Upfronts 2021: Nine

Alan Sugar, Sophie Monk, Jo Frost in new Reality TV, plus a drama for Kate Jenkinson.

  • Alan Sugar to front Celebrity Apprentice, Sophie Monk hosts Beauty & the Geek
  • Love Island heads to the Gold Coast
  • Kate Jenkinson, Sigrid Thornton in new drama Amazing Grace
  • Jo Frost joins The Parent Jury
  • Liz Hayes presents Under Investigation

Nine has unveiled its 2021 Upfronts dominated by new and returning Reality TV shows including Alan Sugar to as a Celebrity Apprentice boss, Love Island in a Gold Coast villa, Sophie Monk hosting Beauty & the Geek and Jo “Supernanny” Frost to lead The Parent Jury. There is also a season of Celebrity IOU Australia and a new reno show Beach House Australia.

Kate Jenkinson & Sigrid Thornton star in Amazing Grace, a new drama from Playmaker Media based in a maternity wing of a hospital.

Liz Hayes presents new current affairs show Under Investigationwhile ex top cop Gary Jubelin joins 60 Minutes as a special contributor.


Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, Nine’s new drama series about life’s most surprising and precious moments, features a stellar cast including Kate Jenkinson (Doctor Doctor, Wentworth, Offspring), Sigrid Thornton (Seachange, Wentworth), Catherine Van Davies (Hungry Ghosts, The Letdown, True Story with Hamish & Andy), Alexandra Jensen (Frayed, My Life is Murder, The Letdown) and Kat Hoyos (Here Come the Habibs!).

Amazing Grace is centred on midwife Grace (Kate Jenkinson) and her passionate colleagues at an unconventional birth centre attached to a major city hospital. A fierce advocate for her pregnant mothers-to-be, Grace’s dubious work/life balance is about to get even more chaotic when a new arrival at the birth centre changes her life forever.

Produced by Playmaker Media for Nine, the creative team for Amazing Grace includes writers Jonathan Gavin (Offspring), Ainslie Clouston (Playing For Keeps), writer and executive producer Sarah Smith (Love Child), set-up director and co-executive producer Shawn Seet (Love Child, Reckoning, Hungry Ghosts), producer Diane Haddon (The Commons, Reckoning, The Code) and executive producers David Maher and David Taylor (Love Child, Bloom, The Commons), plus Nine’s Head of Drama Andy Ryan.

With major production funding from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, Amazing Grace commences filming soon in Sydney with further cast to be announced.

Under Investigation

Underpinning our television schedule is our premium news service. 9News, 60 Minutes, A Current Affair and Today are the programs that millions of Australians turn to daily to be reliably and credibly informed about the issues affecting their day-to-day lives.

In 2021, we welcome a brand-new program to our stable of news and current affairs programs. From the producers of 60 Minutes comes Under Investigation.

Under Investigation with Liz Hayes will be a one-hour, studio-based program that takes a single story and invites the audience to get right inside it.

Each episode of Under Investigation will feature a renowned team of “story insiders”. They will seek to solve crimes, uncover new evidence and hear from people who have never spoken publicly, while harnessing their knowledge and skill with exciting and innovative storytelling techniques.

Gary Jubelin, who was acclaimed as Australia’s top homicide detective, will join 60 Minutes as a special contributor in 2021.

Celebrity Apprentice Australia

After a six-year wait, Celebrity Apprentice Australia is back on Nine in 2021 with the biggest shake-up the series has ever seen.

The highly respected British billionaire and business magnate, Lord Alan Sugar, synonymous with The Apprentice after appearing in 15 seasons of the smash-hit UK series, will be coming Down Under to serve as CEO for the candidates vying to become the next Celebrity Apprentice. Known for his no-nonsense approach to business, sparks will fly and egos are sure to be bruised as Lord Sugar clashes with the celebrities in the boardroom.

In each episode two teams of celebrities will take on an epic task, using their business savvy, creativity and charm – while reaching into their little black book of contacts – to win cash for their chosen charities.

