2023 Upfronts: ABC

Denise Scott & Matt Okine reboot Mother & Son plus Sydney World Pride, Leigh Sales returns, more Utopia, Newsreader and audio description on ABC iview in 2023.

  • New Comedy: Mother & Son reboot, Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe, Limbo.
  • New Drama: Bay of Fires, House of Gods, The Messenger.
  • Returning: The Newsreader, Utopia, War on Waste, Kitchen Cabinet, The ABC Of, Back in Time.
  • Leigh Sales to present Australian Story.
  • New Factual: Australia’s Wild Odyssey, Platypus Guardian, The Black Hand.
  • LGBTQI+: World Pride, Mardi Gras, Queerstralia.
  • Audio Description coming to iview.

Australia’s most acclaimed sitcom Mother & Son is getting a reboot in 2023 at ABC.

Denise Scott will play the ageing, fragile Maggie to son Arthur, now played by Matt Okine. Reimagined by Okine in partnership with original creator Geoffrey Atherden, the single-cam comedy also introduces a multicultural aspect, with Arthur now from a migrant background.

Amongst the other new comedies in 2023 is a new season of Utopia and a new narrative comedy from the Aunty Donna troupe.

Drama favourite The Newsreader is back for its second season, to be joined by new Tasmanian drama Bay of Fires starring and co-produced by Marta Dusseldorp, House of Gods by Osamah Sami from Ali’s Wedding, and The Messenger based on a novel by Markus Zusak (The Book Thief).

Leigh Sales will return to present Australian Story, following in the footsteps of the legendary Caroline Jones, while Annabel Crabb fronts a new Kitchen Cabinet season and Back in Time for the Corner Shop. Already confirmed, Q+A moves back to Monday nights.

Sydney World Pride is also cause for celebration in 2023 with two weeks of highlights including the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and 3 part doco Queerstralia presentd by Zoe Coombs-Marr.

There are also new shows for Tony Armstrong, Joel Creasey, Chas Licciardello and Anthony LaPaglia.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson says “In 2023 the ABC will bring to our audiences everywhere more of the brilliant and compelling programs they love and rely on. No other network or streaming service features Australian stories and voices as much as the ABC, ABC iview and ABC News.

“I am also pleased to announce that ABC content will be accessible to even more Australians as we introduce audio description to ABC iview and continue to find even more ways to connect with audiences.”

ABC Acting Director of Entertainment and Specialist Jennifer Collins says, “In 2023 we’re proud to offer audiences, of all ages, shows that are unique, thought provoking and entertaining. As the single largest commissioner of Australian content, working with the very best creatives, the ABC in 23 will continue to showcase a diverse range of Australian stories that will delight our audiences across all our platforms, free and accessible to all Australians.”

TV Tonight has also spoken to Jennifer Collins who has offered further insight to several titles, quoted below.

Not returning in 2023 are Spicks & Specks and You Can’t Ask That while a number of titles on ABC’s extensive slate are yet to be decided.



Bay of Fires
Showcasing Tasmania’s rugged west coast, Bay of Fires, tells the story of Stella (Marta Dusseldorp), who is unexpectedly dropped into a small community with her children. But it’s not the kind of place they put on postcards – it is instead rife with simmering feuds, crime and sometimes, murder. An Archipelago Productions and Fremantle Australia production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and Screen Tasmania, with support from VicScreen. Producers Marta Dusseldorp and Yvonne Collins. Executive Producers Greg Sitch, Andrew Knight and Brett Popplewell. ABC Executive Producers Sally Riley, Alex Baldwin and Louise Smith. Fremantle will distribute the series internationally.

Jennifer Collins: “It’s quirky, it’s funny, it’s fresh, great characters. Marta has done an exquisite job. I think this one is going to be a fantastic co-viewing opportunity for our audiences. It catches that beautiful, rugged West Coast of Tasmania, so well. The casting and the storylines are fantastic. It’s a bunch of misfits that all ended up in this town together.”

House of Gods
Created by Osamah Sami and Shahin Shafaei, House of Gods is a tale of faith, family, secrets and lies that takes audiences behind the walls of an Imam’s family and the community he leads, exploring the personal cost of power and ambition. Matchbox Pictures production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW with Universal International Studios managing international sales. Matchbox Pictures is part of Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group. Producers Sheila Jayadev, Bree-Anne Sykes. Executive Producers Blake Ayshford, Debbie Lee. ABC Executive Producer: Brett Sleigh.

