Seven Upfronts 2018: It’s Sport, More Sport, Andrew Denton (Oh, And Delta As Olivia Newton John!)

Seven Upfronts 2018: It’s Sport, More Sport, Andrew Denton (Oh, And Delta As Olivia Newton John!)
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Channel Seven has used its annual upfronts in Melbourne on Friday (or, Allfronts as it preferred to call them) to unveil a host of new programming for 2018, but with sport – namely the AFL, the Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games – set to be its biggest drawcard for advertisers next year.

The company today unveiled key elements of a strong slate of new programmes that builds on the network’s leadership across primetime. And beyond Seven’s commitment to broadcast television, the company also released plans for its further development in the delivery of its market-leading content to all Australians across the Screens of Seven.

Commenting, Tim Worner (main photo), Seven’s CEO said: “We are delivering compelling content wherever and whenever our audience wants it. We will have more events – live across sports and our entertainment programming. We are growing the content we originate and produce. And, we are committed to ensuring that in 2018, more Australians will watch Seven than anyone else.”

Kurt Burnette, Seven’s chief revenue officer, said: “Our business is about securing and creating the biggest audiences and delivering those audiences across every screen to consumers and advertisers through a seamless and easy connection. 2018 is the culmination of a long-term and continuous strategic plan on creating the optimum combination of content, technology and innovation to continue to deliver results for our partners.”

Seven moves into 2018 with a long-term partnership with the Australian Football League and a portfolio of major sports events including the AFL Grand Final, the Melbourne Cup, the Rugby League World Cup, the Australian Open, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018 and the XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April 2018. Seven is also the network of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020.

New on Seven in 2018

Seven today confirmed a number of new programmes that will underpin the network’s commitment to Australian programming, including the return of Australia’s shortest (some would say greatest) interviewer to television in Interview with Andrew Denton; the highly anticipated mini-series Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted To You, starring Delta Goodrem as the much loved Aussie icon; crime drama Australian Gangster; and true crime series Undercurrent.

Seven will also be the new home for hit Australian drama, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, while entrepreneur Mark Bouris transforms small businesses in The Mentor.

Seven’s most-watched show – My Kitchen Rules – will again launch Seven’s primetime in 2018. House Rules is confirmed for a new season along with Little Big Shots, Wanted and exclusive to 7plus, Yummy Mummies.

Joining this portfolio will be a number of new programmes including event series Australian Spartan, The First Wives Club and Emergency Call, plus original formats from Seven Studios including Back with the Ex, Dance Boss and The Rich House.

Complementing the schedule of regular series will be more one-off events including The Real Full Monty, where eight Aussie male celebs will dare to bare all for a worthy cause; and, based on his #1 bestseller, Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy.

Angus Ross, Seven’s director of network programming, said: “We are looking forward to the coming twelve months. We have the biggest sports events and we have secured some outstanding new franchises – with more announcements to come. We move into 2018 with The Australian Open, The Olympic Winter Games and a suite of programmes that will drive home our leadership.”

Details of the new programs are as follows:

Murder Uncovered

The multiple award-winning investigative news series Murder Uncovered returns in 2018 for a second season. The breakthrough series was one of the biggest television premieres of the year, with 1.57 million viewers for its opening episode and an average series audience of 1.2 million. Featuring award-winning journalist Michael Usher, chilling new details will be uncovered from never-before-given interviews with eyewitnesses to the crimes, the detectives who investigated, the victims, the prime suspects, and in some cases, even the murderers – in their own words. Murder Uncovered comes from the Seven News Investigates team behind the critically- acclaimed Michael Hutchence and Anita Cobby documentaries, and In Cold Blood… The Chris Lane Story.

INTERVIEW with ANDREW DENTON

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In 2018, Andrew Denton will make his long-awaited return to Seven in a show based mostly on chairs. Australia’s shortest (some would say greatest) interviewer will sit opposite a range of fascinating people and try to find out what makes them tick.

The formula will be simple. Two people, two chairs, one conversation, no gimmicks. Even its title will be simple. Interview. The only complex bit will be the people Andrew talks to – every possible kind of human being and a few impossible ones as well. Topical when it needs to be, timeless whenever it can, INTERVIEW aims to be about light, not heat. In a time when everything seems to be splitting apart, INTERVIEW will seek out what binds us.

There will be talking. There will be listening. There will be laughing, and hopefully the occasional, compelling silence. And if that doesn’t work, there’ll be a bathroom renovation. Possibly some blindfolded dating. And as a last resort, some kind of mystery food challenge (Surprise! It’s an eggplant!).

OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN: HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU

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Delta Goodrem has amassed a multitude of achievements throughout her career to date, and now she will play a role very close to her heart, as she stars as Australian icon Olivia Newton-John in OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU – a two-part celebration which charts the Aussie sweetheart’s brilliant career and astonishing personal life.