The first three celebrities to throw their hat in the ring are personal trainer, author and TV personality Michelle Bridges, one half of Nova FM’s Fitzy & Wippa radio show; host Michael “Wippa” Wipfli; plus Olympic gymnast Olivia Vivian, who is also the most successful woman in Australian Ninja Warrior history.

Lord Sugar, along with his two advisers, incredibly successful business people in their own right, will eliminate the celebrities one by one with those dreaded words – “You’re fired!” – until one is ultimately crowned the Celebrity Apprentice, following in the footsteps of past winners Julia Morris, Ian “Dicko” Dickson, Stephanie Rice and Sophie Monk.

This season promises plenty of never-before-seen twists and tasks to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Celebrity Apprentice Australia is produced by Warner Bros. International Television Production Australia for the Nine Network, based on the format created by Mark Burnett and distributed by MGM.

Beauty And The Geek

Nine will discover if opposites really do attract as the unconventional reality competition Beauty and the Geek joins the schedule in 2021.

Hosted by the original beautiful geek, Sophie Monk, this big-hearted program will showcase the power of love on the inside as a fresh group of beauties and geeks from all over the country test their brains and their charisma.

The new Beauty and the Geek promises to deliver laughs, tears and everything in between as two groups of people from completely different worlds are set to collide.

From the producers of ratings phenomenon Married at First Sight, Beauty and the Geek finds a new home on Nine with a rejuvenated and reimagined format as it explores the old saying that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

The Parent Jury

Global parenting expert Jo Frost unleashes an experiment that challenges parenting like never before in The Parent Jury. In this controversial new series, she dares mums and dads who believe their parenting style is the best to put themselves to the test.

Opinionated mothers and fathers with diverse parenting techniques will take turns judging each other’s style. From helicopter parents to tiger parents, free-range parents and social media parents to extreme authoritarians, they will all show how they raise their families while trying to influence everyone else that their way is the best.

The Parent Jury is produced by Eureka for Nine.

Beach House Escape

With 2020 upending the way we live, Beach House Escape will help people to realise their lifelong dream of escaping the city.

Beach House Escape is set in an idyllic seaside town where an old home right on the beachfront is ready for a complete makeover to turn it into Australia’s best beach house.

Ten talented individuals who’ve always romanticised about a better life will compete to fulfil this dream.

Celebrity IOU Australia

Major star power is on display as some of Australia’s biggest names express their gratitude to individuals who have played a pivotal role in their lives with beautiful, surprise home renovations in Celebrity IOU Australia.

This heartwarming series follows the A-listers as they work to a tight deadline, transforming living spaces to unlock each property’s full potential. Celebrity IOU Australia is also a touching reminder that home truly is where the heart is, and no matter how successful you might be in life, you should never forget where you come from.

Mega Zoo

This enthralling factual series features exclusive behind-the-scenes access to one of the planet’s largest and oldest network of zoos.

Across three vastly different sites, 800 dedicated staff look after more than 5000 extraordinary animals – from spectacular Melbourne Zoo to the magnificent savannah of Werribee Open Range Zoo and the stunning mountain range home of Australia’s most iconic wildlife, Healesville Sanctuary.

Mega Zoo captures the daily rollercoaster of drama, action, emotion and humour as seen through the eyes of a passionate group of recurring characters.

Mega Zoo is produced by WTFN for Nine.


Married At First Sight

Fall in love again when Australia’s most talked about social experiment, Married at First Sight, returns for its eighth season, bringing a powerful combination of love, passion and emotion to our TV screens next year.

In 2021, Married at First Sight welcomes Alessandra Rampolla (pictured above), a certified clinical sexologist with over 20 years’ experience, who will bring her expertise in sexology and join experts John Aiken and Mel Schilling to pair 20 brave singles from across Australia with the goal of creating 10 perfect matches.

Alessandra began her career as a clinical sexologist counselling individuals and couples. She was educated in the United States, has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, and holds a number of other degrees and certifications.

Over the past 20 years, Alessandra has brought her expertise in sexology to television, starring in various programs around the world, and hosted her own radio show. She is also a bestselling author and lives in San Juan in Puerto Rico.