JC: “House of Gods is new territory for us, reflecting the cultural diversity of Australia. It’s co-created by Osamah Sami from Ali’s Wedding. It’s an authentic tale in a community that we haven’t explored in any of our Dramas previously.”

The Messenger
Based on Markus Zusak’s best-selling novel of the same name, The Messenger, follows Ed Kennedy (William McKenna) – just another stupid human, until one day he isn’t. That day, he stops an armed robbery and becomes an accidental hero. The next day, he starts getting messages…Four playing cards – the ace of diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts. Each with their own set of tasks. Who’s sending them? And what the hell is a hopeless, cab-driving, guy like Ed meant to do with them? Ed has been chosen to care. He stumbles this mysterious path, helping and hurting, completing the cards, until he comes to see the real message has been for him. Being The Messenger has brought Ed back to life. The series stars Helpmann Award winner William McKenna (Nowhere Boys), alongside Australian icon Maggie Dence (Rake, Wonderland), Alexandra Jensen (Frayed, Amazing Grace), Chris Alosio (Troppo) and actor, singer and songwriter Kartanya Maynard (Deadloch). A Lingo Pictures production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW and All3Media International is managing international sales. Producers Jason Stephens and Elisa Argenzio. Executive Producers Helen Bowden, Markus Zusak, Mika Zusak, Sarah Lambert and Daniel Nettheim. ABC Executive Producers Rebecca Anderson and Sally Riley.

JC: “It’s a really young cast and we’re going to love William McKenna and Kartanya Maynard. It’s about Ed who has delivered these playing cards, and they’ve got simple instructions on them which he has to follow -and they’re all acts of kindness. It’s a really great, young, eclectic cast… mysterious. Intriguing and really strong quality as you’d imagine from Lingo Pictures.”

Comedy & Entertainment

Mother & Son
When his widowed mum, Maggie, sets fire to the kitchen, recently single Arthur Gbeme moves back into the family home. As he tells it, he has “put his life on hold” to care for his mum, but the truth is, there isn’t much to put on hold. A former nurse, Maggie used to be a firebrand – a renegade. But since the death of her husband, Maggie has been… a little off. A bold re-imagining of the long running and hugely successful ABC comedy, Mother and Son is a show about ageing, migrant upbringing, changing family roles, and caring for someone you love even when they’re driving you up the wall. Re-created by Matt Okine with collaborators, Sarah Walker, Tristram Baumber and the show’s original creator, Geoffrey Atherden, Mother and Son is an 8 x 30 min comedy series starring one of Australia’s most-loved comedians, Denise Scott as Maggie and Matt Okine as Arthur. With rich, warm characters that could be drawn right from your own family. Mother and Son offers hilarious, poignant, and utterly relatable observations on modern family life. A Wooden Horse production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Produced by Jude Troy and Richard Finlayson. Associate Producer Alexandra Cameron. Executive Producer / Creator / Writer Matt Okine. ABC Executive Producers: Todd Abbott and Louise Smith. International Sales: ABC Commercial.

JC: “Mother and Son holds a place in our hearts. I think this is a really great co-viewing opportunity for parents to be watching with their children. The older viewers are going to have that nostalgia of the original Mother and Son, which has touched so many hearts, and then the younger viewers will gravitate to this because of the lovely Matt Okine who we know draws a younger audience. It’s a beautiful show, about ageing and migrant upbringing, family roles and caring for loved ones. It’s great that they’ve included Geoffrey Atherden, the original creator.”

Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe
Starring Aunty Donna’s Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane, the high octane and unpredictable series follows the story of three best mates running a trendy cafe down one of Melbourne’s less-than-iconic laneways. A Haven’t You Done Well Productions production for ABC. Principal production investment from the ABC and Screen Australia in association with VicScreen. Director/producer Max Miller and writer/executive producers Sam Lingham, Broden Kelly, Mark Samual Bonanno, Thomas Armstrong and Zachary Ruane. Producer Nicole Minchin and executive producer Georgia Mappin. ABC Executive Producers Rachel Millar and Todd Abbott.

