Ten takes the knife to drama

World Brief

A correction was made to this article on Oct. 17, 2005.

SYDNEY — Network Ten and Southern Star launched a new medical skein last week that they hope will revive Oz drama.

“The Surgeon” is a half-hour drama that addresses the concerns of an industry nervous about taking a chance on expensive local productions. The shorter run time keeps down costs; so does the fact that almost all the action takes place on one hospital set.

Seems like an obvious solution.

The challenge is that in Oz, the only half-hour dramas are sudsers “Neighbours” and “Home and Away,” so this new harder-edged take on the short drama will be a tough sell.

Still, Blighty’s half-hour police skein “The Bill” has been very successful Down Under, and “The Surgeon’s” producer John Edwards (“Secret Life of Us,” “Love My Way”) hopes that success will rub off.

Web has opted for a 9.30 p.m. Thursday timeslot following a special screening of boffo imported hit “House” — a brave move that may draw comparisons between the two.

Skein stars Justine Clarke (“Look Both Ways,” “Japanese Story”) and Sam Worthington (“Somersault”, “Love My Way”).

Edwards is teaming once again with “Secret Life” writer Judi McCrossin.

“The Surgeon” has had little publicity, but was deemed so good by Ten it was brought forward from a 2006 bow.

If the skein is successful, Edwards has plans for other half-hour dramas.

“This is something that is easy to format in other countries,” he says.

But “The Surgeon” must reach to magic million-aud mark to avoid becoming DOA.

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