Upfronts 2020: SBS VICELAND, NITV, SBS Food, SBS World Movies, SBS on Demand.

Update: Bad news… NITV advises it has removed the video from YouTube.

NITV has the best trailer I have seen across any of the Upfronts this season…. a mesmerising series from Warwick Thornton The Beach, in which the film director tries to heal his life by reconnecting to the land. This will screen in late 2020.

Here are other multichannel highlights confirmed yesterday by SBS.


Couples on the Couch
TX: 2 January 2020 on VICELAND
Number Of Episodes: 6 x 1hr
Couples lay bare their most intimate secrets to sex therapists in a specially constructed clinic, where they battle to get their relationships back on track. But when the truth unravels, are their troubles in the bedroom a sign of deeper issues? Candid, awkward, heart-breaking, and moving, this series sees relatable but rarely discussed topics finally brought into the open – but will the couples brave enough to tackle their sex problems head-on be strong enough to stay together? Or will what they reveal push them apart?

Shrill S2
TX: Early 2020 on SBS VICELAND
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 30min
Renewed for a second season, Shrill focuses on Annie (Aidy Bryant), a young woman who wants to change her life – but not her body. Annie is trying to make it as a journalist while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss, while the world around her deems her not good enough because of her weight. She starts to realise that she’s as good as anyone else, and acts on it.

Homeland S8
TX: Early 2020 on SBS VICELAND
Number Of Episodes: 12 x 1hr
The eighth and final season of award winning drama series Homeland finds CIA operations officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) struggling to recover from her brutal confinement as a prisoner in a Russian gulag. While her body is healing, her memory remains fractured – and that is a problem for her mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), now National Security Advisor for new ascendant President Ralph Warner (Beau Bridges).

TX: May 2020 on SBS VICELAND
Number Of Episodes: 4 x 1hr
Punk is a multi-part docu-series exploring the history of punk music featuring global music icons. Interspersing stories from America’s punk pioneers with those of UK bands looking to conquer the USA, Punk defines the genre’s American DNA and its subsequent propagation across the Atlantic. Punk features a seamless blend of rare and unseen photos and video, a crackling soundtrack of punk hits and misses, original interviews, and VIP access to the scene’s biggest movers and shakers – including the Clash, Dead Kennedys, DOA, Blondie, Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, and the Ramones. From the ink-stained fingers that produced Xeroxed fanzines, to the kids packing basements and warehouse spaces, to hundreds of bodies slamming into one another and rushing makeshift stages, Punk reveals for the first time the profound effect America had on this global popular culture.

The Tesla Files
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS VICELAND
Number Of Episodes: 5 x 1hr
Why were trunks belonging to genius inventor Nikola Tesla confiscated in 1943? Did they contain the plans for nearly free worldwide electricity, massive death rays, and other futuristic inventions? A new investigation driven by declassified CIA documents suggests a secret history of bitter rivalries, government conspiracies, Cold War and WWII spy crafts, extra-terrestrial communication, and amazing achievements of a truly gifted man – Nikola Tesla. Researcher Marc Seifer, astrophysicist Travis Taylor, and investigative journalist Jason Stapleton investigate the mysteries surrounding the life and work of Tesla, one of the most important and eccentric scientists in history.

Cults and Extreme Beliefs
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS VICELAND
Number Of Episodes: 9 x 1hr
Award-winning journalist and former 20/20 newsmagazine co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas fronts this documentary series, which takes an unfiltered look at the often unseen stories of people and events in society that have a profound impact. Joined by former members of controversial organisations, Vargas uncovers how these sects prey upon desperate people to alter their belief systems. Each episode examines a group such as NXIVM (an organisation that sells ‘self-help’ seminars) through the eyes of past members, and gets perspective from believers and leaders who are still active within it.


International news programs The New York Times Present: The Weekly and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee are set to return. The channel will also continue its run of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, X-Files, Letterkenny, Abandoned Engineering, and Adam Ruins Everything.

In 2019, SBS VICELAND 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.

World Movies

The Grand Budapest Hotel
TX: December 2019 on SBS World Movies
Directed by Wes Anderson and starring Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, and Owen Wilson, The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, a raging battle for an enormous family fortune, a desperate chase on motorcycles, trains, sleds, skis, and the sweetest confection of a love affair – all against the backdrop of a dramatically changing continent in the grips of war.

TX: January 2020 on SBS World Movies
Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as she does to business, but this all changes after being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant. In this thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by David Birke, we watch Michèle resolutely track the man down, and consequently drawn into a curious and thrilling game – a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
TX: May 2020 on SBS World Movies
The personal lives of Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) and her younger lover, Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) take a dramatic turn when she is diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s. Based on Peter Turner’s memoir, and directed by Paul McGuigan, this 2017 biographical romantic drama follows the passionate relationship of Grahame and Turner as they face tribulations far beyond their control.

