The Seven Network has used this morning’s Upfronts to unveil its content plans for 2019.
Four new local dramas, including the next offering from creator Bevan Lee; two supersized reality hits; a female spinoff to one of the year’s most heart-warming hits and the landmark 10th season of one of Australia’s biggest shows are just some of the programs for the coming 12 months.
Seven’s director of network programming, Angus Ross, said: “After a close win last year, we promised to up our game in 2018, and the team has delivered in spades. We’ve broken records and dominated the ratings throughout the year.
“In fact, in every month we have never dropped below a 39 per cent share, while our competitors have never been above 39 per cent.
“What’s particularly pleasing is that this success is down to the strength and depth of our programming across the board. From 6am to midnight, we have the strongest spine of ratings winners, bar none.
“And with the AFL and Cricket locked up until 2022, Seven can guarantee those mass audiences, and certainty for our advertisers, for years to come.”
NEW Aussie SHOWS
Between Two Worlds
From Australia’s most prolific creator/writer Bevan Lee (Packed to the Rafters, A Place To Call Home, All Saints, Winners & Losers, Always Greener) comes an intense, high concept contemporary drama series about two disparate and disconnected worlds, thrown together by death and a sacrifice in one and the chance for new life in the other. Bold, daring, emotionally gripping, fast-paced and unpredictable, Between Two Worlds will push the boundaries of popular commercial drama in Australia. Between Two Worlds is a Seven Studios production.
Secret Bridesmaid’s Business
The lives of three friends are inextricably changed when one of them unwittingly invites a malevolent stranger into their world. A tangle of lies and laughter collides with a stalker’s chilling obsession in this contemporary adaptation of Elizabeth Coleman’s smash hit play. A celebration of female friendship reimagined as a high stakes thriller, Secret Bridesmaid’s Business will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Secret Bridesmaid’s Business is a Seven Studios production.
Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Series
Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted), Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door, Deadline Gallipoli) and Catherine McClements (Wentworth) headline this spin-off of one of Australia’s most loved and successful series. Set in swinging ’60s Melbourne, Hakewill portrays the gorgeously reckless Peregrine Fisher who inherits a windfall when the famous aunt she never knew, Phryne Fisher, goes missing over the highlands of New Guinea. Detective James Steed (Jackson) is a smart, ambitious cop constantly hamstrung by the rigid leadership of his immoral boss but respectful of the hierarchy. Instantly attracted to Peregrine, he’s dazzled by her audacity and often drawn into her mad plans. With a mind like a steel trap, and ex-member of WW2 Special Forces, Birdie (McClements) is the ‘M’ of The Adventuresses’ operation and club president. A tough woman of high expectations, she recognises the ’60s are changing and they need new blood – but having Peregrine under her wing is also a way of staying connected to the old friend she misses desperately. Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Series is produced by Every Cloud Productions with the assistance of Screen Australia and Film Victoria for Channel Seven.
The Super Switch
Australia’s most daring social experiment has gotten a whole lot bigger! Based on Seven’s controversial series Seven Year Switch, six couples will put their relationships to the ultimate test in The Super Switch. At a crossroads in their relationships, these brave couples will say goodbye to their loved ones to live in an experimental relationship with a total stranger. They will be paired with a like-minded person who will hold up a mirror to their own behaviour and help them answer the question – is the grass greener on the other side? This year, the social experiment has been supersized with all the couples split into two mansions, transforming the experiment into a shared experience. With three experimental couples living in each mansion, new dynamics, relationships, questions and answers will help all our couples decide if their real partner is in fact the one. The Super Switch is a Seven Studios production.
The mother of all social experiments is getting a facelift! Two women from two very different families swap their homes and lives for two weeks. But in this brand new reboot, the drama is intensified – with visits from the mothers- in-law and bombshells being dropped, these families are going to get a lot more than they bargained for. Wife Swap is a Screentime production for Channel Seven.
