• PAW Patrol, Shimmer and Shine, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Nella the Princess Knight, JoJo Siwa and SpongeBob SquarePants feature in all-star presentation
• New properties Top Wing, Sunny Day and the much-anticipated Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles previewed
Nickelodeon Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) showcased a jam-packed property portfolio to key retailers and licensees at its annual Australian upfront event last night in Melbourne. The presentation emphasised the brand’s strong positioning across all areas of the business including on-air, on-the-ground, on digital and at retail.
The superstar lineup of six Viacom executives from the USA, Europe and Australia shared hosting duties to talk about the coming year.
Senior vice president international consumer products Mark Kingston spoke first and said: “Following the amazing success we’re having with our content, we are continuously looking forward at ways to grow the Nickelodeon brand beyond television. We’re doing this with our most global outlook ever, which allows us to accelerate our speed to market on new franchises and use the scale of Viacom to provide even more creative solutions and resources to support all our international regions.”
The upfront showcased Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand’s success over the past 12 months and the strong consumer products portfolio currently dominating shelves at retail. PAW Patrol continues to break records globally ensuring it remains the #1 pre-school property with kids everywhere after winning the 2018 Licensed Pre-School Property of the Year at the Australian Toy Association’s Product of the Year Awards on Sunday night. Following a year in the Australian market, Rusty Rivets has been seeing phenomenal success both on-air and in retail. The series introduces pre-schoolers to the maker movement and the Spin Master range of toys allows kids to replicate the building techniques they’ve seen on the show. 2018 will be another big year for Rusty Rivets with more new episodes and an expanded licensing program hitting retail from June.
Nickelodeon’s JoJo Siwa and her global bow domination have taken Australia by storm. Her star power will continue to hit the mark in 2018 with tween girls across the world. The range of Nickelodeon JoJo Siwa products will continue to expand in 2018 with more skews across all categories.
Kingston said the Nickelodeon network would be screening 700 episodes of new and returning series this year.
Ben Cox, vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand, presented on the success of the brand within the Australian and New Zealand markets, including the phenomenal growth of the brand beyond linear television. “As the strongest kids TV brand in Australia, we pride ourselves on continuing to create immersive real-world experiences for our audiences, expanding the brand’s footprint far beyond the television screen. 2017 saw brand partnerships with P&O, Victoria’s Falls Creek, Cricket Australia and more. In 2018 we’ll continue to strengthen these existing relationships while adding new experiences for our fans.”
Nickelodeon finished 2017 ranked #1 among Children 5-12, and Nick Jr. ranked #1 commercial channel among Children 0-4.
Nickelodeon Networks reached over six million viewers on subscription television in 2017 alone.
Claire O’Connor, vice president, consumer products and retail marketing Asia Pacific, highlighted that 2018 will be an even bigger year for the brand. “Nickelodeon currently has the largest and strongest slate of pre-school programming we have ever seen. The popularity of our properties on Nick Jr. in Australia and New Zealand has helped drive incredible growth for our consumer products business. In Australia, in the next 18 months we’ll be launching three brand new shows with consumer products ranges – 2018 is going to be another huge year for our brands.
“But it’s not just the pre-school brands that will be action-packed. The latest iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, will premiere on Nickelodeon this year, seeing the franchise reach new heights with a new generation of both kids and super fans.”
O’Connor said Nickelodeon had ordered a season five of PAW Patrol.
2018 will bring the launch of two brand new pre-school properties to Nick Jr., Sunny Day and Top Wing. Pre-schoolers join Sunny, a 10-year-old master hairstylist and entrepreneur, as she goes on exciting new adventures in her seaside town of Friendly Falls in Sunny Day.
Top Wing follows a team of eager young birds as they work together to help their island community, go on amazing adventures and earn their wings as full-feathered rescue birds. There will be a new product line inspired by the show debuting at retail in the US this year, followed by international markets, including Australia, next year.
MTV continued its engagement with millennial fans through live events, brand integrations and consumer product lines showcasing a brand that resonates more than ever with Australians. Ben Richardson, senior vice president and general manager of Viacom International Media Networks Australia and New Zealand, highlighted: “2017 was a huge year for MTV Australia and New Zealand, and our goals for the MTV consumer products business in 2018 are all about deepening the relationship with our audience by creating on-trend products across fashion, technology and fitness.”
