Immigration, identity, homelessness, addiction and domestic violence on the slate for SBS in 2020

In 2020 SBS will fill its slate with original, impactful and inclusive content that it can do, promised the broadcaster at its upfronts event in Sydney. New seasons of returning favourites were announced, including Who Do You Think You Are? and Filthy, Rich and Homeless, alongside new original and international content like New Gold Mountain and War Of The Worlds.

“No other media organisation explores and reflects modern Australia like SBS, telling stories otherwise untold and giving a voice to those often unheard,” said managing director James Taylor.

Taylor says SBS brings Australians content like no other commercial network

“In 2020, we will continue to lead the way in helping all Australians better understand the benefits and opportunities of a more inclusive society through our boldest and most original offering yet – world class content along with vital services that go the core of what we stand for as an organisation, and who we are as a nation today.”

SBS also promised to continue playing hard in the on demand space, claiming a winning 29.7% Broadcast Video on Demand (BVOD) commercial Free to Air (FTA) share, above Nine’s 26.8%, Ten’s 22,5% and Seven’s 20.9%.

Director of sales Adam Sadler said that while the other commercial networks often leave SBS out of their calculations, the broadcaster is the most trusted commercial TV news and current affairs channel and commercial TV network according to Roy Morgan data.

One of the big pieces of content SBS will deliver in 2020 is New Gold Mountain, a revisionist Western with director Ana Kokkinos (The Hunting) at the helm. The four-part murder mystery will tell the Australian gold rush from the view of Chinese miners for the first time.

Hungry Ghosts is another big commission, a four-part drama that takes place in Melbourne during the Vietnamese Hungry Ghost Festival. It stars Catherine Văn-Davies, Bryan Brown, Clare Bowen, Ferdinand Hoang, Gareth Yuen, Justine Clarke, Ryan Corr, Jillian Nguyen, and Suzy Wrong.

SBS’s factual division will shine in 2020 with a host of new documentary offerings, including the four-part Who Gets To Stay In Australia? This series takes a look at the immigration laws in Australia and who is allowed to stay versus those who must leave. It will be followed by Come Fly With Me, a three-part series on the history of aviation, to celebrate Australia’s Centenary of Civil Aviation.

First Wars, hitting screens in late 2020, will take a look at Australia’s First Wars – those fought by the Indigenous people during colonisation. Hosted by Rachel Perkins, it comes from Blackfella Films and will force Australias to challenge who they are as a nation.

Also hitting the slate in 2020 is Addicted, a three-part documentary series into the Australians who fight the daily battle against addiction, and See What You Made Me Do, a three-part series with investigative journalist Jess Hill, examining domestic violence and uncovering why one woman dies every week at the hands of a man she knows.

They join returning documentaries Marry Me, Marry My Family, Secrets Of Our Cities, Every Family Has A Secret, Untold Australia, Family Rules and Where Are You Really From? Who Do You Think You Are? is back for another season with Lisa Wilkinson, Bert Newton and Troy Cassar-Daley joining the show and Filthy, Rich and Homeless will be back with Dr Andrew Rochford the first celebrity named in the lineup.

Director of TV and online content, Marshall Heald said: “SBS thrives on telling stories that explore complex issues and can have meaningful impact. With permission to be bold, original and genre bending – SBS is a leader in original dramas and documentaries that inform, entertain and, where possible, shift the dial on attitudes.

“This cuts to the heart of SBS’s 2020 slate – to present stories that confront tough questions without easy answers, and continue to capture the national conversation around issues central to our Charter in creative and innovative ways.”

War Of The Worlds is one of the big international titles coming to SBS in 2020, fronted by Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern, it’s based on the famed H.G Wells novel and Heald is confident it will provide as much buzz as The Handmaid’s Tale – which returns for season four in 2020.

Dublin Murders is a new drama coming to the broadcaster, along with returning dramas Vikings, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which will be fast-tracked from the US, Project Blue Book and The Good Fight.

Sport will also be a big part of the SBS DNA in 2020, with every game of the National Basketball League (NBL), free coverage of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and highlights of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), as well as the 2020 Tour De France, the tennis US Open Finals and Roland-Garros French Open Finals, International Champions Cup Football, the Koori Knockout and the Dakar Rally.

Of course, Eurovision is back in May with Australia Decides in February to select the country’s entrant for the main event. This year, returning hosts Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst will come live from Rotterdam in the Netherlands and both Vanessa Amarosi and Casey Donovan are in the running to be Australia’s entrant. Also announced at the upfronts were two more contenders – Mitch Tambo and iOTA.

For the first time ever, Creasey will also be at the front of a live broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with comedian Zoe Coombs Marr, 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs and, for the first time, Australia’s famous drag queen, singer and actor Courtney Act.

Also on the entertainment slate is another season of Mastermind, and the world’s first Celebrity Mastermind. The Feed will be airing on both SBS and SBS Viceland in 2020 and expanding to a longer format.

Viceland will also get the FTA premiere of Narcos and season two of Wellington Paranormal. Shrill will return for a second season, Punk will take viewers on a look into the history of punk music and The Tesla Files will expose the history of Nikola Tesla.

Furthering its on demand offering, Twin, The New Pope, Little Drummer Girl, Agent Hamilton, ZeroZeroZero, Das Boot, Fargo and Blood are all going to be on the platform in 2020.


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