TX: June 2020 on SBS World Movies
On the margins of Tokyo, Japanese couple Osamu (Lily Franky) and Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) are struggling to support their family with the income earned from their part-time jobs, and begin eking a living from shoplifting. In this story directed, written, and edited by Hirokazu Kore-edu, their family bond is put to the test when they open their door to a homeless young girl.

In the Fade
TX: July 2020 on SBS World Movies
Written and directed by Faith Akin, In the Fade depicts the life of Katja Sekerci. After two neo-Nazis use a nail bomb to kill the husband and child of young German woman, Katja (Diane Kruger), in a racially motivated attack, she seeks legal action as her world falls apart. As the two suspects stand trial for murder, the devastated mother’s quest for justice in a complex legal system soon pushes her to the edge.

The Death of Stalin
TX: 2020 on SBS World Movies
The internal political landscape of 1950’s Soviet Russia takes on darkly comic form in award-winning writer and director, Armando Iannucci’s, newest film. In the days following Stalin’s collapse, his core team of ministers tussle for control – some want positive change in the Soviet Union, others have more sinister motives. Their one common trait? They’re all just desperately trying to remain alive.

SBS Food

Cook Like an Italian with Silvia Colloca
TX: January 2020 on SBS Food
Number Of Episodes: 10 x 30min
If you don’t have the luxury of an Italian Nonna on speed dial, never fear! Leave it to Silvia Colloca, a food writer and home-cook with a passionate opinion on what true Italian food is. Silvia takes you by the hand to discover a new approach to everyday cooking, while guiding you through the tantalising world of authentic Italian home-cooking with her trademark enthusiasm and flare. Each episode features three dishes cooked by Silvia in her kitchen, trips to Italian delis, markets, and bakeries in search for the freshest ingredients, and a ‘Nonna’s corner’, where Silvia shares the tips and techniques passed on to her by her two nonnas. Produced by Essential Media.

Donal’s Cook, Eat, Burn!
TX: February 2020 on SBS Food
Number Of Episodes: 6 x 30min
Donal’s Cook, Eat, Burn! is a cookery series in which Donal Skehan shows viewers how to cook healthy and delicious recipes that are designed to help us become more active and fuel fitness activities. In each of the six episodes, Donal shares his own new recipes, specially selected to enhance the day of physical exertion ahead. From kayaking to rock climbing, boot camp to mountaineering, and cycling to coast-eering, Donal cooks the ideal dishes to complement an energetic lifestyle.

Slice with Adam Richman
TX: March 2020 on SBS Food
Number Of Episodes: 13 x 26min
In Slice with Adam Richman, Adam takes viewers on an around-the-world eating adventure, seeking out the greatest slices of local food and culture. The series travels the world in search of the best of our favourite comfort foods. Pizza is the launching point – just one category of more than 160 styles of global flat breads, topped with everything from the rock star favourite Italian sauce and sausage, to Armenian lamb and goat cheese – even Indian potato naan.

Jimmy Shu’s Taste of the Territory
TX: April 2020 on SBS Food
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 30min
Jimmy Shu’s Taste of Territory takes you on a culinary journey to the multicultural melting pot that is Darwin. Hosted by renowned Chinese-Sri Lankan Territorian chef Jimmy Shu, we will explore an incredibly diverse food scene, unlike any other in Australia, through the sights, smells, breathtaking landscapes, and stories of the Top End’s most celebrated and hidden foodies. From renowned chefs, to the street food of the famous Darwin markets, the resilient produce farmers, amazing Indigenous bush foods to the food obsessed local home cooks, Delicious Darwin takes you on an adventure to meet the region’s most fascinating people through their love affair with food. Produced by 360 Degree Films and Indigo Productions. Funded by SBS and Screen Territory.


TX: January 2020 on NITV
Marni is NITV’s first foray into slow-TV with this recording of a commissioned painting by outstanding Pilbara artist, Allery Sandy. At just over 2.5 hours long, this is a mesmerising marathon of colour and dot work intercut with the majestic landscapes of the Pilbara to a journeying soundtrack. As she paints, Allery tell us about herself and her art practice in the Yindjibarndi language.

Future Dreaming
TX: January 2020 on NITV
Number Of Episodes: 6 x 5min
Inspired by the ancient practice of Dreamtime, this immersive Virtual Reality film takes viewers into a time warping dream bubble as four young Aboriginal Australians guide you through their futures. Their stories evolve from the present day to 20 years into the future where they are now driving space trains, hanging out with robots and exploring an off-world colony powered by emus on treadmills. Get ready for an intergalactic adventure – and look out for the space emus! A Sutu Eats Flies production for NITV. Principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. Financed with support from the Regional Arts Fund.