From the creator of The Bachelor comes the new sensation in dating shows. Each episode, 10 eligible daters compete in four pageant style rounds to win the heart of a mystery suitor or suitress whose identity is concealed from them. When the winner finally gets to meet their concealed suitor, it comes with a romantic proposal. Big and bold, The Proposal is a Warner Bros production for Channel Seven.
A wedding is the most important day of a couple’s life. But for some, an ordinary celebration just won’t do. They want the extraordinary. Extreme locations, extreme themes, extreme expenses – our cameras will be there from the initial planning stages through to the big day. Extreme Weddings is a Seven Studios production.
Inside ‘The G’
For the first time ever, Inside ‘The G’ takes viewers behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest and busiest stadiums – the MCG. 100,000 capacity, 2500 staff, 165 years of history. The MCG is the place of our greatest national sporting memories, from Bradman to Warney to the greatest moments in AFL history. With unprecedented access to the cathedral of Australian sport, Inside ‘The G’ will tell the stories of the projects, personalities and passions that bring this iconic stadium to life. From feeding the crowds to keeping them safe, every event offers a new set of challenges. Inside ‘The G’ is a CJZ production for Channel Seven.
New overseas dramas
Manhunt is a gripping three-part mini-series based on the true story of a murder investigation that kept the people of Britain on the edge their seats – and defined a detective’s career. Starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as DCI Colin Sutton, the story begins in August 2004 when a young woman’s body is found. Sutton is appointed senior investigating officer but initially struggles: there’s no forensics, motive or witnesses. Painstaking detective work finally delivers a suspect – Levi Bellfield, but now the hunt is on for enough evidence to arrest him and make sure he’s found guilty at trial. Manhunt follows the compelling story of how DCI Sutton charged one of Britain’s most notorious killers with two murders, as well as an attempted murder, whilst also impelling Surrey police to consider Bellfield as prime suspect in the high-profile murder of Milly Dowler.
Two women, one truth. From the makers of Fleabag and Liar comes this four-part psychological thriller about university professor Leah (Katherine Kelly, The Night Manager, Strike Back) who starts a dangerous relationship with her student Rose (Molly Windsor, Three Girls). What begins as a seemingly open and shut case of academic deception, quickly spirals out of control, ending in fatal consequences, and triggering a devastating sequence of events that threaten to engulf them both. With two fiercely intelligent minds unwilling to back down, Cheat will keep audiences guessing from the start, exploring just how far we’re prepared to stand up for what we believe, and at what cost. The gripping drama is created by screenwriting newcomer Gaby Hull and produced by award-winning indie . Tom Goodman-Hill (Humans, Mr Selfridge), Lorraine Ashbourne (Unforgotten, Silent Witness), Peter Firth (Spooks, Victoria) and Adrian Edmondson (Bancroft, The Young Ones) also star.
BAFTA winner Sheridan Smith stars in this moving and funny story of a cleaning lady who struggles to maintain her life as a devoted mother after becoming addicted to online gambling. Office cleaner Sam is one of an invisible army who work every night in the gleaming buildings of London’s financial centre. She dreams of a better life but struggling with an online gambling addiction and spiralling debts, Sam is going under. Until one night, hidden in plain sight, she overhears an illegal trade being made. This lucrative stock market information, if used correctly, could be the break she desperately needs. Armed with a copy of Trading for Dummies and her gambler’s nerve, Sam has everything and nothing to lose – but how far is she willing to go to turn her fortunes around?
Hatton Garden is based on the audacious jewellery and cash burglary at the heart of London’s diamond district, executed by an elderly gang of career criminals in April 2015. The four-part drama tells the inside story of how the men pulled off the heist which was considered in a class of its own in terms of scale and ambition, and the extraordinary level of planning, preparation and organisation required to penetrate the vault of the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Company. Produced and co-written by Jeff Pope (Little Boy Blue) and Terry Winsor (Hot Money, Danielle Cable: Eyewitness, Essex Boys) for ITV Studios, the series sheds light on how the gang meticulously planned the raid, the tensions amongst the group, the loss of livelihoods suffered by the box holders and the complex police operation that captured the gang. Timothy Spall OBE, Kenneth Cranham and Brian F. O’Byrne star.