JC: “We know that Aunty Donna and the team are superstars. Their comedy is right off the wall. We know younger viewers love them. It’s really great that we’ve been able to give them opportunities in the past, and that we’re able to give them this opportunity to do their own show.”

The six-part comedy explores the compelling and charmingly funny story of best friends Charlie (Ryan Corr) and Nate (Bob Morley) as they’re faced with how hard it is to let go of those we love – especially when they’re taken too soon. And when they come back to haunt you. Literally. A Bunya Productions and Heiress Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with ABC. Financed with support from Screen Queensland, with Screen NSW. Directed by Trent O’Donnell and David Stubbs. Produced by Jennifer Cummins, David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn and Greer Simpkin. ABC Executive Producer Rebecca Anderson.

JC: “It’s a narrative comedy. A buddy piece, beautiful, compelling and charming with Ryan Corr and Bob Morley. It’s a story about love, about letting go, grief, regret and futures.”

Gold Diggers
A pair of renegade sisters are taking no prisoners and shaking up history as they search for newly-rich, dumb husbands in 1850s Victoria. More info is TBA.

No Stupid Questions (Working title)
How do I join the Illuminati? Do fish feel pain? When can I make a citizen’s arrest? Are other animals ticklish? Is social media addictive? Should we be worried about ancient viruses being unlocked from melting permafrost? Is there a new show on the ABC in 2023 that lets the audience ask questions like this? Is there a new show that will go and find the answers to these questions in an entertaining and thought provoking fashion? There is! Does this show have a name? Not yet, let’s move on. Who’s on it? Chas Licciardello, Kirsten Drysdale, Lawrence Leung, Alex Lee, Cameron James and Louise Wall. A Mercury Scout production for the ABC. Executive Producers Chas Licciardello and Martin Robertson. Directors Stef Smith and Steve Kirkby. ABC Executive Producer Frances O’Riordan.

JC: “It’s a collection of comedians and journalists who will address questions. So it’s not so much a studio panel show, but actually in the field in a series of segments. It’s still very much it’s early days for this show but it’s great having Chas at the helm, with Kirsten Drysdale, Lawrence Leung, Cameron, James and Alex Lee.”

Factual & Culture

Australia’s Wild Odyssey
Australia’s Wild Odyssey follows the flow of water across the Australian continent to uncover the incredible connections that link all creatures on earth: from ants, to eagles to us. Over three dynamic episodes, this wildlife series sets out on a journey across the driest continent on earth – following the rain, rivers and underground aquifers as they transform and connect distant ecosystems. Each stop on the journey reveals a new piece of the ecological puzzle that connects organisms and ecosystems, creating a planet just right for us. Alongside passionate biologists and Traditional Owners, we reveal in awesome detail the surprising connections that allow life on earth to thrive. How can floods in the outback affect mountain possums 1000kms away? How do dingoes change the shape of desert sand dunes? How can a tiny crab help keep the earth’s atmosphere stable? Each story brings a new understanding of the natural functions that power our global life support systems, and the importance of preserving each piece of this complex web of life. This series is an epic adventure across Australia’s unique landscapes, and a love letter to the only planet we know that sustains life. A Wild Pacific Media Production. Developed with the assistance of Screen Australia. Financed in association with Screen NSW. Producers in association with Arte France. Developed and Produced in association with the ABC. Executive Producers Electra Manikakis and Nick Robinson. Producers Peta Ayers, Nick Robinson, Electra Manikakis. ABC Manager, Documentaries Stephen Oliver.

Better Date than Never
Better Date than Never is a character-led, multi-part docuseries following a diverse group of single love seekers as they take a huge step in anyone’s life – into the dating world. Each participant has a unique story, and a different reason for a later start to their dating journey. But they all share a common goal – to step out on their first date. With a little help from the producers, they launch into a world they’ve always wanted to explore, on a journey that takes them on the sometimes rocky road to finding love. Refreshingly real, honest and diverse, Better Date than Never is a warm-hearted series exploring the world of dating and relationships, from the creators of Love on the Spectrum. A Northern Pictures production for the ABC. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Associate Producers, Antonia Osili, Rachel O’Rourke, Melanie Sauer. Executive Producers Karina Holden and Cian O’Clery. ABC Manager, Documentaries Stephen Oliver.