“I am thrilled to be joining John and Mel in Australia’s biggest social experiment,” says Alessandra. “With my particular expertise, I hope to contribute to the complex mix of components that ensure marriages not only work but thrive in the long haul. One of my strongest core beliefs is that sexual expression and compatibility are vital in building, nourishing and maintaining healthy romantic relationships, and it is my pleasure to help guide our participants in balancing this important factor in their brave quest for love.”

Season eight of Married at First Sight will see couples being put to the ultimate test by our three experts to determine whether science really can predict true love and a long-lasting relationship.

Viewers will be captivated by the weddings, honeymoons, provocative dinner parties and confronting commitment ceremonies, which will again lure you into this addictive reality TV juggernaut.

Married at First Sight is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Nine.

Love Island Australia

Love Island Australia coming live from the Gold Coast in 2021. What could possibly go wrong?

The past two seasons of Love Island Australia have been a breakout hit with People 16-39 for their unique blend of humour, romance and drama. Season three will see a new group of Australia’s sexiest singles who have given up on finding love the modern way – by being an influencer and sliding into another influencer’s DMs – to embrace the love quest in the traditional way: in a villa on the Gold Coast filled with cameras and really hot people.

Love Island Australia is produced by ITV Studios Australia.

Lego Masters

LEGO Masters is back, after bursting onto our screens in 2019 and captivating the imagination of the nation. One of the freshest and most creative formats of the past decade, LEGO Masters pits Australia’s best LEGO builders against each other as they make awe-inspiring models and masterpieces that must be seen to be believed.

Eight couples, brimming with creativity and flair, battle it out in a series of dazzling challenges in the quest to be crowned the LEGO Masters and win $100,000.

The feelgood family-friendly format is a ratings phenomenon. More than 2.2 million viewers tuned into this year’s finale, making it the most watched entertainment program on Australian television in 2020.

LEGO Masters returns in 2021 with host Hamish Blake, resident judge Ryan “Brickman” McNaught, and eight pairs of impassioned designers competing in wondrous challenges. Limited only by their imaginations, next year’s contestants will bring a whole new wave of creativity as they strive to construct works of art that will blow your mind.

LEGO Masters is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Nine.

Australian Ninja Warrior

Australian Ninja Warrior is returning to Nine for an exhilarating fifth season.

In 2020, audiences were captivated as, for the first time ever, they witnessed Ninja versus Ninja on the almighty Power Tower. To top off a very successful season, the daunting Mount Midoriyama was finally conquered by Ben Polson, who was crowned Australia’s first Ninja Warrior and took home an astonishing $400,000 in prizemoney.

With Mount Midoriyama now defeated, the best Ninjas from all over Australia are more motivated than ever to emulate Ben and claim another title, so get ready for Australian Ninja Warrior next year, the most competitive season yet.

Nothing in Ninja land is guaranteed and it will be no different in 2021. Australian Ninja Warrior will be completely transformed as our Ninjas tackle more obstacles that defy gravity in show-stopping television of Olympic proportions.

Australian Ninja Warrior is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Nine.

Travel Guides

Travel Guides returns for more amazing and adventurous destinations experienced first-hand by your favourite guides and critics.

These everyday, ordinary Aussies bring a funny and fresh perspective to holiday reviews as they go to the same location for a week-long holiday. However, they won’t all have the same experience.

Each Travel Guide group will leave the audience in stitches with candid insights as they rate their holidays out of five stars.

Narrated by popular Aussie comedian Denise Scott, Travel Guides is produced by Nine.

The Block

The Block will return in 2021 for an astonishing 17th season.

Come along for the ride as another set of buildings are transformed into someone’s great Australian dream.

While we can’t say too much just yet, we can confirm that next year’s series will take place in the ultimate family-friendly setting of a picturesque suburban cul de sac.

Doctor Doctor

Australia’s favourite bad boy, Dr Hugh Knight (Rodger Corser), and his dysfunctional family will face their biggest challenges ever when Doctor Doctor returns to Nine in 2021.

