“Survivors ready? GO!”

By David Knox on August 5, 2009 / Filed Under News 68

survFrom today GO! begins its signal on digital televisions, ahead of its ‘soft-launch’ on Sunday night with an array of tasty titles.

TV Tonight spoke to Les Sampson, Nine’s Network Director of Multichannels about its programming.

GO! is structured similar to a subscription TV channel with ‘block’ programming from 3:30pm – 12am, which is repeated again the next day. The SD channel has been carefully programmed so as not to cannibalise Nine and to skew towards younger demographics.

“The model is designed so that we get maximum use of the available audience,” says Sampson.

“At the moment the schedule is ‘blocked’ but probably in the next two months we’ll expand those blocks out. It’s a work in progress.”

The channel launches at 6:30pm on Sunday with a new series of Wipeout. While Nine has 60 Minutes and Rescue, GO! begins with comedy titles such as The Big Bang Theory and Aliens in America.

Aliens in America is a fun little show,” he says. “A family decides they want to get an exchange student, so they advertise hoping for a tall blonde Norwegian or a hot sexy German. But they end up with a guy from Pakistan. He’s not what they’re expecting so he’s the ‘alien’ in the family. It’s funny with its interaction between the eastern and western mentality. It’s a fun little show that has a sense of what the channel is. It’s a little bit risqué, with some moments that are potentially politically incorrect.

“Mondays we’ve got Dog The Bounty Hunter, Neighbours at War, Bad Lad’s Army, so it’s a ‘go get ‘em’ type theme, in a sort of blokey night. Obviously we have female-skewing shows on the premium channel with Farmer and Drop Dead Diva.”

Tuesday night offers reality with Survivor, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

“We’re playing (Survivor) Gabon and then we lead into the next series (Tocantins). They are all new Australian premiere episodes which you wouldn’t have seen on Foxtel,” says Sampson.

“Wednesday night we’ve got Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe, Eleventh Hour episodes. We’ve played a few episodes before but the majority will be new. Thursday’s Gossip Girl will be a repeat because it’s been on Foxtel, but most will be Free to Air premiere episodes. There’s Moonlight and then The Hills which will pick up from where we left off.”

Fridays and Saturdays offers repeats of CSIs plus the return of Dance Your Ass Off.

“And at 7:30 weeknights TMZ will be Australian premiere episodes which we pull off the satellite everyday. They fit the channel, they’re very young, very papparazzi driven.”

TMZ will pair with Entertainment Tonight which premieres on Nine at 3pm before playing again at 7pm on GO!

In designing the new channel, Sampson says classification issues have been the network’s biggest problem.

“Foxtel have the luxury of being able to play content wherever they want pretty much,” he said. “We still have to play ‘G’ programming early evening. We can’t play ‘M’ programming before 8:30. We can play it during the day between 12 and 3, but not during school holidays and it’s the same problem on weekends.”

GO! will also screen music clips overnight as part of The ARIA Music Show. Over summer while the premium channel has a focus on cricket GO! will offer complementary programming.

In October when GO! completes its launch, it will offer the Australian premiere of Kevin Williamson’s The Vampire Diaries, as well as breakaway commercial feeds in each market. Sampson sees the channel as a ‘work in progress’ and indicates the addition of channel exclusive interstitials.

“We’re looking at doing fashion updates, snow report updates, bar and restaurant interstitials. The channel is very new so it’s a matter of developing out. It will grow.”

While shows that are dropped off Nine are not necessarily guaranteed an immediate place on GO! the upside is the channel is looking to playout its series.

“We have to forward-plan 6 to 12 months in advance. So we won’t just drop one show for another. We want to try and play out each episode of each series.”

Sampson also flagged other titles to follow inclusing Weeds, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hell’s Kitchen and Nip / Tuck.

“Unfortunately we can’t have everything on the schedule at once!”

GO! Channel 99
WIN / NBN Channel 88 (East Coast)
GO! Digital TV help line on 1300 152 231


  1. carla ralls October 20, 2009 at 9:20 pm -

    Wts the deal with GO! ? they have no web site to give feed back……..it suposed to be a channel for younger ppl but they keep putting on crappy re runs of shows that are up to over 20 yrs old!! WTF. wen it first came on it repeated the new programs that where on at nite during the day, wat happened to that!! The good shows are good the old shows are crap, why do you think the other stations only play them in the off seasons!!! Wake up GO! I f ur doing re runs make it of the the good young shows please!!!!

