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Ten commissions local version of big budget UK show Sunday Night Takeaway

Ten is to attempt to answer one of the big questions of the Australian TV industry: Would a version of British ratings behemoth Saturday Night Takeaway work locally?

The network has announced it has commissioned ITV Studios to make Sunday Night Takeaway, which will be fronted by I’m a Celebrity hosts Julia Morris and Dr Chris Brown.

The live variety show features games, a studio audience, musical acts and celebrity guests.

The British version, which airs on a Saturday night, is hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly and has been a staple of UK television for 16 years. Like Morris and Brown in Australia, Ant & Dec also front I’m A Celebrity in the UK. The most recent series of Takeaway in the UK averaged more than 8m viewers.

However, the big budget demanded, the difficulty in consistently delivering big name celebrities and the question of how much of the UK show’s success is reliant on the chemistry between Ant & Dec have previously left Australian networks reluctant to take the risk of commissioning the show.

Versions of the format have aired – and later been axed – in countries including Finland, Germany, Portugal, China, France and the USA, where Neil Patrick Harris hosted.

In 2015, Seven said it would commission Sunday Night Takeaway, but later lost its nerve.

Network Ten’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said in a statement: “There is nothing like Chris & Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway on Australian television. It is live and dangerously shiny family entertainment at its best.”

Morris said: “I absolutely love Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and can’t believe my luck that I get to stand alongside my beloved Docteur and host our very own local version of the show.”

Brown said: “This is such an exciting and dynamic show to be a part of. But best of all, it’s got a massive heart that will deliver such a huge hit of warmth into Australian lounge rooms.”

And the boss of ITV Studios Australia David Mott – who once held McGarvey’s job –  said: “Big fun, live and dangerous television is back.”

The move is the first big budget commission by Ten since it lost out to Seven and Foxtel for the cricket rights, leaving the US-owned TV network with a huge hole in its schedule next year.

The network said the show will air on Ten and regional affiliate WIN “in early 2019”.

  • In a further piece of commissioning news, Ten said it had also bought the rights to Dancing With The Stars, which previously aired on Seven. It will be hosted by Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer and co-produced by Warner Bros and BBC Studios.
  • Ten also announced this morning Changing Rooms would return to the network in 2019. The show will see couples swap houses, with each pair decorating key rooms in each other’s homes. It will be produced by Endemol Shine.
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