Monday, March 28, 2011

Australian TV: Channel Ten's Drama.

Quick column about Australian TV having yet another fail from a screenwriters perspective. Let me direct you to this link just reported by The Australian's Amanda Meade. READ IT FIRST.

Did you read it?
  • Did you feel hollow?
  • Cold?
  • Or did you laugh?
If you answer yes to any of the above, then don't feel bad, as it's kind of warranted. What we're looking at right now is the struggling efforts of Channel Ten to produce ANY kind of original drama. Ok, they do have some drama, Meade is reporting that Ten has Rush and Offspring coming back THIS YEAR for 13 episode runs, each. That's it. The rest of Ten's schedule is filled with fun things like news, news, news, oh and Good News Week and Talkin' Bout' Your Generation. There's other stuff too, but, it's all American broadcast stuff, so it doesn't count in this instance.

To quickly shed light, Australian TV doesn't have the budget to burn on dozens of pilots a year like the US. That's fine. I completely understand the fact that the budget for networks over here is much more of a challenge to conquer compared to the US. If you've been following Deadline (Mainly) the amount of original pilots being ordered by each US network is astronomical this year, because TV right now is rivalling that of big budget movies; people are understanding and identifying with stories told on TV. Liz Lemon notes in an episode of 30 Rock this year, that "we're in a golden age of television," and she's right, the quality of TV at the moment is brilliant, but always overshadowed by somewhat underdeveloped, and frankly, shitty programming.

The quality of Australian TV is actually great. Channel Seven is doing a great job. Channel Nine is harvesting off Underbelly, and that's fine; but Channel Ten if you've got two returning series and no new original programming, where's the risk? I mean you can green light a few projects, actually produce the stand out ones and see how they work! Take a risk! You could reap the rewards - Look at Packed to the Rafters and Winners and Losers. If your original programming doesn't work, scratch it and find new drama, that's how the system works in the US, if the show doesn't work, get rid of it and start anew. Let's do it, Ten show your teeth, you're the little guy walking amongst the giants, Aussies love to see the underdog come through and take top place - make it happen.

Writers - capitalise on this, as awful as it sounds not having the drama to air and watching Ten struggle, this is an OPPORTUNITY for you to seize. Start writing, because there is a window here in the next year or two for you to get your foot in the door and start changing the way Australians watch TV.

Ten, there are millions of screenwriters in Australia right now looking to change the way the industry can work, I'm one of them. If you're lacking any original drama, Ten. Shoot me an email, I've got a couple of spec scripts that could help at least rebuild an image of a network that just likes news and seeing the same comedians every week.


  1. Totally agree with the lack of programming savvy Ten is suddenly showing.

    I mean, come on, George Negus twice in one night? We just got through three hours of news and current affairs a little earlier in the evening.

    Week night viewing needs to give everyone a holiday from their lives, not remind us of how depressing sensationalised world events are.

    A spec fic written by Nick Bleeker? I'd watch that!

  2. Ding ding! Jake has nailed it on the head.

    TV is an escape from the world, it's entertainment, we can't enjoy the news, it's news. The 7PM Project was an attempt at making news more appealing to a younger demo by bringing in funny people, but it's just news with about 30 seconds of comedic commentary!

    Jake - Start writing your script!