Screen Forever 2022: 10 boss says Neighbours loss is “devastating”

"The show is iconic. I grew up watching Kylie & Jason," says Beverley McGarvey who still hopes Fremantle can find a new broadcaster.

Network 10 boss Beverly McGarvey has described the loss of Neighbours as “devastating” but reiterated the show would sadly wind up.

The executive vice president and chief content officer of Paramount Australia and New Zealand, unable to attend the Screen Forever conference in person due to COVID isolation, today told delegates she was hopeful the show might return in the future if another broadcaster could be found.

“I think it’s devastating,” she said.

“Obviously, that show had 2 commissioners and unfortunately, the UK for their own good reasons, wanted to invest their money into UK content, and unfortunately, Fremantle were unable to find another UK partner.

“Now maybe I’m an optimist, but I’m still grasping at the faint hope that someday they will find another partner -and we would love to continue to be the Australian partner.

“The show is iconic. I grew up watching Kylie & Jason in that era. It was kind of my first taste of Australia.

“We would love to be able to keep doing it. But unfortunately, unless they find international partners, it’s not possible for us to continue.

“As you’ve seen from reading it all, there’s been a lot of attempts at restructuring things and trying to work out how it’s possible. Unfortunately at this point, they just don’t have that buyer on the other side of the world at the moment.”

Asked about the loss to the production sector, particularly in Victoria, McGarvey replied, “It is a devastating loss for (those) skills … people often start out on those big shows, because it’s multi episodic. So I think, in terms of investment obviously, from a very practical point of view, we have to continue to make Australian content, and we will do so.

“We’ve got lots of drama announcements coming up- but no matter what way you cut it, Neighbours is still a loss. We’re very, very sad. We really didn’t want it to happen.”

9 Responses

  1. Could not have said it better myself. The fact that they are letting it fall so far behind the UK for what? another Friends repeat shows the respect they have for the show.

    1. To be fair, it seems Fremantle agreed to produce four episodes per week for 2022, and Channel 5, the UK broadcaster/funder, decided to break the agreement and air the episodes ahead of Australia.

      Which really suggests a major breakdown between Fremantle, Channel 10 and Channel 5 sometime around December. It’s not yet clear why 5 decided to speed through their commitment, but I can understand why 10 continues to air the episodes at the agreed pace.

      1. I think it has more to do with once Channel 5 decided to stop funding, they wanted a big Neighbours finale to air before the UK summer holiday season in August fully kicks in (August in the UK is like January in Australia – everyone goes away). On the flip side, 10 would want to stretch out episodes for as long as they can given it’s regularly 10 Peach’s most watched programme.

  2. Interesting how she tries to trivialize the loss by name checking two characters who haven’t been on the show for over 30 years.

    As VP and Chief Content Officer, a bigger concern should be explaining how 10 intends to develop and fund enough local production to cover the sizeable contribution Neighbours represented, and how one of the most watched shows on 10Peach, approximately 30% of Australia’s annual scripted TV production, and an essential training ground for people entering the industry is ending because it needs foreign investment to fund it.

  3. I’d love to see a further interview with Beverly to ask why Ten didn’t or hasn’t considered increasing their investment. I understand there is a production company attached and therefore a different model to H&A but think if Ten put funds into the product along with Freemantle then their might be a UK broadcast partner. I get the sense Freemantle may consider selling the brand and we may in a year or two end up with a relaunch but if that were the case I’d maybe like to see the show head back to 7 where they can invest in it.

    Like many I find it disappointing with the end of Neighbours the only Ave he in Australia for new talent is H&A. Whike I note H&A has produced some successful talent overseas it’s certainly not a match for the talent to come from Neighbours

  4. I’m sorry but I don’t buy it – if the prospect of losing Neighbours were that ‘devastating’ for 10/Paramount, they would have funded it properly years ago and not relied so heavily on UK broadcasters to stump up the cash. 10 took the success Neighbours has (or should that now be had) in the UK for granted and wound back their funding accordingly when they bumped it to a digital multichannel, having found an easy way for local content points with minimal investment. Of course they’re sad now because any new local commissions will require significantly more investment. Maybe it being produced by Fremantle instead of in-house like Seven do with Home and Away is the difference here, but 10/Paramount could’ve done more if they really wanted to.

    1. To be fair to 10 here, they did try several relaunches of Neighbours in the mid to late 2000’s. It was only following those being unsuccessful that they bumped it off to Channel 11, which presumably was also the the time that the funding arrangements changed.

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