year’s diverse slate turns to immigration, identity, homelessness, addiction and domestic violence.

New local drama New Gold Mountain, directed by Ana Kokkinos, is the as-yet untold true story of the Australian gold rush from the perspective of Chinese miners who risked everything for a chance at unlikely wealth in a strange land. It joins Hungry Ghosts from Matchbox Pictures. When a tomb in Vietnam is accidentally opened on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a vengeful spirit is unleashed, bringing the dead with him. It stars Catherine Văn-Davies, Bryan Brown, Clare Bowen, Ferdinand Hoang, Gareth Yuen, Justine Clarke, Ryan Corr, Jillian Nguyen and Suzy Wrong.

SBS is also home to the world’s best drama and has built a reputation for scouring the globe to bring audiences exclusive international series that broaden their worldview. The network continues this tradition in 2020 with the best new and returning international drama series exclusive to SBS including new series War of the Worlds, Dublin Murder and Zero Zero Zero and the highly-anticipated return of The New Pope, Brooklyn 99, The Good Fight and The Handmaid’s Tale.

New local documentaries include See What You Made Me Do presented by author Jess Hill, which will trace how a love story can end in murder and which will seek out solutions in Australia and from across the globe to see how we can tackle this epidemic.

Who Gets to Stay in Australia? from ITV Studios Australia follows stories of people whose lives hinge on one crucial decision. Australia’s immigration laws are among the toughest in the world, so who gets to call Australia home and who’s forced to leave? Also announced are three-part series Addicted which will provide access to a group of 12 Australians as they confront their addictions head-on in a unique treatment program, while Come Fly With Me, presented by Justine Clarke, will uncover how the fight for equality in the skies helped transform our society in the air and on the ground.

Meanwhile Dr Andrew Rochford will join a third season of Filthy Rich & Homeless, while Lisa Wilkinson, Bert Newton, and  Troy Cassar-Daley are joining Who Do You Think You Are?

Joel Creasey, Zoe Coombs Marr, Narelda Jacobs and, for the first time, Courtney Act will host the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the first time Live on Free to Air.

Singers iOTA and rising First Nations artist Mitch Tambo are added to Eurovision – Australia Decides in February.

Mitch Tambo said: “I’m thrilled to be part of Eurovision Australia Decides in 2020 and to get the chance to perform on the world’s biggest stage. Eurovision songs often mix elements of traditional and contemporary sounds, which is exactly what I set out to do in my own music. Most importantly, it brings different cultures together all under the banner of music, which is beautiful thing!”

iOTA said: “I’m not your typical music competition kind of guy, but I am attracted to the Eurovision Song Contest for the colour and movement… music and performance… light and shade… creativity and self- expression… singing and working an audience.”

Jennifer Byrne is back for Mastermind with Celebrity Mastermind added o the entertainment slate while The Feed will join the Tuesday line-up now on SBS.

SBS Managing Director, James Taylor said: “No other media organisation explores and reflects modern Australia like SBS, telling stories otherwise untold and giving a voice to those often unheard. In 2020, we will continue to lead the way in helping all Australians better understand the benefits and opportunities of a more inclusive society through our boldest and most original offering yet – world class content along with vital services that go the core of what we stand for as an organisation, and who we are as a nation today.”

Director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “SBS thrives on telling stories that explore complex issues and can have meaningful impact. With permission to be bold, original and genre bending – SBS is a leader in original dramas and documentaries that inform, entertain and, where possible, shift the dial on attitudes. This cuts to the heart of SBS’s 2020 slate – to present stories that confront tough questions without easy answers, and continue to capture the national conversation around issues central to our Charter in creative and innovative ways.”