JC: “Better Late than Never comes from the award winning International Emmy award winning team that created Love on the Spectrum for us. It is 6x30mins for Tuesday evenings. It’s dating but this time with a diverse group of love seekers. It’s great that we’re giving them an opportunity to find love and connection. For me, this is the antithesis of those dating shows on commercial networks… heartwarming, authentic. It’s about real love, real connections with all the heart and humour of Love on the Spectrum. ”

The Black Hand
Anthony LaPaglia, delves back in time to explore an Australian Italian community’s struggle against hard times, extreme politics, looming war and the mafia in their midst. A personal journey from Queensland cane country to Calabria, Italy seeking answers to a question faced by all those who remake their lives in a new place what comes with us from the old country, what do we leave behind? WildBear Entertainment production for the ABC. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen NSW and Screen Queensland. Producers Kate Pappas & Adam Grossetti, Executive Producers Alan Erson, Michael Tear & Anthony LaPaglia. ABC Factual Manager Julie Hanna.

Dolphins: Is Our Love Too Deep?
Dolphins: Is Our Love Too Deep? is a ground-breaking, investigative, environmental film that explores the impact humans are having on wild dolphins through hand feeding tourism programs in Australia at Monkey Mia and Bunbury in Western Australia, and Moreton Bay and Tin Can Bay in Queensland. Hand feeding in some of these locations has caused a litany of problems, high calf mortality, aggressive behaviour, and reduced survival rates in the wild. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a mystery where many of the female dolphins at Monkey Mia died in the last 5 years. We examine research in Australia from the world’s leading marine scientists and the debate from marine biologists, environmental groups, conservation advocates, and governments who all have differing opinions on the issue. But one thing remains constant, the feeding continues! The film investigates and challenges our insatiable need to interact with wild dolphins, questioning how deep our love really is, for these amazing marine animals. Ultimately the film uncovers the tenuous balance between our all-consuming desire to get back to nature and the stark reality, that we could be loving some dolphins to death! A Sea Dog TV International Pty Ltd production. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with ABC. Financed with support from Screenwest. Local distribution by ABC. International sales by ABC Commercial. Producers Jodie De Barros and Leighton De Barros. Executive Producer Leighton De Barros. ABC Manager, Documentaries Stephen Oliver.

First Weapons
Host Phil Breslin sets out an action-packed adventure across Australia, visiting Country he meets weapon makers from Wadi Wadi lands to the Central Desert. From Adelaide to Tasmania and Menang Noongar country. He learns through the inherent knowledge how each weapon is sourced and crafted before facing a crash course in combat. A celebration of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and bravery. Then Phil puts himself and science to the test… With the weapon makers, he meets our scientific experts who reveal how First Nations peoples have mastered the principles of aerodynamics, flight dynamics, chemistry, biomechanics, and kinetic energy for over millennia and still thrives today. But Phil’s journey is far from over… In a suite of challenges, he unlocks the wonder of this extraordinary Aboriginal arsenal. How will Phil fare in facing one of Australia’s fastest bowlers with only the Leangle and Parrying Shield for protection? Will the most iconic First Weapon be victorious as the returning boomerang goes head-to-head with a drone at one of Australia’s finest sporting stadiums? First Weapons is a television first. A unique, revelatory, and inspiring journey deep into Australia’s history, culture and science. A celebration of the First Australians, their genius, their dynamism, and their daring. Blackfella Films production for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia’s First Nations Department in association with the ABC. Financed with support from Screen Queensland. Producers Dena Curtis and Darren Dale. Executive Producer Jacob Hickey. ABC Executive Producer Kelrick Martin.

Great Australian Stuff
Presenter Tony Armstrong unpacks the surprising, strange, and sometimes dark history behind our most iconic Aussie stuff. From the pioneering Boomerang hills hoist and Victa lawnmower, to One Day Cricket, Sherrin footballs and the humble meat pie. And of course, some of our most questionable fashion staples, including speedos and stubbies. Featuring Ben Law, Nazeem Hussain, Jenny Kee, Nornie Bero, Richard Glover and Jean Kittson to name a few, Tony digs deep into the ABC archives to uncover what makes something “great” – what stuff we should celebrate and what he can reveal in new lights. Wildbear Entertainment Production for ABC. Financed with support from the ABC, Screen Canberra, National Museum of Australia and in partnership with National Archives of Australia and ANU Australian Studies Institute. Series Producer Mike Bluett, Executive Producer Alan Erson. ABC Executive Producer Leo Faber.

