9 Network and Endemol Shine Australia have unveiled a new travel adventure series entitled “Rush,” hosted by “Australian Survivor” star David Genat.
“Rush,” an original concept developed by ESA and Nine, follows 12 contestants deprived of all their senses who are then dropped into exotic locations and festivals around the world and must work together to complete the mission and reach a designated escape zone before they can continue on their global adventure where team members are progressively eliminated until one winner remains.
“It’s a spectacular take on the travel reality series on a scale never attempted on Australian TV,” said Peter Newman, Endemol Shine Australia CEO, speaking exclusively with Variety at their Sydney office.
Newman has led ESA’s creative teams to deliver some of the biggest hits on Australian television over the last decade, including “MasterChef,” “Australian Survivor,” “Married At First Sight,” “Big Brother,” “LEGO Masters,” “Australian Ninja Warrior” and “Gogglebox.”
With an unparalleled record of prime time TV hits, the announcement of “Rush” signals a new exciting phase for ESA as they develop original Australian concepts. “We have a global reputation for being a company that supervised other formats and sent them out to the world with great success,” said Newman. “We are now creating original formats that we hope we will be able to sell overseas.”
Newman, who began his career at the BBC in his native London before moving to Australia, has been with the company since 2012 serving as chief content officer before taking the reins of CEO in 2020. Newman navigated the company through tough COVID restrictions that saw Australian international and state borders closed. With a large locked-down audience eager for entertainment, ESA were able to deliver a constant content pipeline to free to air networks. “I’m proud to say we didn’t close any production through that time,” says Newman.
With the tsunami of streaming content available, Newman is confident that broadcasters are adapting to maintain their audiences. “This year, it’s been exciting to see them grow their BVOD services. For Nine Network’s hit show ‘Married At First Sight,’ their BVOD service 9Now attracted numbers up to 600,000. “When you marry that with free to air, ‘Married’s’ total TV number was tracking about 1.9 million an episode, which made it the biggest water cooler show on television this year,” said Newman.
Australians love their reality TV, with networks depending on them for their prime time schedules. “There is nowhere in the world that consumes unscripted television like Australia and we need to be able to make big shows that can be stripped across a week,” said Newman.
It’s that ability to supersize formats with high level production values that have made ESA a global success, reinvigorating formats and in turn selling those versions into many different territories.
“Masterchef,” which begins its 15th season next week in Australia, has been rolled out to 50 different territories, while their version of “LEGO Masters” helped push the format into many more countries, including the U.S. and China.
“From our perspective, the shows that are really flying the flag for us around the world right now are ‘MasterChef Australia,’ ‘Australian Survivor,’ ‘LEGO Masters’ and our version of ‘Married at First Sight.’ I think that’s pretty indicative of the hot genres globally, with probably adventure reality and relationship shows leading the charge,” said Newman.
It’s not merely a case of only importing and adapting formats; local programming demands more innovation which has become crucial.
“As producers in this highly competitive environment we have to be constantly innovating. Firstly, and most importantly, in how we creatively tackle new shows in the planning phase but then also in how we produce them in the field, not just editorially but also in terms of things like the technology we can bring to a production,” said Newman. “The pace of evolution within all genres is rapid and we constantly challenge ourselves to be at the forefront of that, ensuring we are pushing the boundaries creatively and in turn breaking new ground with our shows. Given the choice the audience has these days, it’s bold, fresh program making that’s being rewarded.”
It’s this experience that fuels his passion to steer the company to create original Australian formats.
“Rush” will be the third original series to be launched. The first, “Love Triangle,” a modern take on dating, screened on Nine’s streamer Stan. The forthcoming “The Summit” (produced with the Nine Network) is a high-octane travel adventure that pits 14 contestants to reach the top of a mountain with heart-thumping twists and challenges along the way. The show is hosted by Australian actor Jai Courtney (“Insurgent,” “Terminator Genisys”) and was shot in New Zealand.
“These are ambitious big formats we hope will have the potential to sell into over 10 territories around the world. That’s our aim,” says Newman.
ESA is also expanding in the scripted space and will be producing in association with CBS Studios the first iteration of “NCIS” based outside the U.S. with “NCIS: Sydney,” which will soon go into production and will screen on Paramount+ and Network 10 in Australia.
While Newman says there is an increasing appetite for drama among the streamers, he feels local content still needs to grow. “Some streamers are very active in the space, but I still think that compared to other countries there is a relative lack of content coming out of Australia from the streamers,” he said.
He’s hoping the long discussed government-mandated quotas of Australian content for streamers will be instigated. “We are supporters and played an active part in pushing for them,” he said.
Read More About:
Source: Read Full Article