When the Knight family and the entire township of Whyhope are plunged into crisis all eyes turn to Hugh to save them. Will Whyhope’s philandering medico be their Messiah, or is this a recipe for an even bigger disaster? And will Hugh finally find true love with the woman of his dreams?
Doctor Doctor boasts an outstanding ensemble cast including Tina Bursill (Meryl), Hayley McElhinney (Penny), Nicole da Silva (Charlie), Ryan Johnson (Matt), Matt Castley (Ajax), Chloe Bayliss (Hayley), Charles Wu (Ken) and Belinda Bromilow (Betty).

Joining the cast and causing the hearts of Whyhope to flutter even faster is a standout crop of homegrown talent including Zoë Ventoura (Love Child, Packed to the Rafters, Underbelly Files: Chopper), Lincoln Younes (Grand Hotel, Love Child, Dead Lucky), Darren McMullen (Seachange, House Husbands), John Waters (Halifax: Retribution, Mystery Road, The Commons, Offspring) and Chantelle Jamieson (Crownies, House Husbands, Underbelly Files).

Doctor Doctor is produced by Easy Tiger Productions for Nine with the assistance of Screen NSW and Screen Australia. International sales by Fremantle International.


Summer Of Tennis

Then it’s the time of the year which sees the return of our Summer of Tennis.

We start the new year with the ATP Cup live from Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, followed by the Adelaide International.

After that, it’s the big one: the happy (and safe) Australian Open, one of the world’s four Grand Slam tournaments.

The 2021 Australian Open is going to be a blockbuster, with audiences craving just what this exhilarating event delivers every year – big names, thrilling matches and great stories.

The Masters

The Masters, one of the world’s greatest golf tournaments, returns to Nine in 2020, running from Thursday, November 12 until Monday, November 16.

The 2019 championship was a triumph for the legendary Tiger Woods, who broke his 11-year drought in major tournaments to win his fifth green jacket at famed Augusta.

Woods is returning this year to attempt to equal Jack Nicklaus’s record of six Masters victories. He will have a number of talented Aussies breathing down his neck, including Jason Day, Adam Scott, the Masters winner in 2013, and Marc Leishman – not to mention the current world number one, America’s Dustin Johnson.


In the last quarter of 2020 we will continue to stream new and exclusive content on the 9Now platform. Love Island USA drops new episodes daily, direct from the Vegas strip. Joining it will be two exclusive new titles, The Bone Collector and For Life, all hitting 9Now in the coming month.

Already on the platform are classic titles like Desperate Housewives and 24, which will be joined in 2021 by an enormous range of content including House, Chicago PD, Fire and all-new Chicago Med.

Plus, Love Island UK returns in 2021, bigger and better than ever. 9Now will also continue to expand its unscripted reality TV library with hundreds of hours of new content, including fast-tracked episodes of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, 90 Day Fiancé, Say Yes to the Dress Australia and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

9Now is a live and streaming video on demand platform. Yes, it has all the fantastic shows you see on Nine. But now it also has its own investment, ensuring it continues to grow in both live streaming and VOD. Our strategy is to continue to drive an increase in daily active users with the best mix of content that appeals to the demographics that matter.


Also returning to Nine are all your favourite regulars, including Taronga: Who’s Who in the Zoo, Paramedics, RBT, Emergency, Millionaire Hot Seat, Footy Classified, Sports Sunday, Sunday Footy Show and 100% Footy. Plus big-event television, including Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight (2020 and 2021), the ARIA Awards (2020 and 2021) and the 2021 TV Week Logie Awards.



Nine CEO Hugh Marks and executives are presenting the 2021 Upfronts for the Nine Network this afternoon in Sydney.

Hit refresh for the latest info….

  • Showreel telling us how 2020 has changed…. highlights of 2020 shows. “when markets rally, so do we… Nine is leading the way.”