Richardson spoke about the strength of the Nickelodeon retro brands and the power of JoJo Silva. “You can’t but help catch her infectious positivity.” He also spoke about merchandising JoJo bows (10m+ sold!), how Nickelodeon is sliming the world and the success of the MTV Beats & Eats initiative.
Together with Haven Licensing, NVCP concluded the evening with a special presentation recognising key retailers and licensees.
The winners were: Caprice Australia (2018 Softlines Partner of the Year), Hunter Leisure (Hardlines Partner of the Year), Kelloggs Australia (Promotional Partner of the Year), Cotton On Group (Retailer of the Year), Funtastic (Partner of the Year) and Pnina Horn (Lifetime Achievement Award).
Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, has acquired Australian Geographic magazine and its associated assets from Bauer Media. Australian Geographic will operate out of Northern Pictures’ office in Sydney, Australia.
The business was originally funded by Dick Smith and was branded Dick’s Smith’s Australian Geographic when launched. It has changed hands a number of times since 1986 and has also been owned by Fairfax Media before ACP Magazines took control of the title in 2006, which was then being run by management.
Blue Ant Media said Australian Geographic currently has 40,000 subscribers, significant newsstand sales and a readership of over 540,000, claiming it is one of Australia’s top 10 paid magazines.
Blue And Media last year purchased David Haslingden’s RACAT Group, which included Northern Pictures. Haslingden is a former National Geographic CEO and was also chairman of Nine Entertainment Co when it was being run by CEO David Gyngell.
“Australian Geographic is the most iconic Australian wildlife and nature publication, reaching a highly engaged audience of natural history fans through its multiplatform content,” said Michael MacMillan, CEO, Blue Ant Media. “The purchase of Australian Geographic reinforces our footprint in the Australian market while providing an impactful vehicle for showcasing the work of our natural history documentaries and series being produced all over the world.”
Paul Dykzeul, CEO, Bauer Media, commented: “The sale of Australian Geographic is consistent with our strategy of focusing resources and investment on our core consumer and customer segments. I’m delighted that the magazine and its staff are going to a home that is so passionate about documenting Australian landscapes, wildlife and adventure. I thank all staff who have worked on Australian Geographic and wish them and the new owners every success.”
Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. It creates content for multiple genres including factual, factual entertainment, short-form digital series and kids programming.
The distribution business Blue Ant International offers a catalogue of 3,200+ hours of content, including the largest 4K natural history offering on the market.
Blue Ant Media’s international channel business offers a portfolio of media brands such as Love Nature (International), ZooMoo Networks (International), Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada), Blue Ant Entertainment (International), Blue Ant Extreme (International) and HGTV (New Zealand).
Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with operations in Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Dunedin, London, Washington, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei.
Enjoying a rare break from the 2018 Awards season (due to the Winter Olympics), Nelson Aspen travelled to Sydney to celebrate his TV milestone and make even rarer appearances live in the Sunrise studio.
Oscars rights holder Nine and Seven were feuding over red carpet access for Seven prior to the Oscars. Nine tried to ban Seven from the Oscars red carpet. Although he regularly spends Oscars week in LA, Aspen wasn’t rostered on this year. Edwina Bartholomew had that gig, working on Oscars day from the building next door to the Dolby Theatre after being refused accreditation at the event. For crosses to the red carpet, Seven was using a reporter from Los Angeles station KTLA.
Speaking to Mediaweek the day before he jetted back to New York for two days before crossing the US again bound for the Oscars, Aspen explained how he came to Australian breakfast TV via a “happy accident”.
At his Sydney harbourside hotel, Aspen said: “I had been working for Britain’s GMTV breakfast show back when Seven’s breakfast EP Adam Boland was checking other breakfast TV shows.”
Boland gave Aspen a call and it turned out Aspen knew Seven’s LA bureau chief Mike Amor, who was married to one of Aspen’s former students.
“I did one report and they asked me back again and something just clicked and I eventually started reporting daily.”
Aspen was living in Los Angeles when he started with Sunrise. Later he moved to New York. “I am originally from New York and I lived there from 1980 to 1990. I worked as an actor in TV soap operas and there wasn’t much TV work in New York.
“I went west for the TV, but I had been an aerobics instructor to pay the bills. I was a popular teacher and I was asked to go to England and train Princess Diana. During my trip I appeared on the TV show This Morning [with Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley] while I was there, later making the move to GMTV.”