Miss Scarlet and the Duke
Set in the same 1880s London society that gave rise to Jack the Ripper, this British detective drama features a fearless, independent heroine played by Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown). With her inquisitive mind, Miss Scarlet has always been more interested in running her late father’s detective agency than behaving like a proper lady. But nothing has prepared her for the dangers she is about to face as a woman in the murder investigation trade. The six-part drama is produced by Element 8 Entertainment.
Written by award winning writer and playwright Daragh Carville (Being Human, The Smoke, Cherrybomb), The Bay is set in the unique coastal town of Morecambe Bay. When Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong is assigned to a missing persons investigation in Morecambe Bay, at first it seems like any other – tragic, but all too familiar. As a police Family Liaison Officer, she’s trained never to get emotionally involved. Her job is to support families during the worst time of their lives whilst also being the eyes and ears of the police investigation; a cuckoo in the nest. But there’s something very different about this particular case. With horror Lisa realises she’s got a personal connection with this frightened family; one that could compromise her and the investigation. As she grapples to get justice for the grieving family, Lisa discovers it could come at the cost of her own. The six-part contemporary drama is executive produced by Catherine Oldfield, Tall Story Pictures (Trauma, Bancroft, Tutankhamun).
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Danny Strong (Empire) partners with David Elliot (Four Brothers) to tell the emotional story of one woman’s fight for the innocence of others, as well as her own. Proven Innocent follows an underdog criminal defence firm led by Madeline Scott (Rachelle Lefevre, Under the Dome, A Gifted Man), a fierce and uncompromising lawyer with a hunger for justice. There is no one who understands the power of setting an innocent person free more than Madeline. At age 18, she was wrongfully convicted, along with her brother in a sensational murder case that made her an infamous media obsession, a household name and a national cause célèbre. While a hero and a victim to some, Madeline’s bold and bullish tactics earn her a number of enemies – especially Gore Bellows (Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer, Frasier, Cheers, Boss), the prosecutor who initially put her away and still believes in her guilt. Despite Bellows’ ceaseless quest to see her behind bars again, Madeline will continue to defend others, even as she fights to maintain her innocence and searches for the real killer in her own case. Proven Innocent is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, in association with Danny Strong Productions. Russell Hornsby (Seven Seconds, Grimm), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) and Nikki M. James (BrainDead, The Good Wife, The Book of Mormon) also star.
Based on author Justin Cronin’s best-selling trilogy of the same name, The Passage is an epic, character-driven thriller written by Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights). Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Ridley Scott (The Martian, Gladiator) and writer/director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield),The Passage focuses on Project NOAH, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus that could lead to the cure for all disease, but also carries the potential to wipe out the human race. When a young girl, Amy (Saniyya Sidney, Fences, Hidden Figures), is chosen to be a test subject, Federal Agent Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Pitch) is the man who is tasked with bringing her to Project NOAH. Ultimately, however, Wolgast becomes her surrogate father, trying to protect her at any cost. The series also stars Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Caroline Chikezie (The Shannara Chronicles), Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire, Rescue Me), Jamie McShane (Bloodline, Sons of Anarchy), Brianne Howey (The Exorcist), McKinley Belcher III (Ozark) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage). The Passage is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
The spine of Seven’s schedule in 2019 will be live and free coverage of Australia’s number one winter and summer sports, plus Seven News, Sunrise, The Morning Show, The Chase Australia, Home and Away, Better Homes and Gardens, and The Good Doctor.
