Despite it being only August 17, Ten are looking to the future with the launch this evening of their 2012 lineup. With 2011 filled with noble intentions and noble disasters, along with ignoble staff layoffs, structural changes, and Andrew Bolt, it’s safe to say that this has not been the year that Executives at Ten had expected when they announced the 2011 lineup last year.
It is important to keep in mind that despite this being an announcement of what to expect in 2012, we are talking about FTA television here, meaning that any number of changes are likely to occur between then and now. Previous lineup announcements across each of the FTA networks are littered with shows that never came to be and programming intentions that were never met.
Imported from the US will be the new massive budget sci-fi series Terra Nova. The series looks to be a cross between Lost, Earth 2, and Land of The Lost. While the potential for the series is promising, this has the serious potential to flame out. Also announced is the US drama series Homeland. A “gritty psychological drama starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin… The series centres on the homecoming of a US Marine and the CIA agent who suspects him of plotting a terrorist attack on US soil”. While it sounds and looks promising, Mandy Patinkin has an exceedingly spotty record when it comes to TV. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes another of his one-season wonders.
Surprisingly (to me, at least) is that Ten have picked up The Graham Norton Show to run on a Saturday night. Norton has built up a following locally after getting a run on ABC2, so it’ll be worth seeing how the series is received on a commercial station.
Also getting a run on Ten is ‘New Girl’ – a sitcom starring the ever-so-dreamy Zooey Deschanel, the Bones spin-off “The Finder”, an awkwardly titled police drama “The 2-2”, “The Gifted Man”, and the Rhys Darby helmed comedy “How To Be A Gentleman”.
Coming as no surprise to those who have been taking note of the rumours is the confirmation tonight that Dr Andrew Rochford will be helming a new breakfast show on Ten. Competing against Sunrise and Today, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of skew the series takes to establish a point of difference. Ten were successful with its launch of The Circle and I’d strongly wager that this will take a similar approach. The question in my mind is whether we’ll see changes made to the timeslot for The Circle. Will Ten keep the 9-10am news block between ‘Breakfast’ and The Circle, or will The Circle move forward an hour and compete directly against The Morning Show and Kerri-Anne?
While a move into breakfast television was a long time coming for Ten, it does eliminate their children’s morning schedule. While I’m sure the Toasted TV brand will be rested, hopefully we’ll see Eleven offer a substitution between 6-9am.
Also rumoured was the potential return of Young Talent Time. It’s been confirmed that the show will be hosted by Rob Mills, with Johnny Young serving as a Producer on the show. With Glee still popular and talent shows continuing to perform well on Australian TV, reviving the show makes sense. YTT 2012 will have to work hard to evade the perception of schmaltz that surrounds memories of the shows prior incarnation. This could well be the Saturday evening family show that many claim audiences hunger for.
Most interesting on the schedule were the announcements of new Australian series. While Locked Out didn’t make it to the schedule, a couple of series caught my fancy. “Underground – The Julian Assange Story” is set in Melbourne in the 90’s and tells the story of, well, you know who. A TV adaption of “Puberty Blues” will launch. The idea intrigues and horrifies me all at once.
Less interesting is the Underbelly-inspired “Bikie Wars – Brothers In Arms”, which examines the story of the Comancheros and the Bandidos – and their murderous showdown at Milperra. And then there’s the Lisa McCune series “Reef Doctors”, an action adventure series filmed on the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest of Northern Queensland. The Flying Doctors 2012.
The Biggest Loser is set to return in 2012 with a focus on single people. Masterchef Australia will also return. And it seems Ten haven’t given up on the poorly-received The Renovators, with Tens David Mott stating that “So far the format has underperformed. But, it’s a brand we believe in so we are working directly with Shine to renovate THE RENOVATORS for 2011 and beyond.”
Other returning series include: Modern Family, Glee, Merlin, Offspring, Law & Order: SVU, The Good Wife, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Bondi Recue, Bondi Vet, The Circle, and The 7PM Project.
Resting concerns about the future of the show is news that George Negus will return as host of 6:30. It’s good to see that Ten have maintained faith in the show as it’s a much-needed presence in the early evening news offerings.
It appears that both One HD and Eleven will continue on as they have in 2011.
The most interesting aspect of the announcement tonight was that Ten are concentrating on their digital media engagement. While the standard jargon about continuing to offer content across its suite of digital platforms and multi-device connectivity was found, the network have announced that over the next 12 months they will roll-out Connected TV and gaming applications. As a network that has traditionally been youth-driven, their absence from the increasingly more important Connected TV platforms has seemed like a radical oversight on their behalf. Also interesting is that Ten will stream Breakfast and Young Talent Time live online and via smart phone applications. Could this mean that Young Talent Time will be broadcast live each week? If so, expect to see a Twitter stream on screen.
The announcement offered little in the way of surprises, but did enough to calm down rumours circulating around the future of much of their programming. One of the things I like about Ten is that they don’t play things too close to their chest, exuding a sense of confidence in their planned schedule. This may not be entirely accurate in reality, but they certainly seem far more certain about their schedule than the reactionary Seven and Nine networks. Ten in 2012: It’s nothing revolutionary or thrilling, but it may be enough to get the job done.