TX: Early 2020 on NITV
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 25min
Faboriginal is a deadly arts game show featuring the host with the most, Steven Oliver, who’s on hand to deliver a fun mix of trivia, facts, good old yarning, and laughs that is designed to test everyone’s knowledge of Indigenous Art. It features well-known Indigenous comedians, actors, sporting personalities, musicians, and artists who compete against one another to determine who the ‘true’ Art Connoisseur is.

TX: Early 2020 on NITV
Number Of Episodes: 10 x 30min
Set against the backdrop of the majestic Pilbara, Thalu is a kid’s show with all the energy of live-action and all the colour of a cartoon. The series focuses on a group of Aboriginal kids, who undertake a journey to save their Country from the threat of a mysterious dust cloud and its inhabitants, the Takers. Fusing elements of traditional Aboriginal stories and characters with a touch of the hero’s journey and lots of energetic physical and visual comedy, Thalu is funny, exciting, relatable, and offers young viewers an eye-opening glimpse at people and places they could never have imagined. Thalu is a Weerianna Street Media production for NITV and ABC. Principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association the Western Australian Regional Film Fund, Screenwest and Lotterywest. Financed with support from NITV, with ABC.


The Beach
TX: Late 2020 on NITV
Number Of Episodes: 6 x 26min
Filmmaker Warwick Thornton’s incredible international success has come at a personal cost. He has reached a crossroad. Change or die. Warwick has chosen to change. In typical Warwick style, he has chosen to give up the limelight, the drugs and the entourage, to go it alone, on an isolated beach in one of the most beautiful yet brutal environments in the world, to see if he can transform and heal his life. A World Wide Mind production for NITV. Principal production investment from NITV, in association with Screen Australia.

Strait to the Plate
TX: Late 2020 on NITV
Number Of Episodes: 5 x 30min
Food always tells a story, and in this five-part series, Aaron Fa’aso follows his nose to unearth the stories, culture, and secrets behind the unique cuisine of the Torres Straits.


Logie Award winning Indigenous animation series, Little J & Big Cuz returns to NITV in 2020. Little J and his Big Cuz – they’re the Indigenous Australian kids living with their Nanna and Old Dog. All their friends are nearby, and school is just a stroll away along a bush track. This season, they’re finding out more about their world and themselves – in the backyard, the classroom, or on Country. Little J & Big Cuz Season 2 is a Ned Lander Media, Media World, and Blue Rocket production for NITV and ABC Children’s Content. Principal production investment from NITV in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen Australia, the Tasmanian Government through Screen Tasmania, Film Victoria, the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

Australia’s longest-running Indigenous current affairs televised program, Living Black, hosted by Karla Grant, returns in 2020. The program features some of the most recognisable faces in Australia, in a documentary style of storytelling that explores compelling human stories.

NITV’s flagship news and current affairs program, The Point returns in 2020 to tell compelling stories and investigate the most pressing issues affecting Indigenous Australians. Hosts Rachael Hocking and John-Paul Janke travel the country, joined by our team of Aboriginal journalists to examine a range of issues from health, the arts, sport, politics and more – the program will be coming to you from communities across the nation, bringing the voices of our people with fascinating, compelling, and inspiring stories to tell.

NITV News continues to anchor the News and Current Affairs slate on-air and online with regular daily updates, breaking news and original storytelling on all platforms. Natalie Ahmat and our team of Aboriginal journalists across the country deliver the news that you need to know from a uniquely Indigenous perspective, covering the big stories and exploring the issues that matter most to our communities.

All the latest and greatest from the NRL will be discussed in 2020’s season of Over the Black Dot. A stellar lineup panel including George Rose, Timana Tahu, and Bo de la Cruz will speak to all tiers of the rugby league and be joined weekly by a host of special guests.

Family Rules returns with a third season, with another up-close and personal insight into modern Indigenous family life through the eyes of a remarkable mother and her daughters. Together, with their unique sense of humour and style, they learn to juggle their own aspirations with the reality of everyday life. Family Rules season three is a Metamorflix and Karla Hart Enterprises production for NITV. Principal production investment from NITV, in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. Financed with support from Screen Australia.

In the fourth instalment of Going Places With Ernie Dingo, Ernie continues to meet the people in this incredible country. He introduces us to the people who live, breathe, and work amongst these incredible places. This season differs in that it focuses more on remoter areas like Tiwi Islands, Mary River Kakadu, and far North Queensland. Interesting Aussies, and Ernie’s affable personality, remain the focus of the series.

SBS on Demand

TX: January 2020 on SBS On Demand
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 45 mins
Erik and Adam (both played by Game Of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju) are identical twin brothers, living completely different lives. Erik is a broke surfer bum, and Adam a successful family and business man. When Erik seeks out his brother for the first time in fifteen years, a quarrel ends with Erik and Adam’s wife, Ingrid, accidentally killing Adam. To avoid getting arrested for murder and save his brother’s family, Erik takes over Adam’s identity. It soon turns out that the biggest challenge is not avoiding getting caught – it’s pretending to be someone you’re not.

The New Pope
TX: January 2020 on SBS On Demand
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 1hr
Pius XIII is in a coma, and after an interlude as unexpected as it is mysterious, Voiello succeeds in getting Sir John Brannox, a moderate, charming, and sophisticated English aristocrat, elected to the papal throne, taking the name John Paul III. The new Pope may seem perfect, but Brannox, like his predecessor, is hiding frailties and secrets. The New Pope is written by Paolo Sorrentino with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises, and stars Jude Law and John Malkovich.

Little Drummer Girl
TX: February 2020 on SBS On Demand
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 1hr
This eight-part miniseries, based on John le Carré’s best-selling novel of the same name, is a passionate love story set in the late 1970s that weaves a tale of espionage and international intrigue. It follows young, idealistic actress Charlie (Florence Pugh), whose relationship with the mysterious Becker (Alexander Skarsgård), an Israeli intelligence officer, leads her into a complex, high-stakes plot devised by spy mastermind Kurtz (Michael Shannon). She takes on the role of a lifetime as a double agent, and as she is drawn more deeply into a dangerous world of duplicity and compromised humanity, Charlie falls in love with both Becker and Kurtz.

Agent Hamilton
TX: Early 2020 on SBS On Demand
Number Of Episodes: 10 x 1hr
In the wake of a series of bombings and cyberattacks in Stockholm, Swedish Secret Service Agent Carl Hamilton soon finds himself on a life-threatening mission against an invisible enemy taking advantage of fake news, xenophobia and terrorism in order to turn a profit. It’s the new Cold War. As loyalties are put to the test, Hamilton is forced to choose what future is best for his country in an age where multinational business interests are the new ideologies. Stars Jakob Oftebro (Below The Surface) along with Krister Henriksson and Nina Zanjani.

TX: Early 2020 on SBS On Demand
Number Of Episodes: 8 x 1hr
ZeroZeroZero follows the journey of a cocaine shipment, from the moment a powerful Italian cartel purchases it, to its packaging in Mexico and shipment across the Atlantic Ocean. Its journey is followed until its final delivery and payment in Europe. An epic power struggle is sparked among the most powerful bosses in the hierarchy of international organised crime, and their lives and livelihoods hang in the balance. Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan, and Gabryel Byrne star in the thrilling series, directed by Stefano Sollima and based on the book by Roberto Saviano.

The Hot Zone
TX: Mid 2020 on SBS On Demand
Number Of Episodes: 6 x 1hr
The Hot Zone is based on the international bestseller of the same name written by Richard Preston. It is inspired by the true story of the origins of Ebola, a highly infectious and deadly virus from the Central African rain forest, and its arrival on U.S. soil in 1989. When this killer suddenly appeared in monkeys in a scientific research lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., there was no known cure. A heroic U.S. Army scientist working with a secret military specialised team puts her life on the line to head off the outbreak – before it spreads to the human population. The Hot Zone is a dramatic, high-stakes scientific thriller with a courageous, brilliant and determined heroine at its centre – Emmy® Award winner Julianna Margulies.


Das Boot is back after an explosive first season. While many thought Fargo’s season three was its last, SBS On Demand is bringing Australia its fourth. Blood is also set to return.


  1. In regards to the fate of Marngrook Footy Show on NITV, the government had informed that they were not able to intervene to provide necessary funding for the show in particular to continue on NITV due to the independence of SBS programming from government intervention. The decisions pertaining to Marngrook Footy Show as to whether or not it is shown on NITV is entirely up to SBS. This would also be the same in regards to government intervention for reinstatement of ABC radio Olympics content in particular too.

    SBS did notify that NITV would be continuing to show sports content and might be working on new programming for Australian Rules Football in the future.

    • Something else that was suggested by someone else was program sponsorship, but since SBS is not a commercial network, I’m not sure if it is possible or not, though they do have commercial breaks. I’m pretty sure commercial sponsorship would not be allowed on the ABC. Just to clarify that it was reported that ABC radio would still have Olympics reports, but would not pursue broadcast rights.

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