New:

Drama

Hungry Ghosts
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 4 x 1hr
The past isn’t done with us yet. When a tomb in Vietnam is accidentally opened on the eve of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a vengeful spirit is unleashed, bringing the dead with him. As these spirits wreak havoc across the Vietnamese Australian community in Melbourne, reclaiming lost loves and exacting revenge, May Le, a young woman who has never taken responsibility for who she is, must finally accept her destiny and help bring balance to a community still traumatised by war. Starring Catherine Văn-Davies, Bryan Brown, Clare Bowen, Ferdinand Hoang, Gareth Yuen, Justine Clarke, Ryan Corr, Jillian Nguyen, and Suzy Wrong. Hungry Ghosts is a Matchbox Pictures production for SBS. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with SBS. Produced with the Assistance of Film Victoria.

New Gold Mountain
TX: 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 4 x 1hr
1855, the height of the Australian gold fever, coming just a few years after the peak of the California gold rush. For the Chinese, this new opportunity is known as the ‘New Gold Mountain’. Wei Shing, the intriguingly charismatic – and occasionally ruthless – ‘headman’ leader of the White Hills Chinese mining camp, struggles to maintain the fragile harmony between the Chinese and European diggers. But, when Shing discovers the murdered body of a European woman, he uncovers a series of connections to the Chinese camp with implications disastrous both for himself and his people. New Gold Mountain is a Goalpost Television production for SBS. Major production investment from Screen Australia, in association with SBS.

War Of The Worlds
TX: 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 1hr
When astronomers detect a transmission from another galaxy, it is definitive proof of intelligent extra-terrestrial life. The world’s population waits for further contact with bated breath. They do not have to wait long. Within days, mankind is all but wiped out by a devastating attack; pockets of humanity are left in an eerily deserted world. As aliens hunt and kill those left alive, the survivors ask a burning question – who are these attackers and why are they hell-bent on our destruction? Starring Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern, and based on the book by H.G Wells.

Dublin Murders
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 1hr
This much-anticipated, thrilling, and sophisticated hit series from the BBC and Starz comes to SBS in 2020. Detectives Rob Reilly and Cassie Maddox find themselves dispatched to investigate the murder of a young girl on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. Based on the books In the Woods and The Likeness by American-Irish writer Tana French, this psychological thriller features Killian Scott and Sarah Greene as the leads. Twists and turns await as the detectives are pulled deeper into the intrigue and darkness that surrounds the case.

Documentary:

Who Gets To Stay In Australia?
TX: Early 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 4 x 1hr
Australia’s immigration laws are among the toughest in the world, so who gets to stay in this country and who is forced to leave? On average, every three minutes someone gains permanent residency in Australia. In this emotive and provocative observational series, we follow the stories of families and individuals whose lives now hinge on one crucial decision. The series challenges who we are as a nation and who we want our new Australians to be. An ITV Studios Australia production for SBS. Principal production investment from SBS in association with Screen Australia.

Come Fly With Me (working title)
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
Come Fly with Me (working title) is a landmark factual history series for SBS presented by Justine Clarke. 2020 is Australia’s Centenary of Civil Aviation, and this is the story of the pilots, flight attendants, technology, fashions, and destinations that changed Australia in the air and on the ground. Poignant, nostalgic, outrageous, and dramatic, this series reveals surprising struggles for equality and acceptance in our skies. From women’s and gay rights to Indigenous Australians and migrants’ hopes and dreams. A WildBear Entertainment production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with SBS. Financed with support from Screen NSW.

First Wars
TX: Late 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
Presented by Rachel Perkins, this polemic documentary series reveals the extraordinary story of Australia’s First Wars. It will unearth the 100 year history of the frontier conflict that has often been buried, whitewashed, or ignored. By challenging our past, it asks Australians who we are, and who we want to become as a nation. A Blackfella Films production for SBS. Major production funding from SBS in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW.

Addicted
TX: Late 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
We gain extraordinary access to the lives of a group of Australians and their families as they confront their addiction head on. Signed up to a unique six-month treatment program, we follow their heart wrenching journey from despair, to hope, and to possible recovery. In a bold, brave, and innovative factual series, Addicted will explore an ever-growing crisis in the most powerful and deeply personal way. A Blackfella Films production for SBS. Principal production funding from SBS in association with Screen Australia. Produced with the Assistance of Film Victoria.