  • Speech to advertisers about sales opportunities from sales boss Michael Stephenson. “For the 5th year in the row we are the leading TV demographic…. we reach more of them than anybody else.”
  • “Nine is a premium alternative to Facebook and Google… Nine has never been bigger, stronger…”

  • Allison Langdon helps intro the Unique IDs who connect with Nine.
  • Nick Young, Director Sales talks Digital and Data strategy. Nine signs data with Adobe Audience Manager, a world first. Coles signs as partner. Also talks about SMH and The Age.

  • I realise you’re all waiting for the shows, but this is how Upfronts often unfold… it’s for media buyers after all.- DK
  • Presentation is highly-produced, which is no surprise given 2020 – DK
  • Liana Dubois talks Powered, Nine’s marketing campaigns. “We invite you to crack the creative as part of Nine’s State of Originality within the State of Origin next year. Will you be the brand and creative team to take out the awarded $1million in advertising inventory across all of Nine’s assets?”


  • Showreel of talk radio stations 2GB, 3AW, 6PR, 4BC, 5AA
  • Richard Hunwick Director of Sales Radio & TV. “We are all about delivering the audience.” Money with Brooke Corte announced for radio. Ben Fordham given a featured spot amongst all the radio personalities.
  • Here we go the shows! Lego Masters is back plus Ninja Warrior, a new expert for MAFS, The Block is back.
  • Alan Sugar to front Celebrity Apprentice Australia with 14 celebs.
  • Sophie Monk to host Beauty & the Geek.
  • Jo Frost to host The Parent Jury.
  • Celebrity IOU Australia.
  • Beach House Escape competition series.
  • Under Investigation with Liz Hayes
  • Kate Jenkinson, Sigrid Thornton in new drama Amazing Grace.
  • More Doctor Doctor.
  • Sport: Tennis, NRL, State of Origin, Netball
  • Lizzie Young confirms Block finale November 22, then talks NRL  / Origin…plus 9Now into summer tennis and MAFS “our most genuine cast yet… about finding love not fame.
  • Calendar 2021: MAFS. Love Island. Lego Masters. Ninja Warrior. Travel Guides. The Block in a picturesque cul-de-sac.
  • Top cop Gary Jubellin becomes a 60 Mins contributor.
  • Celeb Apprentice: Michelle Bridges, Wippa and Olivia Vivian to compete.

  • News & Current Affairs showreel. Looks impressive with its long legacy, now with print and radio.
  • Here is the boss, Hugh Marks. “I’m so proud of our team… the best in the business…. this passion for media drives us every day…. now we need you.”
  • Hamish Blake interrupts via Zoom in his dressing gown. The boss is doing some acting now.


That’s a wrap.

45 Responses

  1. PS:. Jessika Powers, Tammy, and few MAFS contestants would be great on Love Island. Areeba, Juliette, and Izzy from Bachelor would also be good. Harry, Joey and a few of the others from Bachelorette deserve a chance to find love too.

  2. Can’t wait for Love Island. Please put some people on there who are really looking for love and not just there to increase their social media presence in order to become ‘an influencer’.

  3. I like the sound of the new drama Amazing Grace. Seems like ages since we’ve had a new drama on 9. A couple of good ones in recent years didn’t get renewed. Why did we have to get this Sugar bloke from overseas? What happened to Mark Bouris? Was there no one from Australia they could get?

  4. Can’t wait for the apprentice! Alan Sugar is great and has hosted it for so long so I’m glad they’ve actually got someone credible for the job. Never really liked the old ones with Mark Bouris because his role in it was just so lazy and he had no personality. I wonder if Donald Trump will come out with any crazy tweets about Alan Sugar because they hate each other so much and it’d probably get under his skin that Alan has managed to score a role in another country.

  5. The Block and Lego Masters is all I watch on Nine, the rest doesn’t interest me. I feel like we’ve been watching the same shows in Australia for the last 15 years…no wonder people prefer streaming.

  6. Beauty and the Geek is not a franchise that needs to be revived in 2021. Unless it really shakes itself up (queer participants in addition to hetero beauties of each gender?) it won’t translate to audience numbers. Lily Serna from letters and numbers might be a more suitable host for a revival than Sophie Monk, so people are understood from impact who they are rather than the series striving to humanise both the beauties and the geeks.

    Weird choice.

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