Knowing the Score
Knowing the Score is the up close and personal story of one of classical music’s most unlikely trail blazers. Filmed over twenty years, Knowing The Score charts the struggle and rise of conductor Simone Young. Born to a non musical family in a country far away from the major concert halls of the world, Simone defies the odds and breaks down the barriers in the male dominated world of classical music. Simone was the first female conductor to appear on stage at the world’s most renowned Opera houses; Sydney Opera House; Met New York Opera; and the Vienna Opera House. These iconic opera houses had never before seen women conductors before Simone Young graced the stage. An outspoken perfectionist at the top of her game, the film follows Simone as she prepares for the most important concert of her life on home soil. Knowing the Score is an engaging, luscious music documentary revealing two key themes; the long struggle for gender parity in the high art of classical music and the heart-breaking struggle for artists to be valued in times of crisis, or sometimes even at all. A Serendipity Productions production. Principal production funding from Screen Australia in association with ABC and Screen NSW. Financed with support from philanthropy via Documentary Australia Foundation. Producer Margie Bryant. Executive Producers Cate Blanchett, Georgie Black, Mitzi Goldman, Jonathan Page. ABC Manager Factual Julie Hanna.

New Leash on Life
Mental health issues and loneliness in Australia are on the rise and so are dogs on death row. Joel Creasey has a solution: a mutual rescue. New Leash On Life is a feel-good, family friendly documentary series with our love of dogs at it’s core. In each episode, Joel meets an Australian in need of unconditional love from a dog, then works with canine behaviourist Laura Vissaritis to rescue a suitable unwanted dog on death row, guiding them with behavioural modifications, before introducing them both and transforming two lives at once. The series will confront head on the culture of dog ownership – good and bad – that has developed in Australia and hold up a mirror to us all, forcing us to consider how our lives intersect with our dogs and how we shape each other’s worlds. An Artemis production. Financed with the assistance of ABC and Screenwest. Series Producer Hannah Pocock. Executive Producers Celia Tait and Nia Pericles. ABC Executive Producer Leo Faber.

Ningaloo Nyinggulu *
Celebrated author Tim Winton takes us on a lyrical and passionate exploration of Ningaloo, on Australia’s North West Cape – a haven for unique and endangered species and one of the last pristine suite of ecosystems on the planet. A remote and ‘living ark’ of biodiversity where the forces of nature are still the most powerful shaping influence. Ningaloo has been a long-time inspiration for Tim’s life and his work, and on this very personal journey he seeks to learn more about how this unique place came to be, how its local and global connections combine to create such a rare island of biodiversity as well as what such a place might tell us about our future. For Tim, it’s a place that enriches humanity – and his exploration of it will astonish, inspire, and delight. An Artemis Media Production in association with Matter of Factual with major production funding from Screenwest, Lotterywest and the Western Australia Screen Fund in association with Screen Australia. Financed with support from the ABC and Love Nature. Writer Tim Winton. Director/Co-producer/Co-writer Peter Rees. Line Producer Karen Williams. Executive Producer Celia Tait. ABC Manager, Documentaries Stephen Oliver.

Platypus Guardian
Pete Walsh is a Hobart local who enjoys the outdoor life. That life, however, is turned upside down when his health takes a turn for the worse. As he contemplates his future Pete finds solace along the banks of the picturesque Hobart rivulet. Here Pete ‘meets’ a platypus he names Zoom, after the way she seems to zoom over to him whenever he sits quietly by the water. Pete helps Zoom untangle from a plastic band. For Pete the convergence of his medical condition and his encounters with this cheeky female platypus, leads to an epiphany. Suddenly he is overwhelmed with a profound inspiration to give back, to save what urban habitat the platypuses have left and ultimately save them too. A WildBear Entertainment Production. Executive Producer: Chadden Hunter, Director/Producer: Nick Hayward, Producer: Fraser Johnston. ABC Executive Producer: Leo Faber.

