The shows that got away

Big Brother is the latest show let go by one network to fire up on another.

Last October, just days before Seven’s 2020 Upfronts Nine made a decision not to exercise their option over Big Brother.

That was all Seven needed to swoop on the show with producers Endemol Shine Australia. Some 8 months later it has been rebooted to early success for Seven, in both Total People and Demos. There are rumours it has caught Nine on the hop, and whispers of some soul-searching over that decision.

Meanwhile Nine has held onto Love Island rights, which include the prized UK season, that Seven was also considering.

TV critic Colin Vickery who first tipped Seven’s Big Brother move told TV Tonight, “At the moment Big Brother seems to be delivering for Seven – not only in pure numbers but also helping attract younger viewers to the network – a win / win.

“After Nine commissioned Love Island Australia it seems that Big Brother became a bit redundant for them – and with most of their 7.30pm shows rating well there wasn’t a lot of room for it in the schedule either – so I can see why they decided to let it go and James Warburton pounced.

“I don’t think many experts (or even Seven executives) predicted how well the show would launch but we have seen a slight dip in ratings across the first few nights so week two will probably give a better indication of just how successful it will or won’t be long term.“

Big Brother is not the only show that switched networks and went on to further success. Here’s a few more…

Reg Watson originally took Neighbours to Nine but it was rejected in 1982 (oops) before it screened on Seven in 1985. But the soap under-performed in Sydney and was cancelled after just 4 months. 10 immediately swooped on the series, despite Seven destroying the sets to avoid another network getting the show. Thankfully the famed Pin-Oak court with exteriors was a mere 5 minute drive from ATV-0 studios in Nunawading. The rest is history.

Thank God You’re Here
Working Dog’s improvisation show enjoyed 3 seasons on 10 from 2006 – 2007 but was absent in 2008. 10 maintains it had been trying to lure the show back when producers struck a deal to move to Seven. The season ran for 10 new episodes on Seven. Working Dog have never ruled out a possible return with new comics.

Kath & Kim
Gina Riley & Jane Turner’s sitcom began as a sketch in Seven’s Big Girl’s Blouse but was originally rejected by the ABC Comedy department. Thankfully ABC Drama saw fit to produce the series under Robyn Kershaw. It ran for three smash hit seasons and a telemovie from 2002 – 2005 before producer Rick McKenna stuck a deal with Seven, including with (shock horror!) commercials. 8 new episodes followed. Ironically in 2017 Nine got rerun rights, including the episodes Seven had produced, which it screened against them. It next plays out on Wednesday night.

Australian Survivor
First on Nine in 2002 in Eyre Peninsula, SA, then as Celebrity Survivor in Vanuatu on Seven in 2006. 10 rebooted the series in Samoa in 2016 with host Jonathan LaPaglia with thrilling results.

A Place to Call Home
Seven axed Bevan Lee’s drama in 2014 after just two seasons, citing costs and older demos. Fans were outraged and began petitions. Such campaigns normally fall on deaf ears but Foxtel’s Brian Walsh felt it pitched perfectly to older subscribers where it ran for 4 more seasons. Still produced by Seven, another rare move in Australia, it managed to retain the original cast.

The Mike Walsh Show
Not many remember that Mike Walsh’s long-running daytime show originally screened on 10 from 1973 – 1976. On Nine he was a network superstar, screening from 1977 – 1984, attracting all the big superstars to Willoughby studios. It was the fore-runner to 14 years of Midday with subsequent hosts Ray Martin, Derryn Hinch, Tracy Grimshaw & David Reyne and Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

Australia’s Got Talent
AGT ran for 7 seasons on Seven, discovering the likes of Justice Crew, Jack Vidgen, Bonnie Anderson. Just hours after Seven axed it in 2012, Nine pounced on the show, where it ran for two seasons. But the move led to a public court case over the use of Mel B (which Seven won). Seven then revived it once more in 2019 with international acts and is awaiting to resume filming.

Other notable shows:

Game shows: Family Feud / The Price is Right / Blankety Blanks
The X Factor

Also worth a mention is A Country Practice, which ran for 12 years on Seven before being axed. 10 tried to repeat its Neighbours success by grabbing the show, relocating it to Emerald, in outer Melbourne, with 3 original cast. It flopped.

Packed to the Rafters is also on the way back, now as Back to the Rafters for Amazon Prime (still produced by Seven) while The Farmer Wants a Wife has switched from Nine to Seven, to screen in coming months.

23 Responses

  1. Ten might be testing the waters for a Thank God You’re Here reboot – Facebook posts from both Ten and Working Dog today that season 1 is now on 10Play

    Something that could be back quickly to fill potential holes caused by reality shows not going ahead

  2. I’d like to mention The Amazing Race Australia. Seven did such a fantastic job with their version, when 10 revamped it last year, I repeatedly and instinctively looked for almost every new episode on 7Plus, not TenPlay.

  3. I think Family Feud was more suited on Seven back in the early 90s with then presenter Rob Brough. I have read articles that he is keen for another revival to Seven should that occur. Also everyone seems to forget that Hey Hey its Saturday was briefly shown on Channel 10 for a few years then moving back to Nine. Don’t get me started on The Price is Right, Channel 7 destroyed a once great show, removing contestant row bidding at the start and using Big W prizes (nothing wrong with that), If Seven bought that back now, they should follow Nines version which rated well for them.

  4. It was ironic that ACP went from Seven to Ten, given that it was originally pitched to Ten in the first place and they knocked it back.

    Another success to swap networks was Towards 2000 on ABC that became Beyond 2000 on Seven and then Ten.

    Heartbreak High went from Ten to ABC, which seemed to get a few years out of it though I don’t think anyone here watched it. Maybe did better overseas?

    Sale Of The Century was of course a huge hit for Nine for years but it was a revival of Temptation from Seven. Reg Grundy tried to convince Seven to reverse its decision to axe it in the 70s, but they wouldn’t have it. He then learned that Nine was looking to pick it up using the original overseas title, Sale Of The Century. Seven perhaps a bit premature to write it off when it did as it went for so long at Nine..

    At the same time that Nine signed up Mike Walsh, it also signed up Paul…

  5. The reason Ten swooped on Neighbours is likely due to the the ratings in Brisbane where it was screened at 7:00 and became a monster success, but in Sydney it was telecast at 5.30 where it failed. This was before Seven became a network with the same scheduling across Australia. No surprise that Ten then scheduled Neighbours at 7.00.

  6. Really enjoyed this article! I always like the TV history, non-news articles which pop up every now and then. Rove Live is also another one which 9 would have been kicking themselves over.

  7. Love the new Big Brother. Wanted to hate the format/channel change before I saw it, but on reflection it was a significant change that had to be made. The Ten version was awesome at the time (pre Kyle) but on reflection it really dragged out, 6 nights a week plus an hour show for nominations, Friday games and intruder specials. The Nine version was a try hard copy of Ten without the originality and I never really got into it. The Seven episodes have been action packed so far; updates, challenge, nomination, eviction.

  8. Very few reboots, to me, cut the mustard. Australian Survivor on 10 certainly hit the mark for me. Its a Great show. Great shows have a great cast. Who could ever top Graham Kennedy on Blankety Blanks or Gretel on Big Brother?? Some shows are best left untouched. Having said that really enjoying the new judges on Masterchef so what do l know.

Leave a Reply