Local retro dramas performing well in Oz

Mipcom 2012: Territory Reports - Australia

Aussies are going back to the future with local retro drama scoring well in the ratings.

“Howzat,” the story of media magnate Kerry Packer taking on the cricketing establishment, drew over 2 million eyeballs after Packer story “Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo” did solid numbers last year for pubcaster ABC.

Other local dramas to hit home include “Winners and Losers,” perennial hit “Packed to the Rafters” and the Nine Network’s latest outing of its crime drama “Underbelly: Badness,” which is also set in the recent past.

Several reality skeins, however, have failed to take hold. Among those having difficulty are brash newcomer “I Will Survive” for Channel Ten, a talent show loosely based on Aussie pic “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” and new dance skein “Everybody Dance, Now” that was pulled from Channel Ten after just four episodes.

Meanwhile Nine managed a respectable reboot of reality stalwart “Big Brother” and Ten’s ratings winner “MasterChef Australia” was solid, if not a breakout, in its fourth outing.

With webs still trying to fill their new digital channels, they will be shopping for a variety of shows at Mipcom.

“We like to perform all the way until midnight, so we’re always looking for cost-effective programming for our 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. slots,” says Seven Network’s Angus Ross. “We are always looking for that next big multi-night format.”

STRENGTHS: Local drama firing again, which is good news to the local TV biz given the costs associated with production.
WEAKNESSES: New formats are failing to take hold, creating some costly failures.
SHOWCASE SHOW: “Howzat” giving local drama a boost.

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