Putting the Heart back into Nine

The clouds are parting and Nine is looking to blue skies.

Dwarfed by a reinvigorated Channel Nine logo, newly-installed boss David Gyngell last night launched the network’s new programming for 2008 in Melbourne. It followed a similar event in Sydney.

“We Heart TV” was the message of the night and becomes the 2008 slogan (note: not ‘We Love TV’ as has been previously reported). It is set to join the final return of Nine’s balls, all highly symbolic as the network loses the ratings year to Seven after tomorrow.

With Nine stablemates looking on from the wings including Bert Newton, Eddie McGuire, Peter Hitchener, Ed Phillips, Livinia Nixon, Mike Munro, Trevor Marmalade, Rob Mills, the cast of Underbelly and Canal Road plus Nine News journalists, David Gyngell delivered a pragmatic, scriptless and cautious introduction to the 2008 slate. If Nine gave us spin with talkshow turned boss Eddie McGuire last year, it was now shifting to a more frank, honest style under Gyngell.

Preceded by PBL’s Ian Law and new GTV boss Jeffrey Browne, Gyngell was blunt in admitting Nine had some work cut out for itself. “Programming got us into this, and programming will get us out,” he said. In launching over 40 new shows, Gyngell said audiences would be able to find something in its offerings that they could “pull out and connect with.” But not everything was a recipe for success he observed. “This is television.”

More consistent programming was also acknowledged.

In meeting the media and advertisers, Gyngell came across as both realist, optimist and devotee. If anyone is going to put the heart back into Nine, the son of the first man on Australian telly has to be it.

Heading up Nine’s 2008 slate is the highly-anticipated Underbelly gangster drama. The trailer screened to the audience looks a knockout. This drama, propelled by support from McGuire during his CEO reign, should be must-see TV. It is complemented by the drama Canal Road. Nine also has 3 other new locally-produced dramas including a fire-based miniseries Scorched.

There is a host of new game shows, Power of Ten, Amnesia, Jingles, an unnamed gameshow from the producers of the National IQ Test and a local version of the Japanese YouTube hit Hole in the Wall. There is also an unnamed “reality sitcom” with an improvisation element.

In reality there is The Chopping Block, Here Come the Newlyweds, Domestic Blitz, the stage mothers of I Know My Kid’s a Star and Million Dollar Salon. Nine has also given the thumbs up to a second Farmer Wants a Wife.

In factual Nine tries its own version of RSPCA Animal Rescue titled Animal Emergency, relaunches the 2007 misfired RFDS Royal Flying Doctor Service and unveils Search and Rescue, Fire 000 and The Waiting Room.

New Australian Drama
Canal Road
Young Doctors
The Strip

New Overseas Drama
Pushing Daisies
Cashmere Mafia
Big Shots
Canterbury’s Law
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Secret Diary of a Call Girl
Rock Rivals

New Factual
Search and Rescue
Animal Emergency
The Waiting Room
RFDS Royal Flying Doctor Service
Weddings (10 years on Special)
Fire 000
Sensing Murder
Extraordinary Animals
Life in Cold Blood with David Attenborough
Monarchy – The Royal Family at Work (previously due in 2007)
Heroes and Villains
The Irwin Family’s Australia Zoo

New Entertainment
Power of 10
This is Your Life (new look)
Hole in the Wall
‘New Gameshow’ from National IQ Test producers
Toasted and Roasted Specials
‘Unnamed reality sitcom’

New Reality
The Chopping Block
Here Come the Newlyweds
Domestic Blitz
I Know My Kid’s a Star
The Million Dollar Salon

New Sport
Wide World of Sports Weekend Edition
NRL 100 Years of Rugby League Special
Swimming: Olympic Trials

The second season of Sea Patrol is subtitled “The Coup.”

Nine is also returning all CSI franchises, Cold Case, Without a Trace, Hotel Babylon, ER, Damages, Primeval, Funniest Home Videos, Temptation, Getaway, 20 to 1, Today, Mornings with Kerri-Anne, A Current Affair, McLeod’s Daughters, Missing Persons Unit, RPA, Sunday, 60 Minutes and both Footy Shows. Events include TV’s 50th Logie Awards and The Academy Awards.

It has to be acknowledged the gathered guests all seemed impressed, or possibly amazed, by Hole in the Wall, which has been previously reported here, but can this outrageous show maintain interest beyond its YouTube ‘wow factor?’

In launching the 2008 branding it is also significant to identify what was NOT mentioned.

