Australia’s Channel Seven orders ‘Big Brother’ reboot

Big Brother

Endemol Shine’s Big Brother is returning to Australia as part of a “content-led growth strategy” at Channel Seven.

The channel – whose owner, Seven West Media, is set to merge with affiliated regional broadcaster Prime Media – has ordered a local version of the format from Endemol Shine Australia, set to air in 2020.

The Australian reboot marks the sixth comeback for the format, which was most recently commissioned by Greek channel Skai.

The format has already returned to Poland and Finland this year, both of which were filmed in existing locations using new technology, as well as Germany, where the civilian version will be brought back in 2020, following several celebrity editions and a five-year break.

Big Brother’s Australian comeback comes as Channel Seven looks to merge with Prime in a deal worth AUS$63m ($43m) – a deal that is set to complete in early 2020.

James Warburton, MD and CEO of Seven West Media, said: “I’ve been clear from day one that we’re executing a content-led growth strategy. To that end, we’re investing 30% more in our tentpole programmes and franchises.”

Seven’s new titles for next year also include reimagined editions of My Kitchen Rules and House Rules.

Produced by Seven Studios, My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals follows five former favourite teams who go head-to-head with five new teams in one of the toughest competitions yet. Meanwhile, in the Seven Studios-produced House Rules: High Stakes, eight new teams will have to transform a high-rise penthouse on the Gold Coast.

Elsewhere, Channel Seven has also commissioned Endemol Shine Australia for action-drama RFDS, which will follow the individuals of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Funding body Screen Australia is also supporting the production.

Based on real-life stories and filmed on location in and around Broken Hill, the series captures the brutality of Australia’s landscape where the doctors, nurses, pilots and support staff of the RFDS negotiate the challenges of emergency retrievals across some of the most inhospitable places in the country.

Angus Ross, Channel Seven’s director of network programming, said: “We’re thrilled to bring the extraordinary stories of the Flying Doctor to our viewers. This is compelling Australian storytelling on an epic scale, rich with heart, humour and adrenaline-pumping action drawn from the real-life emergencies these medical heroes face every day.”

Mark Fennessy, CEO of Endemol Shine Australia, said: “The RFDS is a truly unique part of our vast Australian outback heritage. We’re delighted to be crafting a contemporary and cinematic drama showcasing the incredible work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the gripping stories of regional Australia”.

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