Seven upfronts: Australian Idol return leads line-up of new and returning shows to network
It’s time to put away the aprons and whip out the golf clubs — that’s the advice of the Seven Network who today launched a “disruptive” new line-up of shows for 2021.
While the network traditionally kicks off the year with My Kitchen Rules, this year they will come out swinging with larger-than-life mini-golf program Holey Moley.
The show features a wild course complete with fire, water and … rubber ducks.
The proven family-friendly hit, which has been the number one show in the US for two years in a row, sees contestants battle against a course that’s akin to trying to play mini-golf on the set of It’s A Knockout.
It will be hosted by Sonia Kruger with Hollywood comedian Rob Riggle (Saturday Night Live, The Hangover) and Matt Shirvington commentating.
Aussie golf legend Greg Norman will serve as the Resident Golf Pro guiding contestants as they try to navigate the wacky course.
The 2021 line-up also features heavy-hitting “global tent pole” entertainment brands The Voice, Big Brother, Farmer Wants A Wife and Australia’s Got Talent.
Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive James Warburton said the network wanted to focus on a “disruptive schedule of fresh and engaging content” that would help return Seven to its spot as Australia’s No. 1 TV network.
“It’s a fresh line-up with new shows and reimagined shows,” Warburton said. “My Kitchen Rules served us well for a decade but it had been declining. We wanted to bring in more fresh concepts.
“We have shown only glimpses of our best from this year and that’s got us to less than half a point from being the most watched network in the country.
“I said 12 months ago that we really had to reinvent ourselves, we got a bit tired and stagnant and we were going to make big changes,” Warburton added.
“COVID slowed down the rate of those changes that we wished we could have rolled through. But we are very confident and feel very happy with what we have got.”
In 2022 the network will add a fifth global entertainment juggernaut Australian Idol.
Warburton said 2021 and 2022 were going to be a bumper years for the network with coverage of The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games airing in July.
Just seven months later, the network will feature all the action from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.
“With our multiple global tent poles in play, our first-class Olympics coverage and winning news and sports schedules, viewers will get to see what we’re really capable of,” Warburton said.
New series Ultimate Tag — which is described as the fastest game on earth — is another successful franchise that will appeal to viewers of all ages; while dyed-in-the-wool drama lovers can rejoice in the new Aussie medical drama series RFDS starring Stephen Peacocke, Rob Collins and Justine Clarke.
And there’s also lavish event drama Australian Gangster to look forward to. Based on actual events, the production has been delayed by court action, but finally the real story of Sydney’s crime underworld can be revealed.
Returning shows include current ratings winner and social media sensation SAS Australia, the country’s best-loved soap Home and Away, a newer and fresher Better Homes and Gardens and feel good fan favourite The All New Monty.
Seven Programming Director Angus Ross said Seven was hit harder than its competitors when COVID-19 prevented the Tokyo Olympics from going ahead and shaved eight weeks off the AFL season.
It also halted production on Holey Moley and Australia’s Got Talent.
Those shows should have been on screens now but it means Seven have plenty up their sleeves for next year.
“I think it was widely acknowledged that we were hit worse by COVID than any other network and what we are looking forward to next year is coming back with all the rounds in the chamber, if you like,” Ross said.
“We have the content we promised and that’s when we will say, ‘look out, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2021’.”
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