Aspen found that Sunrise was sending him to New York often for press junkets and he started to realise how much he missed his friends and family.
“I have now been back in New York for six years. I visit Los Angeles regularly though and I am there twice in March for the Oscars and another trip for a set visit.”
The number of Australians that have had substantial career success in the US has kept Australia upper-mind in the entertainment world, which has been good for Aspen.
Most of Aspen’s reports are on-assignment, which means he has a very busy first three months because of the Awards season.
“The entertainment industry never slows down, but the first quarter is crazy busy. The end of the year slows as the holidays start, but it is very busy leading into that.”
He understands that Sunrise is continually refreshing the format, and is thankful he has remained part of the team.
“My obligations have expanded and contracted over the years. There was a time when I was on air four times a day, five days a week, and then did Weekend Sunrise too. There have been months when I wasn’t on at all regularly and I did breaking news reports.
“The New York time difference is very agreeable for me. I can film a story in the morning, go for a run and then do a cross in the afternoon.”
• Black Panther to crack $40m in third week, Red Sparrow opens with $2.75m
• The Oscar-winning movie that has quietly crept its way to $10m
Mediaweek editor James Manning looks at the weekend box office for March 1-4, 2018.
Weekend box office for the first week of autumn was $12.6m, down 23% on the previous weekend. Black Panther was again the big driver of ticket sales, while there were just two new releases in the top 20.
Three big movies continue to dominate in the top 20 with Black Panther, The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle taking just on $110m between them.
The movie continues to report strong revenues and it narrowly trails only The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle in terms of what the movies had all earned after three weekends. Black Panther takings were down 40% this weekend but it still screens on over 500 screens with a screen average just under $9,000.
The new spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence also features Joel Edgerton. The Fox release opened on 293 screens and had the best screen average of the weekend for any film on wide release – $9,417.
The second weekend of the comedy was down 34%. The film shed 38 screens to 249 with a screen average of $5,145.
Takings dropped 25% as the movie remained on 260 screens with a screen average of $2,911.
A 10th week in the top five with the screens showing the movie dipping significantly from 386 to 251 with a screen average of $2,686. The movie has now passed $31.5m to-date.
The only other new release this weekend was Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool. The film tells the story of Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame in the English city. It opened on just 111 screens, which was a good decision as it only managed a screen average of $1,000, giving it a weekend take of $111,000.
The biggest winners at the Oscars haven’t exactly been setting the box office chart alive.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has been a sleeper though and sits inside the top 10 after nine weeks. The movie has crept its way to $10.43m and is still being screened on 181 screens.
The year’s best movie according to Academy members, The Shape Of Water, has been on the chart for seven weeks. It sits at #18 this week with a total to-date of $3.53m.
The Darkest Hour has been charting for eight weeks. It sits at #16 this week with a total to-date of $6.97m.
Pictured above: Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow
• Married and My Kitchen Rules again carve up the audience – both over 1m
• Best of the rest: A Current Affair, Travel Guides, Home and Away
By James Manning
Home and Away started its new ratings week with 648,000 after a week 9 average of 661,000.
On My Kitchen Rules, Roula and Rachael were shown the door after the in-laws came from behind to deliver their best dishes yet on the episode from the elimination house. Despite starting with just scores of 4 out of 10 from both judges for the first course, Dan and Gemma recovered nicely with 8 out of 10 from both judges for the remaining two courses to grab the win. The Monday episode did 1.06m, close to last week’s 1.07m, which was the most-watched MKR last week.
Seven then gave audiences two episodes of The Resident, which means expectations have been lowered dramatically after it launched to 576,000 last week. The episodes last night did 445,000 and 307,000.
A Current Affair started the week on 884,000 after a week 9 average of 792,000.
Married At First Sight was down a little from its record-breaking Sunday crowd of 1.53m to 1.27m, just short of Monday in week 9 when it did 1.32m.
Travel Guides visited Vietnam with 677,000 watching, almost spot on with last week’s 666,000.
Earlier in the day live coverage of the Oscars did 385,000.
The Project started on 346,000 and them lifted to 570,000 after 7pm. The cavalcade of comedians continued with Damien Power a Monday guest. The 7pm part of the show averaged 504,000 last week.