Aged just 15, Olivia won a local television talent contest which propelled her to London on her first recording contract. She went on to become Australia’s most successful singer, selling an astounding 100 million albums internationally.

The miniseries follows Olivia’s path to stardom from singing duets with best friend Pat Carroll, to her breakout single ‘I Honestly Love You’ reaching Number 1 in the US and international acclaim in her life-changing role of Sandy in the 1978 global smash-hit movie, Grease. Continued highs in Olivia’s music career and personal life are confronted by a sudden profusion of life challenges, with a cancer diagnosis the biggest trial of her character and determination.

For more than five decades, Olivia has been “the one that we want”. This moving and uplifting tribute to her life, her loves, her family, her fight and her iconic songs, films and fashion will see Australians of all generations fall in love with Livvy all over again.

AUSTRALIAN SPARTAN

In the most intense obstacle course on the planet, no one triumphs alone! This is AUSTRALIAN SPARTAN – a test of strength, speed, agility and endurance which only a truly unified team can conquer.

Inspired by the world-wide fitness phenomenon ‘Spartan Race’, this is the world’s most demanding physical obstacle course. Teams of three must join forces to race across a specially designed Spartan course engineered to challenge their determination, endurance and will. The extreme obstacles escalate to truly test the most outstanding athletes in the country. In the end, only one team will rise to become the ultimate Australian Spartans.

THE MENTOR

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Australian entrepreneur, Mark Bouris, is taking his knowledge to the streets in THE MENTOR, turning around small businesses on the brink of collapse.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of the country employing sixty percent of the Australian population. Mark will be delving deep into the backbone of the nation as he takes apart these businesses and digs deep into the lives of the owners helping them have a real shot at financial and personal success. Growing up in Punchbowl in Sydney’s western suburbs, Mark knows how hard work and commitment can be life-changing. THE MENTOR is all about making success happen.

THE RICH HOUSE

What if every luxury you’d ever dreamt of was right at your fingertips? How hard would you fight to keep it? Welcome to THE RICH HOUSE – a fun, family-friendly competition series giving everyday Australians the chance to live the life of the super rich!

Inside THE RICH HOUSE is an embarrassment of riches… a Lotto winner’s lifestyle, an unimaginable dream, and 12 lucky Aussies are about to be given the chance to move in, live it large and win big. But making it to THE RICH HOUSE takes hard work. These Aussies must face a series of spectacular challenges to get there. Succeed and the rewards are out of this world. Fail and life will lose all luxury.

DANCE BOSS

Forget Jenny from the block… wait ‘til you see how Jenny from Accounts moves!

It’s time to “get down” to business with DANCE BOSS – a brand-new TV dance competition where the best workplace crews battle it out to win a cash prize of $100,000.

Inspired by viral videos shared millions of times around the world, this new shiny floor format sees 10 Australian workplaces put forward their best five amateur dancers. These dance troupes are then put through their paces by a world-famous choreographer.

In each episode, the dazzlingly costumed crews face off in spectacularly staged dance battles. They are judged and scored by three big name celebrities who will base their scores on entertainment factor alone. Eventually 10 will be whittled down to one winning troupe who will be crowned “Dance Boss Australia”!

THE DOCTOR BLAKE MYSTERIES

Doctor Blake is back.

It’s 1963 and Australia sits on the cusp of a brave new world… a world awash with murder, mystery and mayhem. JFK has just been assassinated and the universe may never be the same again. Blake and Jean face greater challenges than they could ever have imagined. Haunted houses, flying saucers, deadly dentists, long lost daughters and much, much more. They’re challenges the two of them will face together. Buckle up – it’s going to be a hell of ride.

In 2018, Seven becomes the new home of number one Australian drama, THE DOCTOR BLAKE MYSTERIES – returning much-loved stars Craig McLachlan (Blake) and Nadine Garner (Jean) to our screens, as well as other familiar faces and some new players.

AUSTRALIAN GANGSTER

A wild tale of gangster ambition. The Instagram generation westie underworld collides with Sydney’s glamorous social elite. A world of spray tans, steroids, tatts, laundered drug money and Lamborghinis. All of this and the pursuit of a happy family life. It’s very funny, even amidst all the murders and mayhem.

It’s just the kind of crazy story that Gregor Jordan (Two Hands, Ned Kelly) is the perfect person to tell. New local crime drama, AUSTRALIAN GANGSTER, is a Roadshow Rough Diamond production for Channel

UNDERCURRENT

Sandy Bay, Hobart. January 27, 2009. A55-year-old mother of two Sue Neill-Fraser is woken by a call from the police – her yacht is sinking out in the bay. Sue’s partner Bob Chappell who was sleeping on board has disappeared. The boat has been sabotaged, blood spatters the cabin stairs, a knife lies on the floor… Bob is never seen again – alive or dead. Sue soon becomes a suspect in Bob’s murder investigation. During interviews with detectives she is caught in a string of lies. Seven months later, Detectives arrest Sue charging her with murder. Sue strongly maintains her innocence. While evidence is circumstantial and there is no body, the case against her is strong enough to go to court. After a high-profile murder trial that splits the tight Hobart community, Sue is found guilty. In October 2010 she is sentenced to 26 years in prison. But this case is far from closed… a band of supporters refuse to accept that Sue Neill-Fraser is a killer and they begin their own investigation, much of it filmed as it happens.

