We don’t usually pay much attention to the commercial networks when they announce their line-ups for the coming year because it’s been a long time since any of them were intentionally in the comedy business. But Ten just released some details of their 2018 slate, and… eh, let’s just dive right in:
MasterChef (including Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson as guests)
I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! (first clue: “Two Aussie icons in the middle of Australia’s biggest feud)
Survivor: Champions v Contenders (high-profile sportspeople and entertainers versus “ordinary” Aussies)
KFC Big Bash League
Rebel Women’s Big Bash League
Have You Been Paying Attention?
The Living Room
Todd Sampson’s Body Hack 2.0
Of course Cram! is returning: despite being shithouse, they probably filmed 80 episodes over a weekend.
The Wrong Girl
AKA “every show on Ten that costs money to make”. But it’s the new shows that are of real interest to us:
Blind Date: Australia had a version of Blind Date in the late 1960s, and that format was later adapted to Perfect Match – a hit on Ten in the ’80s. Now, the network will launch a fresh season of Blind Date, based on the UK game show of the same name. Hosted by Julia Morris, each episode features a single person quizzing three potential partners. “It’s an old school studio entertainment show.”
Are there four words better at draining all the romance out of a room than “hosted by Julia Morris”? Just don’t tell anyone at Ten about Tinder.
How to Stay Married: Lisa McCune and Peter Helliar star in this drama about a couple, stuck in a rut after 12 years of marriage. Just as he is made redundant, she returns to work for the first time since their children were born.
Far be it for us to give advice to the Australian entertainment industry, but this whole “Peter Helliar, modern master of love” thing he’s been peddling with I Love You Too and It’s a Date and now this? No-one out in the real world is buying it. We barely bought Helliar as Straunchie: trying to pretend (with an extended version of that firmly average episode of It’s a Date he starred in) that he’s got any more insight into matters of the heart than your average tin of dog food is funnier than anything he’s said in the last fifteen years.
Hughesy, We Have a Problem: The former Project and Before the Game co-host is back on Ten. Each week, guest comedians and entertainers try to solve “everyday problems”, from infidelity to fights over the remote.
Presumably every solution involves getting angry.
Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures: Scheduled to air this year, but filming took longer than expected. Made by Working Dog Productions, it stars Glenn Robbins as the accident-prone outdoorsman.
This might actually be funny. Which means the cosmic balance must be maintained, and so we also have:
Street Smart: A half-hour scripted comedy, about a gang of inept criminals, starring Tahir Bilgic and Rob Shehadie. “It has a proper multicultural cast, and it’s written by Tahir and Rob – you can hear their voices [in the writing]. People will be inclined to compare it to Here Come the Habibs!, but it feels very different.”
In that it’s being screened on Channel Ten.
Look, at least they’re trying new things. And by new things we mean that everything “new” mentioned here is either a revival, hosted by someone with a twenty year career, a reworking of something from another network, or a revival hosted by someone with a twenty year career. Did we mention we usually ignore the commercial networks when they announce their line-ups for the coming year?
Helliar is clearly extorting someone very powerful at channel 10, about something very illegal.
How the fuck else can you explain a man with no discernible comedic, hosting, or dramatic talents being offered the opportunity to cover the full spectrum, simultaneously, on their network?
I’ve never seen a void of personality so gracelessly forced down the throat of the public since Eddie McGuire’s run at broadcast ubiquity on channel 9, and even that smug bag of air wasn’t so far gone that he thought he could fool people into believing he had a shot with Lisa McCune.
I’m also wondering if straight up calling it a drama, rather than playing the ‘dramedy’ card, is just a rare flash of foresight from the marketing department. Not even they can stretch the vague, half-nonsense affix of ‘-medy’ to justify Helliar mugging at the screen.
Credit to 10 at least for doing some comedy and the Julia Morris angle doesn’t bother me.