Josh Gibson left the jungle with just under 600,000 watching the eviction in the I’m A Celebrity regular episode.
Two episodes of Law & Order: SVU then did 314,000 and then 162,000.
7.30 started its week on 554,000 after a week 9 average on 551,000.
The Monday night regulars rated as follows:
Australian Story 645,000 (612,000 last week)
Four Corners 602,000 (562,000)
Media Watch 525,000 (552,000)
Q&A 445,000 (442,000)
River Cottage Australia was the first of three primetime repeats with the biggest audience of 203,000.
Then Michael Mosley’s Trust Me I’m A Doctor and 24 Hours in Emergency both did just over 170,000.
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||3.1%||ELEVEN||1.7%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||4.6%||GEM||2.7%||ELEVEN||1.9%||Food Net||0.7%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top 5
18-49 Top 5
25-54 Top 5
Updated January media ad spend data from Standard Media Index shows the total back just 0.3% from last year’s record January result at $461.5 million.
This is the first full update of SMI’s media ad spend data at the end of the month, with the company previously only re-releasing the digital totals to capture that media’s late Digital bookings.
In the past two weeks, SMI has collected an extra $36.2 million in late bookings with the vast majority ($29 million) being for digital media.
Demand for digital ad spend grew 2.3% in January, with the month’s digital data also notable for the fact that agency spending to search has overtaken the amount spent on content sites. This is mostly due to digital publishers facing more pressure to trade through programmatic platforms rather than directly with media agencies. It’s also worth noting that the 2.3% growth rate for digital is also the third-lowest reported for the media in SMI’s 10-year data history.
Elsewhere the updated data showed the year-on-year increase in pure broadcast TV spending grew from 1.3% to 1.9%, and the early 0.3% increase in outdoor ad spend lifted to an increase of 5.1%.
Seek has entered into a binding agreement to increase its ownership in Seek Asia from 86.25% to 100% by acquiring the remaining 13.75% of shares from News Corporation.
Andrew Bassat, CEO and co-founder of Seek, said, “We are very pleased to move to 100% ownership in Seek Asia. Seek’s recent changes in organisational structure will lead to Seek Asia being more integrated in the AP&A structure. Against this backdrop, this transaction is a logical outcome for both News Corporation and Seek and I would like to thank News Corporation for being a valuable partner.
“We are very excited about the growth potential for Seek Asia which operates in seven high-growth countries across the region. This business has managed a complex integration and we are already seeing good operational and financial results from our recent reinvestment. We hope to see this improvement accelerate over time as we launch new products and services at a faster rate to better meet the needs of candidates and hirers.”
Bassat said the transaction is expected to be completed by March 16, 2018 and will be funded by existing debt facilities.
Hoyts group CEO Damian Keogh has announced the promotion of Dan Hill to the role of CEO, Val Morgan Group.
Hill (pictured) was previously the managing director of Val Morgan Cinema and under his new remit he will take on the leadership and responsibility for the group including cinema and the digital outdoor business, VMO.
“Dan is a proven high performer and we look forward to him bringing the same leadership and skill he has shown at Val Morgan Cinema to the wider Val Morgan Group,” Keogh commented.
Meanwhile Anthony Deeble has been promoted to chief commercial officer across the Hoyts group. Deeble will work closely on the business’s capital investment program and new business opportunities in Australia and internationally. He will also drive the operations and commercial growth across the wider Val Morgan group.
Dual-listed New Zealand pay TV operator Sky Network Television has no strategic investors, only a handful of substantial shareholders and a market value that has close to halved in the past 12 months, reports The AFR’s Street Talk.
Its biggest shareholder is funds management giant BlackRock, which has a 13.2% stake in the company.
And equities desks on both sides of the Tasman are known to be sniffing around BlackRock, testing whether there is a potential selldown.
The last time there was a chunky Sky Network stake in the market was 2013, when Deutsche Bank was selling for News Corp. That deal was done at $3.89 a share. Sky Network closed at $2.15 on Monday.
A new organisation called Dame Changer is calling for a diverse and inclusive screen industry that thrives through collaboration and solidarity, builds upon the strength and experience of women at all levels, and actively supports and sustains women’s careers over the long term and into leadership roles.
“We see the potential for women in the screen industry to become leaders of social change beyond the screen.”
