The Block’s tree change is a lesson: If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but there’s nothing wrong with some new paint.
This season of The Block reveals the reality show stepping away from the city lights and heading rural. The new season premiered on Sunday and saw The Block contestants land in Gisborne, Victoria. It was a calculated risk that has already paid off; Nine’s flagship show reached over 800,000 eyeballs on the first night.
Instead of apartments, the contestants are renovating houses set on 10 acres. The show has officially gone country, and the move has already seen a 27 per cent increase in regional viewers.
Of course, there’s no denying the format shakeup hasn’t changed the original bones of the show. The Block is still the show we all love, but with a slightly different vibe. It seems fitting when you consider that many Australians have moved out of the city after years of lockdowns and pandemic dramas; a tree change is very timely.
Julian Cress, the executive producer of The Block, is thrilled about the upcoming season, “This is our 18th season of the show, and I haven’t been as excited since the first one we did.”
The inspiration for this season stemmed from Cress’s own tree change that saw him pack up the family from the city and head rural for some respite during the pandemic.
He was at his rural property trying to dream up a location for the next season of The Block when he had his lightbulb thought, “why not just do it here?” Cress explained.
Cress’s excitement about the change of setting stems from the fact that it reflects how Australians feel. “So many Australian families have started to think about their lifestyle for their family and are considering if a tree change and a sea change is for them. The show will offer them an opportunity to see it up close,” Cress told B&T.
This season has also really leaned into embracing a more country lifestyle. For instance, this is the first season where Scotty Cam has his own house. It was built so contestants could meet up for dinners, and the house also serves as a place that can inspire contestants.
It brings the contestants together. Usually, contestants work on top of each other, leading to drama and entertainment. Who doesn’t love watching couples feud over a rogue pile of bricks?
But with every couple having 10 acres to themselves, the producers had to find a new way to ensure the contestants were still interacting with each other. This show might be about renovations at its heart, but the drama is still a huge part of the show’s success.
Cress said: “We engineered it, so they came together a lot more. People living in the country tend to gravitate toward each other’s homes and catch up for a beer or a cup of tea. We created Scotty’s house, and that became the meeting place, and contestants would come around for a meal. That meant everyone was able to size up the competition.”
So, did The Block‘s dinner parties descend into Married At First Sight style chaos? Cress laughed that off, “It wasn’t a MAFS dinner party. Our alcohol budget doesn’t extend to that!
“But occasionally, it degenerated into snarky comments when they learnt what each other were doing. But ultimately, it’s a real estate competition, and we are about delivering amazing rooms and less about threesomes.”
Of course, building during a time when there was a general supply chain shortage wasn’t easy, and Cress said: “We weren’t really ready for the incredible supply chain issues. It happened basically at the exact same time that we went into production.
“We have a very fixed deadline to work to, and it was momentously difficult; it was also such an amazing challenge for everyone involved.”
And why does Cress think after 18 seasons, the show still has so much spark, “It is a family show, and that’s the feedback we get.
“Families tell us that this is the only show we can all sit down and watch together, and it’s a combination of seeing the transformation of the property, the incredible ideas the contestants bring to the homes come to life, and then the kids really get off on watching adults act like idiots for three months and being very competitive with each other.”
The Block’s tree change is already resonating with viewers; perhaps that is the biggest lesson to take away. Clever shows evolve with the times whilst also remaining fabulously familiar.
The Avid Collective MD reveals his life pre-adland. As exciting as it is, it's not international playboy spy & Lothario.
SenateSHJ has launched a new digital, data and insights capability designed to help clients tackle the growing complexity of communication challenges. SenateSHJ Digital, Data and Insights (DDI) will combine the firm’s existing Digital and Insights functions to create a Trans-Tasman capability focused on digital communication, and the generation and use of data to improve communication. […]
Creative technology platform Bonzai has announced the launch of BrandStory – a new premium mobile ad format. BrandStory offers triple the ad space and 2.8 times greater time in view than single scroll ad formats, addressing the surging demand from brands worldwide for more real estate to drive real results by seamlessly intertwining awareness, exploration […]
B&T went through the looking glass this morning, with editor-in-chief David Hovenden (above) appearing on Channel 7’s The Morning Show to get the general public involved in our search for Australia’s Greatest Ad. Hovenden chatted with Kylie Gillies and stand-in host Matt Doran about what makes a great ad and showcasing some of our favourites […]
Two Australian-born technology providers have joined forces to bring more power and choice to marketers in Australia and New Zealand with mobile messaging that is more local, cost-effective, and integrated. It’s a partnership that sees two Australian software companies come together to deliver a world-class mobile-first solution for marketers building data-driven, personalised, omnichannel campaigns. While […]
Zitcha and Broadsign have teamed up to integrate the Broadsign out-of-home (OOH) advertising platform with Zitcha’s retail media platform. The collaboration empowers retailers to maximise and monetise in-store digital display networks and enables advertising partners to easily view and book available in-store inventory and review campaign performance alongside the retailer’s other media channels. With the […]
Today, 7-Eleven has announced a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the popular Sydney-based anti-resort wear label Double Rainbouu. Dropping tomorrow, December 1, just in time for summer, this limited-edition capsule will infuse the fashion brand’s rebellious spirit with a distinctly iconic 7-Eleven flavour. The unisex collection features five must-have styles comprising two signature Hawaiian shirts, a peaked cap, a bucket hat […]