Some question marks now hover. Ray Martin, who had publicly pitched for his own show, was only visible as part of Sunday. Catriona Rowntree, who will host The Chopping Block, was not evident on the imagery for Getaway. Rowntree was undermined by a derisive comment from co-star Ben Dark during a shoot for Surprise Surprise Gotcha earlier this year.

There didn’t appear to be any mention of 1 vs 100 or Who Wants to be a Millionaire, although McGuire did say “see you next year” in signing off earlier this week. He was also in attendance and part of the promo material.

Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin was also there in the images of Sydney’s NRL Footy Show.

No mention of Don Burke, Sigrid Thornton or What’s Good For You or The Singing Bee and “Joey. Fatone.”

David Gyngell also confirmed Nine would be spending up big on marketing, including radio, print, online, bus shelters and more. He seemed particularly keen to impact in digital arenas.

The launch of Nine’s High-Def Channel is set for March. It was important, he emphasised, to understand 9HD is “not a new channel, it is a migration.”

He added that a third channel for 2009 would however, be a whole new channel.

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  1. well theres one day left in 2008, 9 don’t have much time to keep a lot of these promises.

    so many of these shows never made it to air.
    Amnesia, Jingles, gameshow from the producers of the National IQ Test, Here Come the Newlyweds, Million Dollar Salon, Pushing Daisies, Chuck, (well we know where they are) Big Shots, Canterbury’s Law, Rock Rivals, Extraordinary Animals, Monarchy – The Royal Family at Work, Heroes and Villains, Hunted, The Irwin Family’s Australia Zoo, Toasted and Roasted Specials, “Unnamed reality sitcom”, Hotel Babylon, Damages, Primeval. (correct me if some of these did make it that i missed)

    some of you up there would make very good psychics, maybe you should work for 9.

    and dear god, lose the “we heart tv” already i still cringe at it after a year.

  2. Nine is going to have a hard time bringing back viewers after they kept shitting with us – and their new lineup will make it even harder.

    If things keep going like they’re going, Channel Nine will fall below the rest, and with Ten’s very good new lineup, they’ll bring in more audiences. Ten will be number one in the future of Australian Television because they’re already winning with the future australian viewers.

    Channel Seven and Ten look much better for ’08.

  3. 2008 is so totally Channel Nine. Good on you David Gyngell. This just proves that Nine has direction in 08. Sure Nine may not win, but hey there giving it a red hot go. Really what ever the results say Nine will always be Australia’s Number 1 network. Good Luck Nine. Seven watch your back. Nine is back.
    We Love Nine
    We Love TV
    Channel Nine Still The One

  4. I think all the Aussie drama should be good. Fire 000 could work seeing as the force and border did, so it makes sense. But all the American shows – i don’t think there’s a hit amongst them

  5. Nine needs more hits to its name. They’re at a point where they’ll commission everything until they get something that works and I agree that some if not most of those shows will flop, but there will almost definitely be a couple that resonate with viewers and deliver solid ratings.

  6. sounds like a bit of a mixed bag to me
    there’s the good (Canal Road, Underbelly,Chuck,Pushing Daises,The Sarah Connor Chronicals,Canterbury’s Law,Cashmere Mafia,The Chopping Block) then the bad (pretty much everything else new)

    half the shows sound like massive flops (Irwan Family…,I know my kid’s a star,scorched)….im not so sure Nine will have a massive year next year….no way will they win….i expect a similar if not lower market share

    and to those who say Seven is past it for 08, get realistic….seven has just one re-born series (a new-look Gladiators) where Nine has both Young Doctors (aussie Grey’s Anatomy) & This Is Your Life

    then there’s the fact Seven has picked up 2 of the hottest new US series (Private Practice & Samantha Who?) in one bad US TV season, as well as 2 It Takes Two series, the 20th anniversery of H&A,new City Homicide, a revamped DWTS (well we expect), Australia’s Got Talent, all their big US hits,AFL, & lastly the 08 Olympics

    need i go on?

  7. I’m optimistic. I loved 9 back in the day and am disappointed where it landed in the past few years, but Gyngell is probably a ray of sunshine injecting new light and I think 9 will be number one again, it might take a few years but it’ll get there.

    I especially loved the fact that there’s so much locally made drama. Underbelly’s gonna kick arse. 9’s definitely the Aussie drama network, and hopefully this will take away from the American content dominating our screens.

  8. Luke (sexyer1)

    I think this logo has HD and Digital TV in mind, nice skylines look brilliant in digital.

    Unfortunately I think the programming line-up looks shocking, I can tell I’ll be watching even less of ch9 next year.

    “The Irwin Family’s Australia Zoo” & “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” what a waste of space.