See What You Made Me Do (working title)
TX: 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
In this three-part series, investigative journalist Jess Hill traces a path through the fog that makes domestic abuse so difficult to identify, often impossible to escape, and slippery to fix. We put faces to the names associated with domestic homicide – the faces of men who choose to be violent, the women who have died, families who are fighting to protect themselves, and the people at the coal face determined to rewrite this story. But, this series is as much about pioneering solutions. We show the ways this national emergency can be overhauled, saving lives and futures now – not just for generations to come. A Northern Pictures production for SBS.

Trust Me I’m A Doctor S9
TX: January 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
Michael Mosley continues the popular science series that sets out to provide viewers with the evidence behind health claims made in the media. Michael and his team put their own bodies on the line in order to allow individuals to make their own health decisions.

Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry
TX: January 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 2 x 1 hr
Glitz and glam – Bollywood has it all. The Indian film industry is the biggest in the world. India now sells a billion more tickets, produces twice as many movies, and expands its global reach three times faster than Hollywood. How does it do it? In this ambitious and glossy series, Bollywood obsessive Anita Rani uncovers just how this industry works. Behind Bollywood’s glittering exterior, she discovers a business that runs on last-minute planning, makeshift equipment, and lashings of adrenaline.

North America With Simon Reeve
TX: February 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 5 x 1 hr
Author and adventurer Simon Reeve embarks on another epic journey, this time across North America. He finds a vast and varied continent, with glaciers, deserts and jungles, where great wealth exists alongside punishing poverty, political divisions, and human drama. Simon takes in the grand beauty of the Rockies and the rugged splendour of America’s West Coast forests. He meets Montana cowboys facing an uncertain future and the indigenous peoples of Guatemala migrating north for a better life. As Simon basks under the Mexican sun and shivers in the Arctic, he tests the temperature of a truly fascinating continent.

Michael Palin In North Korea
TX: February 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 2 x 1hr
This incredible two part series, which required two years of planning and high level negotiations, grants presenter Michael Palin and his team unprecedented access to the reclusive country of North Korea. Covering more than 1,300 miles in just over a week, Palin travels from the capital Pyongyang to the snowy peaks of Mount Paektu, interviewing locals and understanding what it’s like to live there, experiencing North Korea in a way most Westerners will have never previously seen.

Great Australian Railway Journeys
TX: February 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 6 x 1hr
Michael Portillo ventures down under to ride some of the world’s greatest railways, steered by his 1913 Bradshaw handbook. Aboard the legendary Ghan and Indian Pacific Railways, Michael uncovers the great feats of engineering, which enabled travellers to cross this vast, inhospitable continent. On his journeys, Michael climbs in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, explores the remote Australian Red Centre at Alice Springs, and the tropical rainforests of Queensland. He hears dreamtime stories from the Indigenous Arrende people, and enjoys bush tucker over a camp fire. In Victoria, he helps with sheep shearing, strikes gold in Kalgoorlie, and swims over coral at the Great Barrier Reef.

The Clinton Affair
TX: Early 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 7 x 1hr
The comprehensive seven-part documentary series The Clinton Affair weaves together never- before-seen archival footage with exclusive new interviews to uncover the biggest political scandal of a generation, examining its lasting influence and reverberations on the USA.From Academy Award® and Emmy®-winning producer Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and Emmy®-winning director Blair Foster,

Mega Metro (working title)
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 4 x 1hr
This series explores the colossal task of building a brand new, state-of-the-art metro system through, beneath, and above the streets of the iconic city of Sydney, home to five million people. The series follows the international team tasked with making it all happen.

Returning:

Drama:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S7
TX: February 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 13 x 1hr
From Emmy Award®-winning writer producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation), starring Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award winner Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and Emmy Award® winner Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age, Homicide: Life on the Street), the Golden Globe® Award-winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective Jake Peralta (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Season 7 episodes will be fast tracked from the US.

Project Blue Book S2
TX: Early 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 10 x 1hr
Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) returns for the second season of the American out-of-this-world historical drama. Based on the real-life Project Blue Book, Dr. J. Allen Hynek continues his investigation into UFO encounters and unexplained phenomena, discovering that not everything can be solved by science.

