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.”

25 Responses

  1. There’s no problem with the basic couple stuff. All they would have trouble with is the drunken confrontations at the contrived dinner parties. But WA is relaxing restrictions and allowing groups of 10 to gather so may not be a problem for long. Seriously considering the welfare as general principle would completely change it though.

  2. I wonder if any networks are considering making an Australian version of The Circle right now. Not only is it a perfect fit for our current ‘isolation lives’, it would also be ideal to produce right now given all contestants are completely isolated and once set up, crew could work in isolation too.

    The UK version was fascinating even pre-covid so I imagine doing it this year would be perfect timing?

  3. “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.” ummm does that make any sense to anyone else? Last year, next year. Seems a very vague and nothing comment.

  4. I suggest you actually find couples that are suited to each other. I know they like the drama but how about not wasting people’s time. These people are meant to be so called professionals that pair these couples together.

  5. How about change the format of the show where each couple get married, then we see them live together. They don’t interact with the other couples, it’s purely observational. No dinner parties of the cast, no casting the type that’ll sleep around, etc.

    1. Logic would also say that because the celebrity and their dance partner were in close contact with each other before the shut down this is why they could continue as is. Personally to do with MAFS the world doesnt need another season.

      1. Except that they were also mingling with other people and living separately, and then touching. It was a complete contravention of guidelines we were told to follow (including those from the live press conference in the middle of a broadcast).

  6. I thought Adrian Swift’s comment RE: “kids shows… nobody’s watching” and quotas to be rather silly, considering the overnight, catch-up, digital ratings monster (outrating MAFS!!!) that is Bluey, etc on a public broadcaster. Speak for your own Mr Swift.

    1. Nah, welcome to 2020. Damaging their brand? MAFS is nothing compared to what’s out there on the trash tv landscape. There seem to be some genuine connections on MAFS which can’t be said for a lot of reality dating shows.

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