Oz webs seeing growth after a sluggish period

As profitability slowly returns to Australia’s commercial TV networks, local production rosters are again growing. For their 1993 skeds, Seven and Nine have both announced their largest lineups for some years.

While Seven has kept up a strong local slate for the last three years, Nine pared down its commissioning of domestic programming. Now, joint programming director Jim Blomfield recently said, there’s “definitely a shift to the external supplier” at the Kerry Packer-owned web.

To date the net has announced three drama series for 1993: “Law Of The Land,” 13 episodes from Roadshow Coote & Carroll; “Snowy,” 26 segs from Simpson Le Mesurier Films; and youth series “Paradise Beach” from Village Roadshow Pictures.

Seven web has announced a 25% increase in its local commitment next year. “And the bulk of it will be commissioned,” says production and program development director Des Monaghan.

Web has unveiled six new series for 1993: comedy “The Norman Gunston Show,” a reprise of the 1970s hit; new Crawfords Australia sitcom “Newlyweds”; info skeins “Talk to the Animals” and “The Great Outdoors”; magazine style show “The Extraordinary”; and a return of Grundy’s reality offering “Australia’s Most Wanted,” an Oz version of the U.S. format.

Aussie Broadcasting Corp. is hoping to up its 1992 level of local drama from 100 hours to 120, per director of TV Paddy Conroy.

Local production at Ten remains unclear as ownership questions still loom while CanWest Global Communications stitches together a buying consortium. However, web has commited to the next series of soap “Neighbours” from the Grundy Organization. Series enters its ninth year in 1993.

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