  2. Jason August 16, 2009 at 10:42 am -

    I hope GO shows all the eps in each season showed and maybe introduces some other sci-fi shows like Bab 5, BSG. STTNG, DS9 .voyager etc.
    What usually makes me hate comercial tv is the constant timeslot changes for shows and ending eps mid saeson to show it 6 months later or never again. I hope with these new channels coming on baord that will cease.

  3. mac August 6, 2009 at 10:25 pm -

    sorry paull i miss understood you, i am also baffled that sd chnnels in the usa are only 4:3.

  4. David Knox August 6, 2009 at 8:52 pm -

    Again GO! is SD. 9HD simulcasts Nine.

  5. Paull August 6, 2009 at 8:48 pm -

    @mac: ofcourse I know that, but as previously stated, the owners (sony) went back to the original film it was filmed on (as opposed to tape) in order to allow it to have HD quality.
    “As Seinfeld was shot on 35 mm film, natively a 4:3 format, Sony Pictures had to crop out top and bottom parts of the frame, while restoring previously cropped images on the sides, in order to conform to the 16:9 aspect ratio of high-definition television.”

    Also, I don’t know if this info is correct, but apparently GO will simucast it in HD on GO (well this is according to the wikipedia site, it could be a hoax edit though)

  6. Paull August 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm -

    @vid: 100% agree with you. Seinfeld has already been cropped by its owners, Sony, and they’ve done a pretty good job (from what I could tell when I was watching Seinfeld HD on 9 HD). They also have the rights to the original 4:3 episodes too, so there’s equal possibility that they could show the HD eps (downscaled to SD ofcourse) or the SD eps that are already in 4:3.
    On a side note, I wouldn’t mind it if networks such as 7 aired 4:3 shows in 14:9 (a good compromise b/w 16:9 and 4:3)

  7. David Knox August 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm -

    Hasn’t been mentioned yet.

  8. tasmanian devil August 6, 2009 at 7:54 pm -

    Is Pushing Daisies going to be on GO!? Wikipedia said so but it’s been edited out now.

  9. vid August 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm -

    @ paul
    how do u know ch9 is cropping seinfeld to 16:9??
    i can tell u now…they are not!

  10. mac August 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm -

    @timmy although many networks crop 4:3 shows for proms(111hits, fox8) it’s most likely the actually eps of seinfeld will be cropped(not stretched) as they where when airing on nines main channel recently. in my opinion it’s better to show 4:3 programmes in their original ratio as the cropping technique nine uses cuts of a bit off the top and bottom of the picture. @paull, not sure if you where referring to seinfeld or not but it aired from 1989-1997 before ws became widespread.

  11. Paull August 6, 2009 at 11:47 am -

    @timmy: The preview showed them in 16:9. Although seeing as we’re not getting them in HD anymore, I wonder if it’s really worth airing the 16:9 version.

  12. Craig August 6, 2009 at 7:23 am -

    @timmy I noticed that ‘stretched’ also.

    Anyone know if all the Seinfeld eps on GO! will be 16:9?

  13. Neon Kitten August 6, 2009 at 2:05 am -

    Timmy, the last two seasons of Survivor were shot in 16:9 HD. Australia will get the 16:9 part.

  14. Alty August 5, 2009 at 11:22 pm -

    Is the promo clip on YouTube not the lamest thing ever?

    Good to Kick Ass, Good to flirt, Good to be bad? GO?

  15. timmy August 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm -

    @Paull the promo that shows Survivor in WS also shows The Bachelor/Bachelorette in stretched format… presumably these shows are in 4:3 and were just stretched for the promo to make the promo cohesive.

  16. Andrew August 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm -

    @Reubot He could be watching ABC2 on satellite or pay-TV in Western Australia where ABC2 isn’t delayed to the WA timezone, so if a show airs at 8.30pm on the east coast it is shown at 6.30pm in WA

  17. Paull August 5, 2009 at 10:39 pm -

    @Luke W: Doesn’t your tv have an option to adjust shows back to 4:3? Mine does (although the down side is it’s no use on SD channels because when the show isn’t 16:9, the 4:3 has black bars around it, so squeezing the image only makes it look thinner)
    As for the 4:3 shows, im still shocked that america doesn’t just film all shows in 16:9, regardless of the HD factor, they could simply film and crop the tops and bottoms, or squeeze the image in then stretch back out on the editing board. Shows like amazing race would go so much better in 16:9, even if it stayed SD.

