Australia’s most-watched TV network has fired a salvo at its rivals that it intends to hold onto its crown for an eleventh year.
Seven's 'New Fronts', held at its Redfern studios last night, promises a programming slate high on true crime, drama, biopics of Australian legends, controversial new reality formats and a mouthwatering eight-month wall of live sport.
It also provided a glimpse of a new millennial-focused digital offering called Platform 7. This builds on Seven's Rio Olympics all-screen success and will offer snackable video content for younger audiences as the company moves towards being a 'Total Video' network.
“This year speaks for itself. The most watched sports event of the year (AFL grand final) and the most watched non-sports show of the year (Molly),” Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner said. “That is leadership and scale, and we have the content to do it gain next year.
“We don't just lead in all people, we lead in people 16-39, people 18-49, people 25-54, people 40 plus – all people, a clean sweep. And we are the only network that has grown share in each of these demographics in 2016.
“What that means is 17 million Australians a month are engaging with your brand and buying your products across all of Seven West Media's assets – more reach, more effectiveness....and that is at the very heart of our strategy, extraordinary engagement generated by powerful stories we are now delivering and producing around the world.”
Warnie + true crime
Heading the line-up of new shows are dramas that bring to life the stories of Shane Warne, Olivia Newton-John and Paul Hogan; no doubt the network was enticed by top-rating drama Molly to run more mini-series biopics.
Perhaps the most impressive show Seven presented last night was Blue Murder: Killer Cop, starring Richard Roxburgh. The series is a gripping portrayal of bad cop turned underworld figure Roger Rogerson, picking up from where the original ABC series left off in 1995.
Staring Toni Collette and host of well known Aussie faces, the show has come to fruition remarkably quickly since Rogerson was thrown into the slammer with Glen McNamara for murdering Jamie Gao; the pair were only handed life sentences in September.
Seven has unveiled a couple more true crime shows tapping into the recent craze kicked off by Netflix's Making a Murderer.
Experienced journalist Michael Usher, a recent recruit from Nine, will head Murder Uncovered, which blows open some of Australia's most notorious unsolved killings and crimes.
Ramping it up a notch is Million Dollar Cold Case, which offers a $1 million reward to anyone who can help police solve some of the nation's most horrific crimes.
New reality formats will be headed by a controversial show that takes pushy parents to another level as they attempt to derail wedding plans for unsavoury reasons. So secretive is the show that Seven couldn't share its name, mark this show in the vegemite category.
Then there's the Yummy Mummies, a pregnant version of the Real Housewives of Melbourne that tracks wealthy, expectant mums trying to outdo one another in pre-birth rituals and bitching sessions. It delivered the most laughs at last night's event and should perform well.
Another DIY format is The Aussie Property Flippers, where property investors renovate a house to make a quick buck, combining Australian's obsession with the property market and love of a reno makeover. This one could sink or swim as there are questions about whether the public has the stomach for more reno shows after Reno Rumble's recent demise.
MKR's love affair
Returning will be Seven's top performing format My Kitchen Rules, which opens Seven's ratings year in primetime. Next season there's cross team love, but in case you were wondering if MKR is losing some its bitchiness, there'll be a human ticking time bomb. There's also new seasons of First Dates and Seven Year Swtich.
Seven also confirmed 2017 seasons for The Secret Daughter (Jessica Mauboy), Wanted (Rebecca Gibney) and 800 Words (Erik Thomson), Border Security, House Rules, Home and Away, and A Place to Call Home.
All up, Seven Productions will commission, create and produce nearly 700 hours of television.
Wall of sport
Following Seven’s slate of dramas and reality shows will be one of the longest “wall of sports” ever seen on Australian free-to-air television.
This begins with the AFL finals series (September), followed by the Spring Racing Carnival (October-November), the Rugby League World Cup (late October to early December), the Australian Open (January, 2018), Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang (February) and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (April).
Impressively, Seven rolled out Winter Olympian Lydia Lassila and Australian Olympian Cate Campbell to make the announcements as the Aussies seek revenge on the all-conquering British team on home soil. Campbell assured the audience losing on her home patch isn't an option.
Perhaps the most exciting development at last night's upfronts was Platform 7, a digital and social platform that speaks to a millennial audience. It will offer a vast range of content across social channels, YouTube, smartphones and offers advertisers a platform to engage with these hard to reach audiences.
“For the very first time this will create brand new digital only content targeted to millennial on the platforms they want to watch it on,” said Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette. “Think digital, think social, think Platform 7.”
Seven has laid down a marker, Network Ten is next on the upfronts circuit.
New programs 2017
Blue Murder: Killer Cop - Richard Roxburgh reprises his heralded portrayal of Australia’s most notorious former detective Roger Rogerson in Blue Murder: Killer cop, leading an all-star cast that includes Toni Collette and some of the country’s finest actors. The high production quality series follows on Rogerson’s story from the ABC’s original Blue Murder in 1995. A floating body, a drug deal gone wrong, and two former detectives the perpetrators. Life imprisonment is the end of Roger Rogerson’s story. This is one to watch.
Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story - Starring Josh Lawson as Paul Hogan, Ryan Corr as John “Strop” Cornell and Justine Clarke as Noelene Hogan, Hoges: The Pual Hogan Story charts the meteoric rise of working-class Australian icon Paul Hogan whose easy, wise-cracking persona took him from the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the heights of a Golden Globe win, Oscar-nominated adulation, unprecedented box-office success and international superstardom, meanwhile forging powerful and enduring relationships along the way.
Olivia Newton-John - Celebrating how a nice girl can finish first, the story of Olivia Newton-John charts her trailblazing personal, musical and uniquely female journey through one of the world’s toughest industries. Selling over 100 million records to become the number one recording artist in the world and starring in one of the most loved film musicals of all time,
Warnie - Shane Warne is a walking tabloid headline. Women, parties, women, high-life and women. He loved being married but couldn’t help himself. And as he rolled from scandal to scandal he was also, through all this, the greatest cricketer of his generation. Warnie explores the paradox that is the most admired, criticised and publicised Australian sportsman of the century
Murder Uncovered - Michael Usher hosts this breakthrough investigative news series that will blow wide open some of the worst, most infamous cases of unsolved killings and crimes in Australian criminal history. Each episode will revisit a different case that enraged and engaged the country, featuring new evidence, major breakthroughs and fresh leads that will have you questioning everything.
Million Dollar Cold Case - cracks open the files of unsolved murders that have frustrated police and devastated grieving families for years. Police are determined to catch the killers, and have offered one million dollar rewards to help solve these horrific crimes.
Yummy Mummies - In this brand new series from Seven Productions, these stunning young mums have model good looks, glamorous lives and are never seen without their high heels and designer wear - but their best accessory is their baby bump. As the Italian family from Adelaide get ready to celebrate the arrival of their new princess, things become very competitive when they try to outdo the Melbourne yummy mummies with the most lavish baby showers, extravagant push presents and luxurious babymoons.
The Aussie Property Flippers - In this brand new series from Seven Productions, we follow Aussie couples who have found a way to get rich quick. They buy homes, they renovate, they sell - all in just a few short weeks. But with big reward comes big risk. Will it be flip or flop? And what are the secrets to their success?
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