Foxtel gives boost to local programming for pay-TV

Rose Major | 13-12-2010

Australian pay-TV provider Foxtel today announced a “substantial increase” in locally commissioned programming on the country’s pay-TV channels for 2011, including drama, comedy and sport but featuring much reality TV.

As well as the return of Australia’s Next Top Model to Fox8 HD – this series made by Sarah Murdoch’s own production company Room 329 Productions after Granada Media Productions was blamed for a gaffe when Murdoch announced the wrong winner – there will be a revitalised local version of Project Runway Australia and a local spin off of UK hit Got To Dance. Got to Dance Australia will be joined in the schedule by the second season of the original UK series and the debut of its US counterpart, titled Live To Dance, which will hosted by Australia’s Andrew Gunsberg and feature Paula Abdul.

Also in the reality genre will be the premiere season of Cricket Superstar, scheduled for the second half of the year, along with a second season of Dating In The Dark.

Australian children’s and family programming will include Nickelodeon’s popular Kids Choice Awards and Disney Channel’s As The Bell Rings.

In local comedy programming, The Comedy Channel will debut three new series in the first half of 2011; You Have Been Watching to be hosted by Peter Berner, Balls Of Steel with The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel and an untitled stand-up project which will feature some of the country’s emerging comedy talent.

In lifestyle programming, there are new seasons of locally made, Grand Designs Australia, Selling Houses Australia, Come Dine With Me Australia, the debut of Relocation Relocation Australia and Donna Hay- Fast, Fresh, Simple – all to be seen on The LifeStyle Channel.

Drama sees Showcase premiere the TV adaptation of best selling novel Cloudstreet. Also premiering on Foxtel will be a controversial new Australian youth drama series, SLiDE, currently filming in Brisbane, to be seen on Fox8 HD, TV1’s eagerly awaited mini-series, Killing Time, featuring David Wenham, and Movie Extra’s Small Time Gangster. The new dramas will be joined by a second season of W channel’s Spirited, plus a third series of Tangle on Showcase and a second season of The Jesters on Movie Extra.

Crime & Investigation Network will premiere Kalgoorlie Cops, while Fox8 HD will air Dannii Minogue – Style Queen. Lifestyle YOU! will premiere Eat Yourself Sexy and Trinny & Susannah’s Australian Makeover Mission. The History Channel will also premiere locally made documentaries including Lachlan Macquarie, The Digger – A History, The Irish In Australia, Kapyong, Your Shout – The Story of Australian Beer and an Australian production of the The People Speak.

National Geographic Channel has two major Australian productions, Aussie Strike Force and 62 Days at Sea, Discovery Channel will deliver Rocket Compulsion whilst on Crime & Investigation Network, Tara Moss will return with a second series of Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals.