Monaghan: ‘Networks will only break through with domestic product’

At the recent launch party of Underbelly: Razor, Alice Terlikowski of Encore’s sister publication, Mumbrella spoke with Des Monaghan, executive director of Screentime,  Jo Horsburgh, head of drama at Nine and Danielle Cormack, who plays one of two female protagonists, Kate Leigh.

Both Monaghan and Horsburgh praised the quality of Australian drama of recent years, improving beyond our imported counterparts.

Monaghan: “The quality has improved out of sight, we all get better the more chance we have to do it and thanks to the producer offset we’re getting to do more. It’s such a competitive environment now, the networks know that only way they’ll break through is by domestic product. They aren’t going to do it through imported shows, it has to be domestic shows. At the moment we’ve got hugely successful non-fiction shows, so called reality shows but they never are, and top drama series, so it’s a particularly healthy environment for TV, particularly drama.”

Acknowledging Nine’s ‘Home of Comedy’ tagline fell flat with the shows ratings, Horsburgh hoped Razor, in the second half of the year would reinvigorate Nine as the home of drama.

Horsburgh: “Nine has always delivered big drama, big landscape drama, rather than kitchen sink drama, which all have their place but Nine happens to be the home of landscape drama. And Razor and Underbelly to my mind are landscape dramas. I think we’ll continue to deliver that kind of drama. In terms of comedy, it was a different area, comedy is very difficult but we’ll keep delivering projects or programs up to the audience and in the end it’s up the audience to vote and if it doesn’t work you go back to the drawing board.”


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