Programmer’s Wrap 2022: Nine

In 2022 Nine is set for a Block: Tree Change, new local dramas and factuals, and controversy in guilty pleasure MAFS.

EXCLUSIVE: Nine’s Hamish Turner talks through Nine’s 2022, with a Tree Change for The Block, new topics for Under Investigation, the cross-platform strategy of La Brea and more.

After a bumper finish to the Australian Open, Nine is unleashing its 2022 plans, with new locally-made content across the week.

TV guilty pleasure Married at First Sight is back for its 9th noisy season, promising romance, controversy and TV ratings. There are 8 new couples matched by John Aiken, Mel Schilling, and Alessandra Rampolla, while Nine is teasing a scandal ‘leaving the experts gobsmacked and facing a potential walk out by many of the participants.’

Indeed, this is a show that underpins Nine’s Q1, drives conversation and clickbait and creates headaches for rival networks.

MAFS is always defined by the characters and the relationships and how those relationships either evolve or devolve, depending on how you look at it,” says Director of 9Now and Programming, Hamish Turner.

“I think the people who come to the show know when they’re going to get and, like the beginning of any relationship, there’s probably a mixture of love, laughs, a little bit or a lot of drama.

“Across our couples, you see every single one of those. Not necessarily all of the emotions in each individual relationship. Amongst the 8, as per any current social experiment, it definitely manifests in very different ways. Hand on heart, when you go through the casting process phase with Endemol Shine Australia sometimes it’s hard to predict exactly how those relationships are going to play out.

He adds, “Those that you thought were a certain bet, aren’t. And those you think, ‘There’s going to be fireworks!’, can sometimes be the strongest relationships.”

Director of 9Now and Programming, Hamish Turner.

Also new this week is Australia Behind Bars from ITV Studios Australia screening on Thursday nights. Cameras access three NSW prisons for the 8 part observational series, narrated by Melissa Doyle.

“Obviously part of the headline was getting Mel across to the network. It’s really the first time something at this level has gone behind Australian bars. Previously we’ve seen UK, US versions,” he says.

“You see both the inmates and prison guards, ‘the greens and the blues.’

“There’s real heart and warmth in it as well, focussed on prisoners going through the jail system. We will see the whole spectrum, redemption stories, families reunited and of course the re-offenders.

“You also follow first-time prisoners in the first 24 hours, from entering jail and the myriad of challenges they face. I think what viewers will get is a very different perspective and see something that they may never have seen before.”

On Friday this week is newly launched blue-chip UK series, David Attenborough’s The Green Planet. The 5 part series documenting the day-to-day lives of plants has been filmed in Croatia, Costa Rica, Australia, Venezuela, China, South Africa, with motion-control robotics, high-speed, thermal and microscopic cameras.

Next Sunday, the first day of 2022 ratings, 60 Minutes returns with a highly-publicised interview as Tara Brown speaks to the parents of WA toddler, Cleo Smith.

On Monday 7th Nine debuts adventurous US drama, La Brea. Filmed in Victoria, the sinkhole fantasy was originally due to screen as a 9Now exclusive. The series has performed well in the US with a second season to be filmed soon. Turner reveals the strategy is to draw a big launch on linear.

“The strategy is to launch them as big as possible”

“It starts with a big event premise, and they tend to get a big audience, and then they dissipate from a linear perspective. But I think those type of shows also work from a VOD perspective. I think the strategy is to launch them as big as possible. But the world now is very different in terms of our ability to distribute content,” he explains.

Also returning next week are The Hundred with Andy Lee on Tuesdays and Under Investigation with Liz Hayes on Wednesdays.

“We were really happy with The Hundred last year. I think it really found its groove. Andy Lee is great. Last year we were hampered a little bit in getting guests to Sydney in the heart of lockdown. We lost pretty much all our Melbourne cast from the show. The great thing is they’re back and want to be involved,” he continues.

