These dramas still awaiting renewals

Prospects look good for some favourites, but not all of them...

While Neighbours and Home and Away have resumed production COVID-19 shutdown has impacted a slate of other favourite titles.

But there are also shows that are awaiting formal renewals. It isn’t clear if COVID-19 has cancelled their chances altogether, but given the government recently suspended quotas for the remainder of 2020, their chance of returning this year are not good.

A note about the following ratings… these refer to Overnight Metro figures, but of course when execs are considering a total audience, they factor in all the eyeballs from national, Timeshifted, catch-up and even repeats. This can see some titles double in number…

Total Control ABC
If any series has a strong suit to return it is the searing Deborah Mailman / Rachel Griffiths political drama from Blackfella Films. Kicking off with 722,000 viewers it finished just 10,000 short. Producer Rachel Griffiths is on record as saying the creative team are looking to return. ABC has described an eventual renewal as “a no-brainer.”

Jack Irish ABC
Last seen in 2018, the Guy Pearce, Marta Dusseldorp series is always critically acclaimed and 720,000 viewers is a solid number. Rumours are hot for a return when in-demand Pearce is available.

SeaChange Nine
Nine revived the Sigrid Thornton series in 2019 as “Paradise Reclaimed” with originals John Howard, Kerry Armstrong and Kevin Harrington. It added newcomers Dan Wyllie, Brooke Satchwell, Darren McMullen, Katrina Milosevic and Kate Lister. Relocated to a new backdrop in Brunswick Heads was a tall order, but there was plenty of buzz. Aussies tuned in with bumper numbers at 930,000 metro viewers, although there was a mixed reception and the tide settled at around the 600,000 mark. No decision.

Les Norton ABC
At 10 episodes ABC’s larrikin drama was much longer than the usual 6 episode outing, when it introduced Alexander Bertrand. The series kicked off at 695,000 before wrapping at around 400,000. Producers had indicated they were developing ideas for a second season, however ABC is facing cuts which will make decisions tricky across the board.

My Life is Murder, 10
Lucy Lawless has a strong fanbase but CJZ’s whodunnit is another yet to be formally renewed. While the series began with 546,000 viewers it later hovered at around 400,000. It was sold to streaming services in the UK and US, so fingers crossed it gets another shot, which could result in some stronger episodes second time around.

Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries Seven
Every Cloud’s spin-off from the hit series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries didn’t quite live up to its fore-runner, despite the pairing of Geraldine Hakewill and Joel Jackson. At around 350,000 it has not rushed back into production. But don’t rule out a possible new model with a streaming player in the mix.

Diary of an Uber Driver ABC
What a quirky little detour this show with Sam Cotton was… where almost anyone could get into the back of the car. The show has even landed a German adaptation. But sitting around the 200,000 mark, albeit in a 9:30 slot, leaves it revving in a holding bay.

Playing For Keeps 10
10’s AFL drama around footy WAGS has seen two seasons with stars including Madeleine West, Annie Maynard, Cece Peters and Olympia Valance. Produced by Screentime the series struggled in its last outing, kicking off at 300,000 but falling to under 200,000. Given the expense of Drama, this is not sustainable, even factoring in repeat and Timeshifted audiences. Whilst 10 announced the show at its 2020 Upfronts, the network later indicated that referred to the current season which was still playing out.

Upright, Foxtel
Recently sold to Sundance Now in the US, this offbeat Tim Minchin and Milly Alcock series won plenty of praise. So much so that Minchin has previously indicated “Season two has becomes serious.”

Robbie Hood, SBS
Creator Dylan River recently told TV Tonight he was developing a prequel based around Robbie’s mother, Robyn. Bring. It. On.

The Gloaming, Stan
Vicki Madden’s gothic mystery is in development for a second season.

Now screening: Neighbours, Home and Away, The Heights.

Completed: Between Two Worlds, Wentworth (2020), Halifax: Retribution, Hungry Beasts, Australian Gangster, The End, The Reckoning.

Awaiting restart: Five Bedrooms, Harrow, RFDS, New Gold Mountain, Back to the Rafters, Yes Chef, The Bureau of Magical Things, Wakefield, The Tailings, With Intent, Wentworth (2021).

Renewed: Doctor Doctor, Mr Inbetween

22 Responses

  1. Jack Irish fits very well into the global SVOD market, so Pearce is obviously the reason for any delay or possible cancellation. Les Norton is probably finished, but I don’t see any reason why it could not be revived elsewhere albeit set in a different time period, with better satirical dialogue for Bertrand and new main cast. No more Rebel Wilson, please.

  2. How about Janet King 4, ABC? At its best it was outstanding drama, with a subtlety that eludes most local prods. And it looks and sounds brilliant.

  3. I really liked Total Control and My Life Is Murder. Hope they get renewed. And I like to see another season of Playing For Keeps, just so they can resolve the cliffhanger.

  4. I really enjoyed MLIM, I genuinely looked forward to it each week and would love Wednesdays with Masterchef and it following. Hope it gets renewed.

  5. I’d like for My Life is Murder, Total Control, and Playing for Keeps to be renewed. For me, Total Control was one of the best Aussie drama’s I’ve ever watched, and I really hope it isn’t overlooked when the Logies return next year.

  6. I hope we see more My Life Is Murder. It was finding its feet after an … unbalanced first season (which isn’t too surprising given that the production schedule required each script to be written within a week).

    The evolved premise is obvious – Alexa is an independent investigator (i.e. Sherlock Holmes), Madison is her tech-savvy assistant (i.e. John Watson) and Kieran gives them referrals, leads, background information, etc (i.e. Lestrade).

    1. I’m also hoping MLIM is renewed. Lucy Lawless is a breath of fresh air, and it was the only work I’ve seen if hers. I particularly liked the outside locations around Melbourne, actually made me quite homesick.

      1. With more production time and now that I feel like producers are finding their groove, I think second season would be extremely exciting for 10 and is likely to be just as much as a hit with international audiences.

  7. Might explain why ABC have Muriel’s Wedding screening Sunday night. Normally would expect a drama shown not a Movie made in 1994. Since when did ABC show movies in the evening time slot any way.

  8. I really enjoyed Total Control and My Life is Murder. I hope they get renewed and air in 2021. I also found Playing For keeps entertaining, but do not expect that to return.

  9. I heard somewhere that Total Control was always going to be 3 seasons & had already been renewed for another 2. I thought My Life is Murder & Les Norton had already been renewed around the time they finished last year. They cannot leave Playing for Keeps as it was with whats her name getting shot. They need to at least do a movie to tie everything up.

  10. I would be surprised if My Life Is Murder isn’t renewed because it has been sold overseas, I know it to early but knowing The Heights has sold to BBC that a plus. Umm I like Seachange but in one way I am happy for it to finish. Total Control will go ahead no matter what

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