Also returning are:
My Kitchen Rules
Australia’s number one cooking show is back with its 10th anniversary season. This landmark season of My Kitchen Rules will test teams like never before with new challenges, new locations, new faces and new rewards, while a record number of perfect scores keeps every contender on their toes. And, in a series first, can perfect strangers team up to win MKR? Judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans are joined by Colin Fassnidge as passionate home cooks from all over Australia compete for $250,000 and the title of MKR champions for 2019. MKR is a Seven Studios production.
Whole house reveals will be the best yet when Jamie Durie joins judges Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Wendy Moore and host Johanna Griggs for the new season of House Rules. With massive challenges and a surprise transformation of warehouse proportions, the competition is tougher than ever but every team ends up with the ultimate reward – a complete transformation of their own home. Australia’s much-loved renovation show is a Seven Studios production.
Interview with Andrew Denton
After five years away from our screens, Andrew Denton returned to Seven in 2018, bringing his unique interviewing style to a series of surprising and inspiring conversations. Among many highlights, the first series included the powerful story of Magda Szubanski, the controversially frank Guy Pearce, the extraordinary journey of kidnap survivor Amanda Lindhout, and a glimpse into the complex inner life of Rebecca Sharrock, a woman who can remember every day of her life. In 2019, Interview with Andrew Denton will be back with a whole new crop of amazing humans. The series is produced by Legacy Media for Channel Seven.
Celebrating its 11th season in 2019, Sunday Night has stamped its position as the country’s premier investigative news and public affairs program, committed to delivering landmark investigations and exclusive reports and interviews that matter most to Australians. Host and senior correspondent Melissa Doyle leads a team of Australia’s finest reporters, including Matt Doran, Steve Pennells, Denham Hitchcock, Angela Cox and Alex Cullen.
The Front Bar
After a hugely successful 2018, Mick Molloy, Sam Pang and Andy Maher will be back with their funny and irreverent take on all things AFL. And, after the footy season is over, The Front Bar team just might take a humorous look at some new territory further afield… all from the comfort of their bar stools.The Front Bar is produced by Front Bar Entertainment for Channel Seven.
We’re back for another fun-filled adventure across the country to find Australia’s best instant hotel! From a unique desert retreat to a lush tropical hideaway, this season’s teams will take the ride of their life as they travel the country with some quirky companions, visit some truly stunning locations and compete for a grand prize that will change our winning home hotelier’s lives. Instant Hotel is a Seven Studios production.
Australia’s favourite fly-on-the-wall dating show returns with more single guys and gals hoping to meet their dream partner on a blind date. They’ve been matched on their likes and dislikes. Some will sizzle. Some will crash and burn. At the end of the night, they must decide… will they go on a second date? First Dates is a Warner Bros. International Television Australia production for Channel Seven.
Season 2 welcomes Australia and New Zealand’s fittest, fastest teams of athletes back into the Spartan arena where no one triumphs alone. In front of a live audience, hosts Edwina Bartholomew and Hamish McLachlan, along with sideline reporter Wendell Sailor, guide us through each episode’s triumphs and tragedies as teams of three battle the course in a race for one of 10 places in the grand final, where one team will be crowned champions and win $150,000. Australian Spartan is a Eureka/Matchbox Pictures production for Channel Seven.
Zumbo’s Just Desserts
Seven has teamed up with US streaming giant Netflix to bring back Zumbo’s Just Desserts, an original Seven Studios concept from the makers of My Kitchen Rules. Australia’s celebrated Adriano Zumbo and acclaimed British chef Rachel Khoo reprise their roles as esteemed judges of this ultimate dessert makers competition.
International programs returning with new and continuing seasons include 9-1-1, Criminal Minds, Modern Family, The Resident, Grey’s Anatomy, The Simpsons, American Dad, and Family Guy.
Seven will also continue to deliver Australian factual programming with new episodes of Border Patrol, Border Security, Highway Patrol, Motorcycle Cops, and Surveillance Oz to air in 2019.