Whiteley on Trial *
Whiteley on Trial (In Films) interrogates the biggest case of alleged art fraud in Australian history. When Melbourne dealer Peter Gant and conservator Aman Siddique find themselves accused of forging and selling three paintings as authentic works of modern art royal Brett Whiteley, the pair are convicted by a jury in what at first appears to be an open and shut case. But with the judge himself rendering the verdict ‘unsafe,’ the conviction is quickly overturned on appeal, leaving art observers in disbelief. By interviewing key players in the trial and with access to original case materials, this two-part series follows the captivating twists and turns of a monumental saga, asking what price our cultural heritage paid in the process. An In Films production for the ABC, developed with support from the Screen NSW Slate Development Fund with production investment from Screen NSW and financed with support from the ABC. Director Yaara Bou Melhem. Producer Ivan O’Mahoney. Associate Producer Georgia Quinn. Executive Producers: Ivan O’Mahoney & Nial Fulton. ABC Executive Kalita Corrigan.


Sydney WorldPride
WorldPride is a global Pride celebration and Sydney will host the celebrations in 2023, marking the first time a city in the southern hemisphere has been chosen. The ABC is proud to be the broadcast partner for the exciting lineup of once-in-a-lifetime events. We’re set to bring audiences all the loudest, proudest and most important discussions around LGBTQIA+ rights and issues both here in Australia, South East Asia and the rest of the world. Expect a huge two weeks of celebration, important conversations, party and protest. An ABC Production. Manager Events & Content Partnerships Janet Gaeta. Senior Producer, Events & Content Partnerships Rebecca Annetts.

JC: “This is going to be a real highlight for Australia. World Pride is the first time in the southern hemisphere, and it will be two weeks of events. So there’ll be further announcements with Mardi Gras as one of the key events.”

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
Watch the live broadcast of the 45th annual Mardi Gras parade, exclusive on the ABC. As a part of Sydney WorldPride, the parade is back on Oxford Street bigger and better than ever. With 240 floats and the biggest international presence the parade has ever seen, the ABC will deliver full coverage of many crowd favourites plus heaps of new and exciting float participants. The parade will hit the streets and screens on Saturday, February 25. An ABC Production. Manager Events & Content Partnerships Janet Gaeta. Executive Producer, Events Nikita Agzarian.

From Cook to convicts to the ANZACS – most of us who’ve sat through primary school think we kinda know Australian history. But there’s another, hidden history – one of gay diggers, lesbian convict gangs, trans entrepreneurs and cross-dressing bushrangers. Heck, Colonial Australia was essentially founded on homophobia. In 1787, Captain Arthur Phillip wrote that in the new colony “there are two crimes that would merit the sentence of death; murder and sodomy.” Criminalised and pathologised, living with the constant threat of persecution and worse, Queers have long known it makes sense to stay out of the spotlight. And consequently, LGBTQI+ histories have stayed hidden. This means that for Queer people, attempting to find our predecessors is a tricky process. Our stories exist in the margins, and we have to read between the lines of the official texts to find evidence of our existence. Queerstralia, a landmark documentary series hosted by award-winning comedian Zoë Coombs Marr, sets out to redress this imbalance. It will wipe away the straightwashing and look into the untold and frankly FASCINATING Queer history of Australia. So trim your nails and roll up your sleeves, because we’re going far deeper than sequins and Priscilla. A Guesswork Television production presented by Screen Australia and the ABC in association with VicScreen. Principal Production Funding from Screen Australia. Produced with the assistance of VicScreen. Created, written and hosted by Zoë Coombs-Marr. Series Producer Plum Stubbings, Executive Producer Jon Casimir. ABC Manager Factual Julie Hanna.

JC: “It’s going to be a landmark documentary series, three parts with the fascinating queer history of Australia, and it’s one of those projects that you think ‘Why hasn’t this been done before?’ Zoe will be be presenting this in her own in inimitable style.  It’s a really revealing entertaining, series of interviews… lots of archives.”



The Newsreader
The Newsreader season two travels from election night 1987, through the shocks of the Hoddle Street shootings and the Stock Market Crash, the complexity of the heroin crisis, towards the protest and pageantry of the 1988 Bicentenary. As a nation grapples with its identity, its past and future, Helen (Anna Torv) and Dale (Sam Reid) reach a crossroads, and must settle on who they want to be, to each other, and to the world. A Werner Films Production for the ABC. Major production investment from the ABC and financed with support from VicScreen. Worldwide distribution is managed by Entertainment One (eOne). Created by Michael Lucas. Directed by Emma Freeman. Produced by Lucas and Joanna Werner. Executive Producers Werner, Stuart Menzies and Emma Freeman. ABC Executive Producers Brett Sleigh and Sally Riley.