“We go from Fukushima nuclear power to ‘Can the Royals survive the death of the Queen?'”

“We’ve evolved Under Investigation to go beyond what we saw. Last year we did a lot of crime. In Season Three, we are focusing on a much broader subject matter, ones that could be centered in mystery, some in crime, others with themes that talk to issues at the moment. So we go from Fukushima nuclear power to ‘Can the Royals survive the death of the Queen?’ to looking at Mr. Cruel and using brand new technology to try and pinpoint the profile of that individual.”

Space Invaders will also return on Saturday nights, as one of several titles produced by Melbourne-based WTFN, with added focus on the makeover elements this year.

“It’s one of the shows that people talk to us about most”

In Q2 Nine returns the ever-popular Lego Masters with Hamish Blake and Ryan ‘Brickmaster’ McNaught, filming in Sydney. The show, also by ESA, remains one of Nine’s most popular given its ‘co-viewing’ appeal.

“There’s probably more women, really strong female Lego builders, which is great to see,” Turner observes.

“It’s one of the shows that people talk to us about most, especially if you’ve got kids. It seems to be a real family favourite, not surprisingly.”

Season 6 of Australian Ninja Warrior refreshes with new hosts Jim Courier & Leila McKinnon. Filming begins in Sydney in coming weeks on a brand new ‘supercharged’ course.

Nine has two new local dramas due in the first half of 2022, Kate Atkinson starring in miniseries Underbelly: Vanishing Act and jury drama After the Verdict.

The tale of missing high-roller Melissa Caddick, produced by Screentime, also features Colin Friels, Tai Hara, Maya Stange  Ursula Mills and Sophie Bloom.

“It’s a heightened Sleuth-style, totally a kind of Hitchcock vibe”

After the Verdict by Subtext Pictures (House Husbands, Dead Lucky) follows four jurors sitting on the jury of a crime with a cast including  Sullivan Stapleton, Magda Szubanski, Lincoln Younes, Michelle Lim Davidson and Tess Haubrich.

“Events that happen post their verdict make them start to believe that possibly they’ve made the wrong decision. So they take it upon themselves to investigate the case,” he teases.

“It’s a heightened Sleuth-style, totally a kind of Hitchcock vibe. It’s a bit of fun, but also navigates through the whodunnit really well.”

Also returning are Celebrity Apprentice with an eclectic cast including Turia Pitt, Vince Colosimo, Jean Kittson, Samantha Jade, Gamble Breaux, Darren McMullen. Produced by Warner Bros. late last year, it sees Lord Alan Sugar back in the Board Room.

Beauty & the Geek Australia is also back, with Turner noting the success of the refresh by ESA.

“Internationally, a lot of territories are excited by the Australian version. I think a lot of the audience was surprised by how much heart there was and the emotional journey that the participants went on,” he continues.

“We really saw a different a different sides of both the beauties and the geeks … there was real nuance in terms of the story and it was a cross-platform hit on 9Now.”

“We’re changing up the format”

The second half of 2022 sees The Block: Tree Change set to begin filming its 18th season in the Macedon Ranges, north-west of Melbourne.

“We’re changing up the format, changing the landscape and really tapping into that zeitgeist of where people are at emotionally. In the last two years, people have been looking for both sea changes and tree changes.”

Produced by Cavalier Productions, this year contestants build on 10 acre blocks (4.04ha.) while host Scott Cam will also renovate an old homestead. Write it down now, it’s the biggest Block ever…

It’s not the only property series due in 2022 with upcoming weekly series Buying Byron to focus on real estate sales, later in 2022.

Country House Hunters Australia also screens in 2022 while Shaynna Blaze has a new renovation show.

‘We were able to shoot between lockdowns”

Those outrageous Travel Guides are back in new episodes in ’22 with both national and international destinations, produced by Nine.

“They’ve been unleashed and been out and about doing their thing… we were able to shoot between lockdowns. We found a nice window post delta and pre-Omicron.”