In the tradition of The Jinx and Making a Murderer comes UNDERCURRENT – a gripping Australian true crime series; an active unfolding investigation involving underworld sources and the chase for a key piece of physical evidence that could free Sue from prison, and finally unlock the shocking true story of what happened to Bob Chappell that night.

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB

They’ve all walked down the aisle before… but for each of them, their first marriage ended in heartbreak. Now back on the dating scene they all have a lot to learn.

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB tracks the dramatic, emotional and romantic transformation of women searching for their second chance at love.

Along the way they’ll be coached by the world’s #1 dating expert, Matthew Hussey, as he offers practical advice and insights into what makes men tick, how to find love and how to keep it. He will help them hone their dating skills, build their confidence and find connections with single men.

BACK WITH THE EX

Is the one that got away your true love? BACK WITH THE EX reunites four singles with an ex they’ve never been able to forget. They now have the chance to find out if they were the right one for them after all.

These couples will relight the spark on a romantic honeymoon. Then, they’ll come crashing back to reality when they move in to each other’s homes… and their friends and family get to have a say. They’ll confess their deepest darkest secrets to each other and their trust will be put to the test.

In an epic finale, the couples will take a once-in-a-lifetime overseas trip to a romantic destination. Here they’ll decide if it’s happily ever after… or if they’ll walk away forever. Will love find a way?

EMERGENCY CALL

EMERGENCY CALL goes behind the scenes at call centres which respond to 000 calls and the call takers who are the first responders to an emergency situation.

Whether it’s a traffic accident, a cardiac arrest, a terrifying call from someone being stalked or the crazy callers who think that 000 should unblock their toilet, EMERGENCY CALL allows the viewer to listen in on the most challenging situations.

THE WALL

Hosted by Axle Whitehead, THE WALL exists for one purpose and one purpose only – to give good people the opportunity to transform their lives. And when there are millions of dollars on the line, they’ll only need one lucky bounce and their futures could change in an instant.

In order to conquer The Wall, players need a mix of brains, bravery and blind luck and even then, there are no guarantees. It’s the ultimate game of risk and reward.

The rules are simple: a pair of teammates must try to beat The Wall by answering general knowledge questions. Answer correctly and the balls turn green and fly down The Wall – wherever they land adds money to the team’s winning total. Get an answer wrong, the balls turn red and the money is deducted from the team’s total. With cash values ranging from one dollar right up to one million dollars, massive amounts of money can be won and lost in seconds. The Wall gives and The Wall takes away.

INSTANT HOTEL

Join host Luke Jacobz and series judge, award-winning designer Juliet Ashworth, as they tap into the world-wide trend of home-owners renting out their properties as holiday accommodation.

INSTANT HOTEL will see homeowners vie for the title of Best Hotel. Personal taste, precious belongings and price point are all open for judgement as teams travel the country and stay in newly created “hotels”.

THE REAL FULL MONTY

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 mega hit film The Full Monty. The film touched the hearts of audiences worldwide as eight ordinary men faced their fears and stripped off for a cause close to their hearts.

Now, in the special television event, THE REAL FULL MONTY, a group of eight Australian male celebrities will strip down in a large-scale performance to raise awareness for testicular and prostate cancer.

In this feel-good documentary we’ll go on the journey with these eight brave celebs – from the awkwardness of the first rehearsal, to the final triumphant show where they rip their G-strings off in front of a packed audience! Who will dare to bare all for a worthy cause?

JIMMY BARNES: WORKING CLASS BOY

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Feature-length documentary WORKING CLASS BOY is the unflinching story of Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes – from childhood survival in the slums of Glasgow to the forlorn immigrant suburbs of Australia, to the day he is asked to join a band and finds his escape with Cold Chisel. Raw and compassionate, this is how a wild cheeky kid from the mean streets of Scotland and South Australia was saved by rock’n’roll… only to have it nearly destroy him.

The film is based on Jimmy’s 2016 memoir Working Class Boy, the biggest selling Australian autobiography of all time and was the winner of the Australian Book Industry Award for 2017 Biography of the Year. In 2016, Jimmy turned his book into a concert – a mix of spoken word and music – selling out hundreds of shows across Australia and New Zealand.

WORKING CLASS BOY, an adaptation of both the book and stage show, goes far beyond the traditional rock doc. It’s a universal, multi-layered story that uses an evocative soundtrack performed by Jimmy to frame a story of defiance, struggle and survival. From his perch today at the top of the music industry, as a devoted husband, father and grandfather he tells the raw, unadulterated and often funny story of the life that shaped him.

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