JC: “Set in the late 80s it has a great cast as you know, great writing, great production team. The Newsreader did so well for us so we’re so excited about having series two and it will not disappoint viewers. Series Two is, in my view, stronger than series one. It’s just going to be a ride!”

Comedy & Entertainment

Set inside the offices of the “Nation Building Authority”, a federalgovernment organisation responsible for overseeing major infrastructure projects, Utopia explores that moment when bureaucracy and grand dreams collide. It’s a tribute to those political leaders who have somehow managed to take a long-term vision and use it for short-term gain. A Working Dog Production, in association with ABC TV. Written and produced by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch. Executive Producer Michael Hirsh. Original Casting Jane Kennedy. Directed by Rob Sitch. ABC Commissioning Editor Brett Sleigh.

JC: “All the cast are back! Utopia‘s back! The Nation Building Authority is back.! We’re very excited to have this on our slate for 2023.”

Factual & Cultural

Back in Time for the Corner Shop *
Back in Time for the Corner Shop looks at how Australian society has changed through the lens of the corner shop. Annabel Crabb will once again be on hand to help Carol and Peter Ferrone, and their children Julian, Sienna and Olivia, learn the highs and lows of being shopkeepers through 150 years of Australian history. The Australian corner shop was an institution for millions of Australians. More than a simple shop, it was the centre point of a neighbourhood, supplying essential daily needs and tasty treats. Over the decades the role of the corner shop has evolved from a community hub and the main provider of groceries to the grab and go chain stores we know today. And the Ferrone’s will experience it all, starting in an 1850s shop, all the way to the 1990s. Produced by Warner Bros. International Television Production for the ABC. Warner Bros. Head of Entertainment Caroline Swift. Warner Bros. Supervising Executive Producer Nicole Rogers. Executive Producer Clare Bath. ABC Factual Manager Julie Hanna, ABC Executive Producer Madeleine Hawcroft.

Designing a Legacy
In Designing A Legacy (S2), comedian and architecture tragic Tim Ross travels around Australia to see buildings and meet people that help reveal a new story of what it means to be Australian, hidden in the architecture around us. If buildings shape our lives, he asks, can the story of what it means to be Australian be told through our buildings? And if so, is this the story we expect? From stunning private homes to schools and surf clubs, motels and mosques, Tim shows us some structures that reveal a new story of Australia. He explores how well-designed buildings can leave a legacy of respect, for people that use them, for our environment, and for the ancient history of our land. They can create community, forge common identity and offer, in difficult times, much needed visions for our future. A SAM Content and Modernister Films production in association with ABC. Principal production funding from Screen Australia and production funding from Screen NSW. Writer/host/Executive Producer Tim Ross. Producer Aline Jacques. Executive Producer Sally Aitken. Co-writer/Director Chris Eley. ABC Executive Producer Madeleine Hawcroft.

Kitchen Cabinet
Kitchen Cabinet is back! In 2023, Annabel Crabb will be cooking and eating with some of the new Parliament’s most fascinating and powerful figures, hailing from across the political spectrum. The premise of the show is simple. Annabel visits the home of a prominent politician; they cook their favourite meal and Annabel brings dessert. Along the way, they have the kinds of conversations that are never ordinarily possible in the frenetic pace of the daily news cycle. What makes these humans choose politics? What would they give anything to defend? How are they dicing onions? It’s amazing what you can cover in a half hour of Kitchen Cabinet, which in its first six series elicited tears, laughter and confidences out of politicians from the Lodge to the backbench. With a whole new crop of politicians in the parliament since the last series in 2016, it’s time to head back to the kitchen. Kitchen Cabinet is an ABC Production. Writer/Presenter: Annabel Crabb, Executive Producer: Madeleine Hawcroft, Director: Stamatia Maroupas.