The Handmaid’s Tale S4
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 13 x 1hr
The Handmaid’s Tale returns in 2020 following the 2019 release of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s long awaited follow-up to the original Handmaid’s Tale novel. Emmy® Award winner Elisabeth Moss reprises her role as June in the award-winning drama as we return to a Gilead in the throes of a costly yet fierce resistance.

The Good Fight S4
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 10 x 1hr
Court is in session. Christine Baranski returns for a fourth season of The Good Wife spin-off. New blood will enter the office in the highly anticipated return of the legal thriller that tackles the absurdity of the Trump era with bitingly self-aware satire.

Documentary:

Marry Me, Marry My Family S2
TX: Early 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
Following six couples from different backgrounds, Marry Me, Marry My Family explores the pressures of navigating family, religion, and tradition when planning for a wedding. The journey to every wedding day brings tears and tension, chaos and compromise. So what happens when you try to send two vastly different cultures down the aisle? The answer – you double-down on the stress and drama and buckle up for an epic, colourful tale of love against the odds. Marry Me, Marry My Family is the amazing story of cross-cultural weddings in Australia. A CJZ production for SBS. Principal production investment from SBS in association with Screen Australia.

Secrets of Our Cities S2
TX: Early 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
Host Greig Pickhaver travels to three iconic places in Australia to unravel their extraordinary and defining history. An intriguing narrative of global events, migration and transformation, each episode cuts to the heart of the city, uncovering its unique place in Australian society. With personal tales of triumph and tragedy masterfully woven through the broader history, a spotlight is shone on the hidden past as Greig reveals the secrets of our cities. A Joined Up production for SBS. Principal production investment from SBS in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest.

Who Do You Think You Are? S11
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 1hr
Well-known Australians play detective as they go in search of their family history, revealing secrets from the past. Taking us to all corners of Australia and the globe are eight stories of individuals seeking to find the definitive answer to where they came from. Along the way secrets are uncovered and histories are revealed, as each person discovers just who their ancestors were. A Warner Bros. Australia production for SBS.

Every Family Has A Secret S2
TX: 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
SBS’s acclaimed series will continue to follow everyday Australians as they seek out the secrets within their families. Presented by Noni Hazlehurst, this season will reveal more dark pasts and hidden scandals that have impacted generations. An Artemis Media production for SBS. Principal production funding from Screen Australia with Development and Production support from Screenwest and Lotterywest and SBS.

Untold Australia S5
TX: Late 2020 on SBS
Number Of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
Untold Australia is a returning strand of observational documentaries on SBS that allows a diversity of voices and stories to be explored.
Birdsville: A Mint Pictures production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with SBS.
Bowled Over: A Flickchicks production for SBS. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with SBS. Developed and produced with investment from Screen Queensland.
Stutter School: A Southern Pictures production for SBS. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with SBS.

Filthy, Rich & Homeless S3
TX: 2020 on SBS
Number of Episodes: 3 x 1hr
After sparking a national discussion on the homelessness crisis and inspiring those with the power and means to tackle this critical problem, Filthy Rich & Homeless returns for a third season. Five high-profile Australians with the potential to effect positive change will swap their privileged lives to discover what life is like for the nation’s homeless. This time, we’ll extend the exploration outside Australia’s cities and look at hidden homelessness. A Blackfella Films production for SBS. Principal production investment from SBS in association with Screen NSW.

Entertainment:

Eurovision – Australia Decides 2020
TX: February 2020 on SBS
Eurovision – Australia Decides 2020 will return to the Gold Coast in February, giving Australians the chance to vote for the artist and song to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in the Netherlands. Hosted by SBS Eurovisionaries, comedian Joel Creasey and music buff Myf Warhurst, Eurovision – Australia Decides will showcase the best of Australian music and bring the nation closer to the Eurovision action. Produced by Blink TV.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020
TX: March 2020 on SBS
For the first time, SBS is broadcasting the 42nd Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras live in 2020, with Joel Creasey, Narelda Jacobs, Zoe Coombs-Marr, and Courtney Act at the helm. The theme is What Matters, and there will be glitz, glammer, and celebrities all underpinned by this important social justice milestone. Founded in 1978, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras remains one of the world’s largest and loved LGBTIQ+ celebrations. Produced by Blink TV.

