ABC future on Old People’s Home, Utopia, War on Waste, ABC Of… and Countdown?

Upfront done, now ABC sets the record straight on several other key shows.

A number of profile ABC shows were not announced as returning at the broadcaster’s recent 2024 Showcase.

It already has second seasons of Bay of Fires and Mother & Son in development, but TV Tonight recently asked Chief Content Officer Chris Oliver-Taylor to clarify the state of play on several more…

Will War on Waste return?

COT: “No decision yet at this stage….but I can see War on Waste coming back the year after, quite easily. We love that show. But probably not for 2024.”

What about Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds / Teenagers? How many ways can you show them interacting?

COT: “That’s the question we’re asking the team at Endemol Shine. It’s fantastic. But what’s the next iteration of that? Is there another version? I think that inter-generational connection is brilliant, but what’s the next version? It could definitely come back, but not (just yet).”

And Back in Time for Dinner / The Corner Shop / Further Back in Time? The family is great but the kids are a lot older now…

COT: “I think that’s more unlikely at this stage. But we’re still working it through. We love that one. It does work very well for us. But there’s a casting challenge that comes with that show.”

If not 2024, could Utopia return in 2025?

COT: “(Producer) Michael Hirsh will tell me when he’s doing that. And I will say ‘Thank you very much.'”

There were rumours about The ABC Of… ending. Where are we at?

COT: “We’ve not made a decision on that one. So again, it’s a fantastic show. Season Two didn’t do as well as Season One, for whatever reason. I think we’re looking at the balance of interviews across our slate. It’s an evergreen show. I think that will definitely come back. It’s just a case of does it comeback in ’24 or ’25?”

COT: “No decision at this point.”

There are some nights becoming very light on first run local content. Fridays for instance. You can’t be happy with UK reruns?

COT: “We’ve rebuilt the entire schedule for next year. There’s not massive change, but there’s enough change to fix some of those points. We’ve locked down a much more solid, consistent offering on Tuesdays, the same for Thursdays. We are looking at what we do on Fridays. I still think there’s a question mark around Australian commissioned crime drama back on Friday nights. That worked, but will it work 5 -10 years later? I don’t know.

“But I think there’s an argument around an audience at home who maybe don’t want sport and want to want to watch original crime drama. So I’m looking at that. It won’t be 2024 but it could be for 2025.

“Drama on a Sunday night is fundamental to us, but you might see some Comedy on a Sunday night next year as well. You will see significant Australian content on Sundays, and a bit more of a consistent offering throughout the week.”

A former ABC Director of Television recently suggested ABC was at risk of being “sidelined” by rising costs and streaming competition. Thoughts?

COT: “I think that there’s a whole lot of truth in there, but I look in the Australian landscape and think all of us finance shows in the same way, with the exception of Netflix and maybe Amazon. So Stan, Paramount, ourselves, we’re all funding it with licence fee and offset and international distribution. It’s all the same model. I think what we’re competing with is not so much the Australian big budget shows -because there’s not that many of them. I don’t Netflix are going to make 50 Australian dramas tomorrow. So I think there’s still going to be a limitation on what they do. We’re still competing with Stranger Things and The Crown. That’s still there. So attention is our competition as opposed to a funding model.”

Marcia Hines recently requested a Countdown revival. Any thoughts on Music TV on ABC?

COT: “We have put our Head of Music Kath Earl onto this. I think there is a place for something around Music. We love music. It works for us. We’ve obviously got huge music brands, Triple J, Double J, you name it, we’ve igot them. How do we somehow work into that? It is Countdown‘s 50th anniversary next year. That’s all I’ll say.”

14 Responses

  1. Came across archival content from Countdown Netherlands. It was the English language version Music Box. It was similar to Countdown Revolution.

    Countdown relies on the stars. Same with Recovery and Channel V Australia shows. The shows have to be there in the first place to promote the stars. Any revival would have a soft start and build up over time. The conditions are dependent. There should also be a focus on mainstream. The Set is limited in terms of genre to Alternative or Indie. There’s more to music than Triple J and Double J. BBC has Radio 1. ABC has no sister, or equivalent. Public broadcasters should cater for all.

    Countdown did hype very well, a marketing tool for artists. If it’s along the lines of Top of the Pops, it could be worth reviving. It costs a bit too. The cost of flying in artists to the UK was why they couldn’t afford it anymore.

  2. “There are some nights becoming very light on first run local content. Fridays for instance. You can’t be happy with UK reruns?”

    But Monday night is 100% Australia – that’s an overall balance of 50-50.

  3. Here is my take on a Countdown revival, while it would be great to support new bands etc Music these days is just too disposable

    Hear me out it’s been 50+ years and we are still listening to Elvis and The Beatles
    Who is around, say in the last 5 years, that we still will be listening to in 50 years time ?

    1. You could argue that we are living through a time even bigger than The Beatles and Elvis put together. Taylor Swift. Those sales records and listening habits will be around in 50 years time.
      I do agree though the landscape of consuming music certainly isn’t on TV anymore. A dedicated show to music these days likely won’t work. Those viewers are on TikTok.

    2. I am inclined to agree…it’s generational now….you can access what you like and the genres you like through VEVO, Spotify, YouTube Music, Soundcloud, Deezer, Apple Music..even Rage..it’s endless…I can’t imagine that a lot of the artists who were on Countdown back in its heyday or even current artists wanting to be on a revival either…there are so many other ways of promoting and getting their music to the public… music has been my interest since the 50s..I’ve followed all genres….music in all its forms never dies it just keeps evolving…last night I watched a documentary on The Doors When you are Strange narrated by Johnny Depp so music is out there for everyone to find.

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