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.

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