Seven may have been hit hard by the 2020 curveball of COVID, but in 2021 its key 7:30 programming will all be in the can up to the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s been widely acknowledged that Seven was hit worse by COVID, on the production side of things, than any other network,” Director of Programming Angus Ross (pictured top) tells TV Tonight.
“At the moment we’d be having Holey Moley and AGT on air. So really 2-3 formats short this year is where we ended up.
“We’re looking forward to 2021, when we’ve got all rounds in the chamber. It’s going to be a very, very different, story. You’re going to see a lot of different, disruptive and attention-grabbing formats from us in 2021.”
By Christmas Seven will count Ultimate Tag, Big Brother, Holey Moley, Farmer Wants a Wife as complete, giving Ross flexibility with his scheduling.
Seven also announced Australian Idol for 2022, to join The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent, which has raised some questions around saturation of talent shows.
Director of Production Andrew Backwell, a former Nine programmer, maintains that multiple talent shows have aired in single calendar years before without impacting on talent pools.
“The 3 biggest entertainment formats in the world are The Voice, Idol and AGT”
“The thing that excites me most about our line-up is that we’ve got Entertainment on our schedule. The three biggest entertainment formats in the world are The Voice, Idol and AGT by far. Then there is a big gap between the other Entertainment formats. This is the first time we’ll ever see those three formats on one network,” he explains.
“I remember when Angus and myself were competing in opposition, we scheduled big entertainment shows against each other. Now because we control them all, that won’t happen anymore. We’ll spread the audience appeal out. I think you can’t just have a schedule of stripped Reality. You need to have texture in your schedule.”
Backwell believes COVID is resulting in more performers, denied their usual stages, now putting their hand up to compete.
“ITV have been overwhelmed by the level of talent is far superior than the last couple of seasons of The Voice on Nine. And that’s come from the production company themselves.”
Four coaches are still to be announced, but Backwell assures deals on big names are being finalised.
“We’re going to deliver some big international names for this.”
“One thing I’ve read in some some publications is that we’re going to go smaller and do the show on a (small) budget. That’s absolutely not true. We’re going to deliver some big international names for this.
“What we can’t do is take Nine’s biggest show and make it smaller. It’s going to be bigger, glossier, and it’s going lose some of the middle rounds… compacted from the Blinds straight to Semi-finals and Finals.
“And we’ve got a brand new round in there that’s never been done in The Voice before. It’s a mechanic that gets you from the Blinds to the Finals -it’s exciting.”
It will launch after the Olympics.
While Plate of Origin is axed, My Kitchen Rules and House Rules are being ‘rested,’ which means Holey Moley will kick off Seven’s year.
“We feel it’s the perfect family-oriented counter-programming against MAFS,” says Ross.
“MKR wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore and there’s a lot of buzz about this show. We think it caters to a different audience to MAFS and we think it will knock MAFS around, as well.”
Farmer Wants a Wife also promises a “new element” in an extended series. Shooting is underway.
“Big, amazing pictures of Australia will really resonate”
RFDS, which was delayed by COVID, will screen from Endemol Shine Banks. It has been filming in Broken Hill.
“Big, amazing pictures of Australia will really resonate next year when we roll it out. Medical drama is one of those evergreens on most schedules around the world. We think we’ve got a really cracking cast with it. We all know drama’s a very hard space. But we’re very happy with how that one’s turned out and looking forward to launching it next year.”
Australian Gangster, delayed due to legal issues, is reset for 2021.
Also announced yesterday were more
Meanwhile Seven has a big weekend ahead, with Telethon in Perth, Cox Plate in Melbourne and its very first night AFL Grand Final in Briśbane.
“It’s close. At the end of this week, it’s going to be 17 weeks apiece for us and Nine and one tie, and we’ll no less than half a share point behind them for the year,” Ross tips.
Who doesn’t love a good ‘ol TV battle?