Nine is currently exploring a second season of Parental Guidance, and is hopeful for more Snackmasters.

“There hasn’t been a formal commission as yet but the ambition is to return. We’re just working through that process at the moment.

“We were very happy with the results for Parental Guidance, which was IP developed internally and then produced by Eureka.

“And Snackmasters was received very warmly by audiences. We’ll be looking to bring that back as well.”

New factuals this year include Missing Persons Investigation, Million Dollar Murders joining Emergency, Paramedics, Taronga: Who’s Who In The Zoo, Mega Zoo and RBT.

Central to Nine’s brand are tentpole shows Nine News, A Current Affair, Today, Today Extra and Hot Seat.

There’s no decision yet on Love Island Australia, or more of The Weakest Link.

“The Weakest Link specials have had a strong performance,” Turner notes.

“I think we’ll be looking at the performance of those specials and the celebrity version, which obviously sits on the back of MAFS (this Tuesday).”

Nine’s upcoming slate of Sport spans NRL, State of Origin, US Open tennis, Wimbledon, US Masters and the newly-announced T20 World Cup.

The Logie Awards are also due after a 2 year absence joining the ARIA Awards and Aussie favourite Carols by Candlelight. After 2021’s staggered schedule due to COVID delays, Nine is ready for a big 2022.

“We’re kind of returning to normal transmission this year. We got off to a great start with the tennis which is an amazing platform to promote market all our Q1 shows,” says Turner.

“2022 will deliver a consistency of slate with the return of some of Australia’s much loved brands, the year will be punctuated with the iteration of core brands like The Block: Tree Change continuing to surprise and excite our audience.”

Tomorrow: Seven Network

7 Responses

  1. Wow! There is so much to look forward to this year on Nine! Some of the shows I can’t wait to watch are MAFS, Australia Behind Bars, Australian Ninja Warrior, Underbelly: Vanishing Act, After the Verdict, Celebrity Apprentice, Beauty and the Geek and of course, Travel Guides!

    I’m also very happy that Parental Guidance is possibly coming back for a second season? I really enjoyed the first season and didn’t expect it to come back for a second so I’m stoked!

    Finally, I’m also looking forward to the return of Paramedics and Emergency and also keen to try out Missing Persons Investigation and Million Dollar Murders

  2. I think you made a mistake, it says la bre is 9now exclusive but on the tv ads it says it will be on 9 and 9now which I guess will be on channel 9 too

  3. This is always interesting to hear the spin and see what is emerging.
    I am looking forward to After the Verdict and some of the lifestyle shows, Space Invaders was light and easy and I am hoping the Green Planet has new footage, often it is new narration over material I have seen before?!
    Some other shows I may watch depending what else is on and whether they hold interest like La Brea. But Travel Guides is also light relief and I am looking forward to seeing them explore my neighbourhood as I hear they were in the area!

  4. In regards to ‘La Brea’ what does linear mean in reference to ‘the strategy is to draw a big launch on linear’.

    Interesting year ahead for 9. Some of which I will definitely watch.

  5. Except for the two local dramas, this is all utter garbage on my personal opinion.
    I had to laugh reading his La Brea assessment: “But I think those type of shows also work from a VOD perspective. I think the strategy is to launch them as big as possible. But the world now is very different in terms of our ability to distribute content,”
    Yes that is correct. So what do Nine do? Hold off on this event series, which by releasing it when it first launched in the U.S. would have made it as big as possible, by nearly 5 months and launch it on their main channel. Lol. Interest has surely already dissipated for it because people don’t want to watch a delayed “linear perspective” of shows like this. It just proves that the commercial networks still aren’t quite understanding or rather, stubbornly ignoring the way in which people are consuming scripted TV. Sigh.
    Manifest is a perfect example. It’s finding an entire new life on Netflix now because people get to watch it all at once.

Leave a Reply