News

Ten reveals ‘Pilot Week’, new comedy Street Smart, game show Blind Date and more CBS shows

The influence of soon-to-be new owner CBS appears to already be making itself felt in Ten’s new strategy, with the network announcing a US-style Pilot Week in its upfronts presentation for the coming year.

Thursday night’s announcement also saw the network signal more CBS programs for its schedule and doubling down on the current TV trend towards prime time dating shows with an addition to The Bachelor franchise and a reboot of Perfect Match under its original British title Blind Date.

Among new local productions planned are Bachelor in Paradise, new comedy Street SmartHow To Stay Married and local drama Playing for Keeps.

Channel Ten Upfronts 2017 (L-R) Dave Hughes, George Calombaris, Carrie Bickmore, Julia Morris, Amanda Keller and Ricky Ponting

Dave Hughes will launch a brand new show Hughesy, We Have a Problem which will bring together comedy and entertainment stars who help Australians deal with life’s problems.

The network also repeated announcements first made this time a year ago, including the return of Russel Coight’s All Aussie Adventures, and the launch of short form video and online content offering, tendaily.

Blind Date – which saw success for Ten as Perfect Match in the 1980s – will be hosted by Julia Morris.

Ten will also air a new documentary series – The Secret Life of Four Year Olds.

Masterchef Australia, The Bachelor Australia, The Bachelorette Australia, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! are among the returning series.

Plus, Ten has commissioned a third series of its expensive Survivor franchise –  Australian Survivor Champions vs Contenders.

Also returning is Googlebox Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?, The Project, Family Feud, The Living Room, Shark Tank, new game show series CRAM, Todd Sampson’s Body Hack 2.0Neighbours, Bondi Rescue and Studio 10.

The middle of the year will see the launch of “pilot week”, with pilots of local shows across various content genres to run in the one week. It’s unclear whether Pilot Week will occur during an official ratings week, or in the mid year Easter break.

Pilot Week – or Pilot Season – is an important part of US television. Early on in the year, pilot shows are aired, with networks signing the successful ones up for ongoing production.

Several CBS productions have been also added to the slate, with new crime series Instinct, SEAL Team and 9JKL included. The new shows build on Ten’s current overseas offering which includes NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans and NCIS: Los Angeles, Bull and Madam Secretary. 

Paul Anderson, Network Ten’s chief executive officer said the acquisition of Ten by CBS would be a “game changer” for the network, and a positive for the Australian media industry.

Anderson: CBS will be a ‘game changer’

“CBS is a global entertainment giant, a mass media company that is the most-watched television network in the US, with one of the world’s largest libraries of entertainment content,” Anderson said.

“Making and acquiring great content is their mission, and it is our mission as well. Broadcasting that great content across multiple platforms with leading edge technology in an ever-changing environment is crucial and what better way for us to take on that challenge than by being part of the global media powerhouse that is CBS.”

Beverley McGarvey, Ten’s chief content officer said the network remained focused on giving its Australian audience “brand-safe, family-friendly entertainment”.

“This year we have had significant successes across a range of genres and we will expand on that in 2018 for an even better year of wonderful, powerful and engaging shows that connect with people across all screens,” McGarvey said.

Shows which will not return include The Biggest Loser – which Ten shifted to a day time slot this year  – and all 21st Century Fox programs, after Fox’s termination of Ten’s deal.

The launch of Tendaily was flagged at last year’s up fronts but it appears as though it will finally launch in 2018.

Described as a “standalone, mobile-optimised website” which will be rich in short-form video content”, the network flagged that on-air stars and presenters would be part of the new website.

New programming

Ten put a large emphasis on upcoming franchise Bachelor In Paradise – which will be hosted by Osher Günsberg. Günsberg quit his radio gig a month ago to focus more on the three Bachelor franchises.

Today, Ten announced the first cast members of the new show, which includes previous contestants Laurina Fleure, Keira Maguire, Tara Pavlovic, Michael Turnbull, Davey Lloyd and Apollo Jackson.

The six cast members, along with other former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants will explore new relationships in a tropical paradise.

Ten confirmed the franchise would run in Australia last month

McGarvey expects Bachelor in Paradise will be “compelling television”.

“The buzz about this series has been extraordinary, demonstrating clearly that audiences love the Bachelor franchise and are eager for more,” she said.

“Romantic, dramatic, funny and full of great characters, Bachelor In Paradise is set to be compelling television.”

Also new to the lineup is Playmaker Media’s Blind Date – a new version of the cult viewing UK dating show which aired in the 1980s before being revived last year.

Ten also aired Perfect Match in the 1980s which was a similar format.

Blind Date will see Morris help potential suiters search for their ideal partners.

Each week a person will ask three hidden potential suiters three questions to determine which person is right for them.

McGarvey said the dating show will be “family entertainment” which will find its way into the heart of Australian homes.

“We are thrilled that the brilliant and talented Julia Morris has agreed to host,” she added.

The launch of new comedy Street Smart, which has been made with Screen Australia funding, will follow a gang of “would-be” criminals who are not the gangsters they believe themselves to be.

Described as an “entertaining family comedy”, the show is being put together by CJZ, and stars Tahir Bilgic as Steve, a gang leader whose dreams are ruined by his parking officer Joe – played by Rob Shehadie.

Sport

The KFC Big Bash League will return on December 19, and will  feature 24 matches across 48 days. All matches in the extended season will be broadcast in prime time on Ten or ONE.

Big Bash League will return with two new additions to the commentary team

Joining Network Ten’s commentary team this year are Michael Vaughan and Graeme Swann, both former British cricket players.

They will join Australian cricket team coach Darren Lehmann, Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, former New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullun and former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen.

Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Damien Fleming, Mel Jones, Lisa Sthalekar, Roz Kelly, Mark Howard and Andy Maher will also return.

Ten will also broadcast 12 matches of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League live, starting on December 9.

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix, MotoGP races including Phillip Island, RPM and Supercars Championship events including the Supercars Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 are all set to return, as is The Hyundai A-League and all Caltex Socceroos matches after the completion of World Cup Qualifiers.

In 2018, Ten will also present three Rugby Union test matches against the Irish in June, as well as will broadcast all Wallabies’ matches in the Rugby Championship and a third test match against New Zealand, as part of the Bledisloe Cup.

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