Dame Changer members include women writers, directors, producers, directors of photography, production designers, editors, composers and other creative heads of department, as well as from the finance, acquisition, legal and accounting, sales and distribution, marketing and other business sectors.
The organisation’s patron is film critic Margaret Pomeranz. Ausfilm CEO Debra Richards and executive producer Bridget Ikin are on the advisory board while Film Finances Australia’s Anni Browning is on the management team.
Dame Changer is this week presenting a special International Women’s Day edition of The Inspire Series featuring Gretel Killeen and Margaret Pomeranz in Sydney with tickets now on sale at $128.
Foreign interference laws that prompted trenchant criticism from media organisations will be redrafted to ensure they do not hinder journalists reporting on national security matters, Attorney-General Christian Porter has announced, reports Fairfax Media’s David Wroe.
However, the amendments fall short of the broader defence that media organisations wanted for news reporting which would have covered them against the new secrecy and espionage laws.
The changes received only qualified praise from the Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance, the union that represents journalists. Chief executive Paul Murphy said it was “clear that there have been some improvements”.
“But it is also apparent that there is no exemption for media,” he said, adding that the union would further consider the amendments in coming days.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Fairfax Media’s premium food brand Good Food is showcasing the women making waves in Australia’s food, wine and beer industries.
Available with Fairfax’s print mastheads, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and online on Tuesday March 6 ahead of International Women’s Day (Thursday March 8), the Good Food special issue includes the female chefs, producers, wine and beer makers and distillers who stand out in their field. The special issue profiles these women from restaurants in Tassie, vineyards in Victoria and beer brewers in Queensland and is written, reviewed and edited all by an all-female editorial team.
On the cover is Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo, an Aboriginal elder in Sydney who trains Australia’s next generation of indigenous hospitality workers and also works to educate many internationally renowned chefs, including notable chef René Redzepi, about native Australian ingredients.
“To mark International Women’s Day, we wanted to pay particular attention and recognise the women in Australia who contribute to keeping food and wine standards high and who innovate in our industry,” said Ardyn Bernoth, national editor Good Food.
“In this issue of Good Food, we cover the female trailblazers of the food industry, women in the kitchen but also out in the field as farmers, cheesemakers and truffle hunters because great food and drink starts well before what people experience in a restaurant. Congratulations to those included as well as those around them supporting their efforts.”
A full list can be found in the Good Food magazine or online at goodfood.com.au.
Pacific’s Girlfriend brand has joined forces with Australia’s most inspirational Gen Z influencers to launch the Girlfriend Movement, a new campaign to empower the next generation of women.
Tamara Davis, Girlfriend’s content director, said: “Empowered women empower women. At Girlfriend, we create a culture of support and self-belief. We’re the teen girl cheer squad, uplifting her, inspiring her and promoting her personal growth. Because when girls feel supported, they can do anything.
“The Girlfriend Movement takes the philosophy that’s been at the core of our brand for almost 30 years – to the next level. We have a vision to unite and empower all Australian girls to believe they can.”
An ambassador campaign features 10 leading teen influencers including Samantha Harris (model), Olivia Deeble (actress), Liv Phyland and Teigan Nash (Girls Who Glow), The Greene Sisters (professional surfers and equality campaigners), Alana Wulff (Girlish), Isabella Dymalovski (Luv Ur Skin) and Kate Gibbs and Georgia Wasley (body image warriors) fronting the movement and creating social hype.
The campaign is being backed by the leaders of Pacific’s most influential brands including soon-to-depart publisher Jackie Frank, marie claire editor Nicky Briger, InStyle editor Emily Taylor and Women’s Health editor Jacqueline Mooney.
Louisa Hatfield, general manager – family and entertainment at Pacific, said: “The global movement around this issue is well-known. From Emma Watson to Emma Gonzalez, Oprah to Meghan Markle or our own Greene Sisters, women and girls around the world are rising up and taking a stand.
“Gen Z girls will reshape the world as we know it. They’re teenpreneurs and tech queens, activists and influencers, opinion leaders and game changers. This is a new generation of girl power – young women who are hyper aware of the world around them, who believe in equality and positivity and want to feel part of something greater.”
Over the next 12 months, the Girlfriend Movement will come to life across all the brand’s channels, reaching more than 2.5 million audience touchpoints.
The official voting period for the 60th TV Week Logie Awards is now open, closing on Sunday April 1.
