×

Oz’s Ten net lures Masters

Was best known for commissioning 'Seachange,' 'Babies'

SYDNEY — In a major shift of strategy, CanWest-backed Network Ten struck a body blow to coin-challenged Australian pubcaster ABC Tuesday, poaching its commissioning editor for drama Sue Masters amid promises to boost its drama slate.

After six years at ABC, Masters is best known for commissioning Granada’s drama “Seachange,” now the pubcaster’s highest rated program of all time, as well as acclaimed miniseries “Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies” and quirky dramedy “Grass Roots.”

Before joining the ABC staff, she produced long-running ABC medical series “GP” and acclaimed mini-series “Brides of Christ” with Britain’s Channel 4 and Ireland’s RTE.

Ten on the scale

Once on the verge of bankruptcy before being rescued by CanWest about 10 years ago, Ten is now profitable after pursuing a low-cost programming strategy targeting younger audiences. Ten’s luring of Masters with promises to increase spending on drama signals a change of direction.

Masters’ defection is a huge blow to ABC, which is still reeling from a 12% funding cut imposed after the 1996 conservative federal government and a management clean-out after the March appointment of former Thames TV deputy chief executive Jonathan Shier as topper.

“The drama budget has not been what we would have wanted in recent years,” admitted Shier. “She clearly got a very attractive offer from Ten, which we were unable to match.”

More TV

  • Kamala Harris

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Face Rematch in Next Democratic Debate

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will have the opportunity to square off again in the second debate among Democratic hopefuls vying for their party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election CNN, which will broadcast the next round of debates on July 30 and 31, televised a draw Thursday night that decided [...]

  • Jon Wax

    Jon Wax Joins Amazon Studios as Head of Genre Programming

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming Jon Wax is joining Amazon Studios as its head of genre programming, Variety has learned. Wax will take up the position recently vacated by Sharon Tal Yguado. He had joined YouTube in August 2017, heading up drama, unscripted and current programming for YouTube’s premium channel. Prior to that, he had [...]

  • South Park Donald Trump

    TV News Roundup: Comedy Central Sets 'South Park' Season 23 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Comedy Central announces the premiere date of “South Park” Season 23 and Netflix sets the premiere date and offers a first look at “Unbelievable.”  DATES Comedy Central announced that Season 23 of “South Park” will premiere Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. Because the episodes are written and animated so [...]

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Shouldn't Be Exonerated in Hollywood Even as Criminal Case Ends (Column)

    The news that criminal charges against Kevin Spacey in the Nantucket groping case have been dropped raises an inevitable question: does this mean he can claw his way back into Hollywood’s good graces? Or maybe more importantly: should it?  Spacey’s rapid descent was startling, even as it quickly followed that of the once untouchable producing [...]

  • Game of Thrones

    HBO's Return to Emmy Nomination Dominance May Be Short-Lived (Column)

    As Hollywood braces for the coming streaming wars, HBO’s huge Emmy nomination haul this week sent a new salvo Netflix’s way: The streamer may have the volume, but HBO still has the goods. At least this year. HBO’s record-breaking 137 nominations came on the strength of just 23 programs — led, of course, by “Game [...]

  • Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

    Starz Nears Realignment: Why Lionsgate Won't Hire a CEO to Replace Chris Albrecht

    Nearly six months after Starz CEO Chris Albrecht exited in February, Lionsgate brass is moving closer to a revamp of the premium TV network’s executive structure. According to insiders, at least one thing is clear: Albrecht is not expected to be replaced as CEO. Instead, Lionsgate chief executive Jon Feltheimer is taking a more active [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content