Take 5 with Zan Rowe
You can learn a lot about someone from their mixtape. What if you asked extraordinary people to share 5 songs that made them who they are today? Take 5 with Zan Rowe is back by popular demand for a second series! What began as a segment on Zan’s much loved radio show 15 years ago, evolved into the award-winning podcast and a hit 5-part ABC TV series. Through their song choices each guest takes us deep into the moments that shaped them. The results are intimate, revelation fuelled conversations that cast the people you know in a whole new light.. In 2023 Let’s Take Five! An ABC Production. Series Producer Josh Schmidt, Executive Producer Nikita Agzarian, Double J Content Director Ryan Egan, Executive Producer Arts Kalita Corrigan

The ABC Of
Returning in 2023, The ABC Of is an interview series that brings prominent Australians face to face with their earlier selves. Each episode is built around a one-on-one conversation with host Davd Wenham, with questions inspired by the content of the video clips, all of which are drawn from the vast ABC archives. Before they sit down, the guests are unaware of the clips that have been chosen. And these video memories often travel past the choices you’d expect, the obvious markers of the guest’s CV, wending their way down delightful and surprising paths to footage that has not seen the light of day for decades. Steering each interview is David Wenham, a globally successful film and TV actor whose own ABC career dates back to early 1990s programs such as Simone De Beauvoir’s Babies, Come In Spinner, Police Rescue and G.P. as well as more recent series The Code and Les Norton. And no, we are not forgetting his turn as Diver Dan in SeaChange. At its core, The ABC Of is about how we change and how the world changes around us. It’s who we were and who we’ve become. It’s time travel without the cost and without the jet lag. A Guesswork Television Production in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Executive Producers: Jon Casimir and Jo Long. ABC Commissioning Editor Julie Hanna

War on Waste
In War on Waste (S3) we’ll put the critical issue of waste back on the agenda and highlight the connection between waste and climate change. At the helm, passionate planet advocate and prankster Craig Reucassel will look at the mindset change we need to fix the problems. He’ll champion our waste heroes and hold the villains to account, and set new challenges for corporations, councils and communities. Alongside new large scale public installations to show the shocking impact of our consumer habits. the series will conscript entire communities as part of a national plastic audit to vividly highlight the problems lurking in our own homes. A Lune Media production for ABC. Major production investment from the ABC and Screen Australia. Financed with support from Screen NSW. Series Producers Jodi Boylan, David Galloway and Leonie Lowe. ABC Manager, Documentaries Stephen Oliver


Art Works
Back Roads
Gardening Australia
Gruen S15
Hard Quiz S8
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Weekly with Charlie Pickering S9


Australian Story
Popular ABC host Leigh Sales returns to your screens in 2023 to join the Australian Story team as its new presenter. For only the second time in the program’s 26-year history, Leigh will follow in the footsteps of the late Caroline Jones as anchor to tell compelling stories about real people that illuminate, entertain and inspire. Australian Story returns in 2023 on February 27. An ABC NEWS production. Executive Producers: Caitlin Shea and Rebecca Latham.

China Tonight
Foreign Correspondent
Four Corners
India Now!
Media Watch
News Breakfast
Planet America
The Drum


Australian of the Year
Australia Day Live Concert
New Year’s Eve Celebrations


(Some shows are TBA):

Spicks & Specks
You Can’t Ask That
Sammy J
Old People’s Home for Teenagers
Mystery Road: Origin
Summer Love
Mad as Hell (concluded in 2022)
Stories from Oz *
Folau *
Question Everything
Tomorrow Tonight
Win the Week
Movin’ to the Country

* previously announced for 2022

A separate post will follow with ABC Children’s titles.

38 Responses

  1. The Newsreader was fantastic viewing especially since I had lived through the era and remember alot of those real life stories that were basis for each episode. Apart from the acting, the production values were top-notch and definitely felt as though it took me back to the time, the music in particular was really atmospheric. Really looking forward another season and hope they can keep up the standard.

  2. Gosh, Mother and Son. Why reboot rather than develop something new?

    Excellent writing but, more importantly a very good actor (McDonald) and a brilliant actress (Cracknell) made those scripts soar.

    Too late to stop it I guess?

    1. A new twist on an old classic perhaps and maybe some younger people watching? Don’t forget the original run finished nearly 20 years ago, so maybe alot of people in 35+ demo had not seen it. Luv Denise Scott though so I’m probably a bit biased & will give it a go.

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