Fans can cast their vote through the official website: tvweeklogieawards.com.au.
This is the public’s chance to vote in the 10 Most Popular categories, which include Most Popular Actor, Most Popular Actress and the TV Week Gold Logie Award For Most Popular Personality On Australian TV.
“The moment has come for Australia to have its say,” TV Week editor Thomas Woodgate said. “It’s been another incredible year of television, so the competition in all categories will be fierce – especially in the race for the TV Week Gold Logie.
“Last year, we saw an impressive number of votes lodged and I expect us to break all records again this year. I urge everyone to get voting to make sure their favourite star and show will make the shortlist.”
The 60th TV Week Logie Awards will take place on Sunday July 1, 2018 at The Star Gold Coast in Queensland. All the action from the red-carpet arrivals and awards-show celebrations will be telecast on the Nine Network and 9Now.
Live voting for the 10 Most Popular awards – including the Gold Logie – will reopen on Friday June 29, and will finish at the end of the TV Week Logie Awards red-carpet telecast on the Nine Network and 9Now on Sunday July 1.
Actor, producer and writer Chris Lilley will film his next television series in Queensland for Netflix.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 10-episode comedy project would film between March and June 2018, and generate a $6.35 million boost for the local economy.
“I am delighted to have enticed Chris Lilley and producer Laura Waters to Queensland,” the premier said.
“The series will employ up to 250 Queensland cast and extras, plus around 100 Queensland crew.
“The project will also support two local screen practitioners, who will have the opportunity to work on the series to further develop their professional skills.”
The series comes to Queensland as part of the Queensland Government’s $50 million production attraction strategy, which has already attracted major film and television productions including Thor: Ragnarok, Aquaman, Tidelands and Harrow.
“Queensland’s continued ability to attract high-quality film and television production is a testament to our local screen industry,” the premier said.
Chris Lilley and Laura Waters have won several awards during their partnership, producing five nationally and internationally successful television series – We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, Ja’mie: Private School Girl and Jonah From Tonga.
The upcoming Chris Lilley project is among numerous other Netflix investments in Australian content, including its first Australian original supernatural crime drama Tidelands, which also starts production in Queensland in 2018. Additional series include co-productions Pine Gap, The New Legends of Monkey, Glitch, Beat Bugs, Bottersnikes & Gumbles, Kazoops, Mako Mermaids: An H20 Adventure and White Rabbit Project, among others.
Noni Hazlehurst, Patti Newton, Todd McKenney and Justine Clarke are part of the season nine cast of SBS’s genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, which investigates the ancestry of prominent Australians.
The all-new eight-part series, which also stars Charlie Teo, John Jarratt, Ernie Dingo and Natalie Imbruglia, premieres on SBS on Tuesday April 17 at 7.30 pm.
The stories in season nine of Who Do You Think You Are? uncover surprising and unlikely tales of child stars performing in 19th-century India, working class heroes fighting battles against Napoleon and how the fall of the iron curtain divided a family. One performer discovers stories of romance and heartbreak in her family of travelling acrobats, another’s unknown ties to Chinese ancestry are revealed, and another participant is shocked to learn of a dark family secret involving infanticide.
Who Do You Think You Are? is produced by Warner Bros. International Television Production Australia for SBS.
After a less than spectacular launch, Seven has moved Australian Spartan out of the Sunday night timeslot. The network is still optimistic it will build an audience for the format when it returns to the schedule later in March as Seven starts broadcasting the start of the 2018 AFL season.
Seven is happy with the production values from Matchbox and Eureka.
It is believed the format will return in the Easter school holiday break where families are more likely to make time to sample the series. However, it would seem unlikely Seven would try the program again in the critical 7pm Sunday timeslot.
That also means Spartan might not be going head to head with Nine’s Married At First Sight, which will wrap before the Easter TV ratings survey break.
After Spartan launched with an audience over 800,000, the audience for the second episode dropped below 600,000.
Angus Ross, Seven’s director of programming, said: “Despite the best efforts of a great team on both sides of the camera, the show has not done the job it needed to do in its current timeslot.
“Australian Spartan will take a two-week break before finding its new home in the primetime schedule, in line with the 2018 AFL season kick-off.
“The series will return with 15 teams entering the Spartan arena to compete in the finals decider shows leading to the ultimate test of endurance, strength and teamwork and $150,000 in prize money.”