Australian Survivor receives $3.9m government funding to film in QLD

After five seasons set in Samoa and Fiji, the sixth season of Ten’s Australian Survivor will soon be filmed in north-west Queensland, helped by $3.9 million in Federal Government funding.

Communications and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the production should result in a $29 million boost to the regional economy – filming will take place in Cloncurry, a town more than 1,700 kilometres north west of Brisbane, with a population of less than 3,000 – and create 150 jobs.

Host Jonathan LaPaglia

“Australian Survivor was one of the many world–renowned productions jeopardised by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why we are pleased to provide $3.9 million to get the series back on our screens in 2021,” the minister said of the Location Incentives Program, which received a $400 million funding injection in response to COVID-19.

“Local production of the show’s sixth season will support businesses in regional Queensland and create 150 employment opportunities for local crew, providing a major boost to the Australian economy.”

Australian Survivor is just the latest show to film domestically due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Most recently on Ten, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! shifted from South Africa to northern New South Wales and The Amazing Race became a domestic competition. Seven’s Holey Moley began filming on the US format’s set, before being forced to pull out just three days in and subsequently built a course outside of Brisbane to shoot the new show locally. The investment will “pay off” though, the show’s EP recently told Mumbrella, because international versions of the format have committed to filming at the Australian course.

Seven confirmed that Holey Moley also received government funding. Mumbrella has approached Ten for comment on whether I’m a Celebrity and The Amazing Race also did, given they were set to film internationally. Only productions that otherwise would not have been expected to film in Australia qualify for the scheme.

Holey Moley was forced to invest in building a course in Queensland, although international markets have committed to using the Australian set to film their versions

Last year, Ten planned to air two seasons of Survivor, but the second was postponed when filming in Fiji became impossible as the pandemic ripped around the world. Host Jonathan LaPaglia was unable to attend the finale of the first all stars season – watched by 878,000 metro viewers – due to the travel limitations imposed by COVID-19, and some contestants dialled in virtually.

This time around, the Endemol Shine production will spotlight Cloncurry’s history, Ten ViacomCBS’ chief content officer and executive vice president, Beverley McGarvey, said. It was visited by Burke and Wills on their 1861 inland expedition, is where the Royal Flying Doctors Service was set up, and is close by to former mining settlement and ‘ghost town’, Mary Kathleen.

“The town with a heart of gold has a lot to offer and we are thrilled we will be able to showcase Cloncurry and all its natural beauty,” she added.

“With thanks to the Australian Government’s Location Incentive Program, we look forward to working with the local community to bring Australian Survivor to life.”

The outback setting will pose a new set of challenges than the usually coastal campsites in the show’s previous seasons. Endemol Shine’s CEO, Peter Newman, said it’s “an exciting new chapter for the Australian format”.

According to the government, the funding program has dished out $190 million to date, across 19 productions with production budgets totalling $1.47 billion, and approximately 11,800 cast and crew jobs involved.

Thor: Love and Thunder is currently filming in Sydney

The pipeline of projects also includes the high profile Marvel film, Thor: Love and Thunder, which is currently filming in Sydney and stars Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Natalie Portman, and Matt Damon. MGM’s Thirteen Lives, a film about the Thai caves rescue, was given $13 million in funding to film in Queensland, while Liam Neeson’s Blacklight began filming in Melbourne late last year and also accessed funding.

Australian Survivor will also work with institutions such as the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School (AFTRS) to provide burgeoning talent with mentorships and experience in TV production.


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