MAFS facing change in 2021 due to COVID-19
Shutdown and new rules to have a big knock-on effect to the way Nine makes television.
Married at First Sight is facing big changes for 2021 due to COVID-19.
Speaking to Mediaweek Nine head of content, production and development Adrian Swift says, “Married at First Sight will not be able to go ahead like it did last year. It is next year where we think things could be more challenging.”
Swift said it was difficult to see how you could have social distancing on MAFS.
“To be honest it might be better that way. If the couples stood 1.5 metres apart they might like each other more. I expect the show to perhaps change fundamentally next year, but it won’t be about social distance.”
Nine does not plan to insert international content across its 7:30 slot this year as the production shutdown impacts its slate. Construction on The Block continues with builders but it is unclear when contestants will return.
“As regular viewers will know, you have contestants and builders – lots of people rammed into a small space. What we have done is continued building and we are filming that. When the contestants come back there will still be tradies around them, but we will be maintaining physical distancing.”
Australian Ninja Warrior has been completed, albeit without crowds, and The Voice has completed the first portion of its season. Later episodes are set to have some coaches and even performers contributing remotely.
Swift expects a virtual Upfronts in 2020 but to include new formats, while the network continues to review how content is produced.
“It is all about duty of care, looking after participants. When you are suddenly faced with the possibility of cast and crew getting infected by something it moves the focus away from production and closer to how do you treat the staff and contributors. We probably took the process for granted before. Now we examine the process more and that has been good for us.”