Eurovision Song Contest 2020
TX: May 2020 on SBS
The world’s biggest singing contest returns exclusively to SBS in 2020. At the helm of SBS’s Eurovision coverage, hosts Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst will be on the ground in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to bring Australians every angle of the contest as they explore the razzmatazz, kitsch, political voting, showbiz, cultural displays, and the heart of Eurovision – the artists and songs. After securing yet another spot in the Top 10 in 2019 with Kate Miller-Heidke, can Australia go higher this year in Rotterdam? Produced by Blink TV.

Mastermind S2 and Celebrity Mastermind
TX: Early 2020 on SBS
Mastermind is returning for a second season with celebrated journalist and media personality Jennifer Byrne back at the helm. A new batch of contestants must stand the test of time as they answer a set of questions based on their specialty topic. SBS is also excited to announce that in an Australian first, Celebrity Mastermind is set to air in 2020. Sixteen of Australia’s most well-loved celebrities will battle it out for a winning title. Produced by BBC Studios Australia.

News:

SBS’s flagship news programs, SBS World News, Insight, and Dateline return in 2020, exploring a gamut of current and often unheard issues that affect the world we live in. In 2020, SBS VICELAND’S The Feed will join the line-up. The mutli Walkley Award-winning program is focused on breaking new ground with its compelling mix of news, pop culture, and comedy, showcasing the talents of young Australian storytellers.

Sport:

In 2020, SBS will serve up the best in sports you won’t see anywhere else. Highlights next year include the UEFA Women’s Champions League Football final, the Koori Knockout, International Champions Cup Football, Ballon d’Or Football Awards and the Dakar Rally. Catch all the action with highlight segments and recaps of some of the best sporting moments over the year.

Basketball
In 2019, the SBS network became the free-to-air home of basketball in Australia, with full coverage of the National Basketball League (NBL), alongside matches from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) leagues. With comprehensive highlight programs and unique insights, live basketball coverage will continue well into 2020.

Cycling
Atop the 2020 Tour De France and La Vuelta a España, SBS can boast the most comprehensive and unrivalled coverage of more than 15 of the biggest cycling events in the world. All in all, we’ll be delivering more than 300 hours of cycling content to every home in Australia next year.

Tennis
Australians love the drama and excitement of Grand Slam tennis, and we’re thrilled to serve two Grand Slams live and free to all Australians. Both the US Open Finals and the Roland-Garos French Open Finals will return to SBS in 2020.

Still o come SBS VICELAND, NITV, SBS on Demand

This post updates.

11 Comments:

  1. Really excited about this line-up, and even Mr Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys in Australia will be great fun (what is it with our fascination with railways?). And with World Movies back, I believe SBS will have a bumper year.

  2. There’s a lot to like in the above list.

    Rather surprised that the SBS are broadcasting the Fox/Canal+ adaption of War of the Worlds. Expected that to be broadcast by Fox Showcase rather than the BBC adaption. I guess it’s because StudioCanal has distribution rights in Latin America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East, with Fox Studios elsewhere.

    So that leaves the MTV adaption … wonder who will be broadcasting it?

  3. I had no idea about another TV adaptation of War Of The Worlds. The BBC version took the boldest steps towards being faithful to the H.G. Wells novel (with several notable modifications) so the notion of another modernisation is a little off-putting to me but I’ll still savour it as best I can.
    As a flightie, I’m definitely interested in Come Fly With Me (not to be confused with the Walliams/Lucas comedy) while Addicted and See What You Made Me Do should be uncomfortably compelling.

  4. Lots to look forward to next year. The Mardi Gras is listed as being in March, assume that it will actually be February. Pity there is no slow TV in January.

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