    And though I hate shows such as “Search and Rescue”, “Animal Emergency”, “The Waiting Room”, “RFDS Royal Flying Doctor Service”, “Weddings (10 years on Special)”, “Fire 000” & “Extraordinary Animals” and think the camera crews are a waste of space, I guess if it draws attention to needed funding or something then that might be good for the places involved, but I wont bother to watch.. I’d rather watch paint dry than watch these type of shows..

    I’m sort of surprised “Canal Road” made it to air, I saw the pilot and it really wasn’t anything special..

  9. My understanding is the game shows will all be Aussie versions. Would be mad to do otherwise.

    No word on a Seven launch yet.

    Not sure about Sensing Murder, there is an overseas one too.

  10. To those who said seven doesn’t have much in the tank, clearly don’t realise that seven has acquired the highest rated new shows from the US, such as Private Practice and Samantha Who? and what does nine have, Oh yeah that’s right Csi and more Csi. The shows that they got from the US such as pushing daisies and chuck we’ll be lucky to make it past the third episode. Face nine is the 55+ network as all the other demographics have all but abandoned it and no wonder when channel nine takes off a show immidietely if it isn’t a huge ratings sucess from the get go.

  11. To those who say Nine chop and change programs um..Shark and Las Vegas ring a bell! It’s a business afterall. Anyway looks like Nine is loaded with new hits while Seven has gone stale and run dry..um Gladiators :)

  12. thanks for clearing that up David, I always interpreted the “I (heart) NY” as “I Love NY” because that’s a sensical statement. It’s a shame that Nine has to resort to a lame Americanism to boost its image.

  13. You cant compare shanks to Gyngell.
    Shanks had wall to wall game shows and they looked very cheap.
    Try reading Davids original post it includes 4 Australian Dramas with a budget of 40 mil ….

  14. Dame Doris Stokes

    to clarify my comment before they were directed to the 2nd and 3rd anonymous comments not the lovely David and the sweet Mr televisionau .. on tv related comments is it widely known that Eddie M part owned ” Underbelly ” and has tried to get the Drama up and running for the last 4 years it was not until he was in the CEO chair that this finally happened. But in doing so he had to give up the rights… ” The Dame “

  15. All i could think of when reading this is “10 TV Australia”, has Gyngell learnt from Bob Shanks while he was heading Granada in the USA??

    7 has much more in the tank and its established, while 9 has CSI and uh, um, hey where did all those hits go……..

  16. " the one and truly original ".. Dame Doris Stokes xx " The Dame "

    Yes lets demonize Nine… don’t give them another chance at ratings glory!!….. to the the past two comments go back under the rock you crawled out from !!! Seven is just as bad… Seven is run by former Nine executives … How do you think Seven got where they are today …. WE LOVE TV 9 : )

  17. The heart phrase is fairly new in popular culture, and also very American. All those T Shirts with “I (heart) NY.” There was recently the movie “I Heart Huckabees.”

    I’m assuming this slogan demonstrates a concerted effort by Nine to be more contemporary. At the launch not only was the phrase verbally restated, but there were also clips of Nine personalities being very creative with the word “Heart.”

    Expect to see these on screen soon.

  18. David, help me out here with a general question but does relate to your article – because I’m the one who translated Nine’s slogan as “we love TV” on MSpy on Wednesday based on the logo that you’ve shown today – but why does the heart symbol read as “heart”? “We heart TV” for instance is not a sentence, it’s not a phrase, it doesn’t make sense. How do you “heart” something?? “We love TV” makes far more sense. Is this a change to the lingo that I missed out on!! Did I skip a crucial day at school? Help me out here.. :)

  19. Why would I bother watching any of these new shows when channel 9 is known to pull programs and change timeslots without notice or any thought to the viewers. ER is a perfect example.

  20. “We Heart TV”… That’s rich! Perhaps it should be “We Heart TV… But have no contempt for our shows or our viewers!”

    Nine will have to do a lot to win back viewers after years of treating them like crap, who have now switched to Seven. Highlighting a bunch of new shows and promising to bring back your balls simply wont cut it!!!

    Oh, and can we please have a moment of silence for the following shows:
    * Pushing Daisies
    * Cashmere Mafia
    * Chuck
    * Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

    They will all no doubt be pulled after a few episodes, either to be never seen again or switched around far too many times to keep count. May these shows R.I.P., and take solice that viewers will buy the shows when released on DVDs or download them…

  21. Cripes how much can they fit into one year! And forget Underbelly,Hole In The Wall is gonna be must see tv! Also I think WGFY will return based on it’s ratings.

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