  18. Reubot August 5, 2009 at 9:45 pm -

    I think you were imagining it johnjet…

  19. Luke W August 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm -

    Just fiddled with my TV’s to make sure they were receiving GO! Two of them instantly changed from “Nine Guide” to “Nine Go!” which was nice but on one box, I typed in 99 and wouldn’t display a channel, so I had to rescan. All sweet now. One thing that is bothering me. Shows that are 4:3 are being stretched to fit 16:9 in the promos. I hope they are shown in their proper aspect ratio when they start broadcasting properly!

  20. Max August 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm -

    huge lol @ Les referring to Nine as the “premium” channel.

  21. Benno August 5, 2009 at 8:35 pm -

    So when their main channel collapses, they might have a strong primary line-up.

  22. what_tha August 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm -

    I’m sad they’re not going to have normal shows on after midnight… it would be nice for channels to provide some kind of viewing, even just repeating their daytime shows would be nice!

  23. SarahJ August 5, 2009 at 7:17 pm -

    I am a current foxtel subscriber(IQ2 – Cable), does anyone know when Go! will be on Foxtel(still no sign of it in the EPG), and also, if it won’t be on by sunday when it premiers, why the hold up? I don’t particulary want fork out another $100 bucks or so, to get a seperate Digital Box to watch these FTA Digital channels.

  24. Paull August 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm -

    thanks davmel and cpandilo, I’ll get onto to it later.

    By the way, that 5 second loop gets extremely annoying after watching it for a few minutes. Now I can barely go to GO! without shuddering. Looking forward to their previews (hopefully they loop something longer than 5s)

  25. Knowfirst August 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm -

    Randallg said: They’re currently showing looped channel ID messages that become very annoying after about 5 seconds so I quickly switched off.

    The program promo reel will be up tonight – maybe by the time this message is moderated even.

  26. Kristy August 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm -

    Does anyone know when GO! is coming to regional Western Australia? I live in Bunbury and can’t get it yet =(

  27. davmel August 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm -

    “Paull says:
    August 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm
    Does anyone know why when I updated my digital channels (a few minutes ago) on the vcr, that GO! was on channel 352, 9 was on 350 and 9HD on 351? While Channel 99 remains but is still called 9 Guide, simucasts 9, and the epg on 9, 90 and 99 is not updating.”

    The 350+ channels are reserved in the DVB standard to list channels either where the network hasn’t specified an LCN number or where there is a conflict between existing and new channels that are the same.
    You need to delete your existing entries so they don’t conflict with the older stored ones and then after a rescan they will have the correct LCN numbers.

  28. Jimbo August 5, 2009 at 5:23 pm -

    So… Channel Nine (oops, i mean GO) will finally air Weeds. Took them long enough to air the remaining seasons!

  29. cpandilo August 5, 2009 at 5:23 pm -

    Paull, I would suggest that you delete all the Nine channels and then re-scan.

  30. Paull August 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm -

    Does anyone know why when I updated my digital channels (a few minutes ago) on the vcr, that GO! was on channel 352, 9 was on 350 and 9HD on 351? While Channel 99 remains but is still called 9 Guide, simucasts 9, and the epg on 9, 90 and 99 is not updating.
    While on our hd television, channel 9 had no signal, so I re-scanned and it’s come back, on the normal channel numbers (ie GO on 99 etc)

  31. Daniel August 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm -

    Survivor Woo!

  32. Marco August 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm -

    According to the loop, GO99! kicks arth!!! How thoroughly modern!

  33. Andrew B August 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm -

    ER fans should unite and petition 9 / GO as there is not mention of it in any press relating to GO and there are still 2 seasons to air. I can understand why they have left it off GO for now, as its not really a younger audience type show, but surely they could consider an ER ep for the weekends rather than 3 hours of CSI each night? Or even put ER doubles on Tuesday nights on channel 9 – they will do as well, if not better than the random mess they currently have on Tuesday nights.

  34. mac August 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm -

    channel 99 is now labelled as go! in epg, as is now playing promotional material for go( which is very repetitive and annoying lol) although this switch was meant to take place at 1pm, it was already in place when i switched to 99 at about 12:30pm.

  35. Shelly August 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm -

    They promised ER and I won’t be happy until we get it!

  36. Randallg August 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm -

    They’re currently showing looped channel ID messages that become very annoying after about 5 seconds so I quickly switched off. The ONE HD countdown was much better as it actually had some decent music that would play.

  37. Lewis August 5, 2009 at 1:32 pm -

    @Neon Kitten: I forgot about that. Oh well. At least it’s on.

    @Jed: 8.30 Tuesdays is bad for me too, Jed, so I am hoping that I can be at home at 12 on Wednesdays for the repeat. That’s my only chance.

  38. Kirben August 5, 2009 at 1:23 pm -

    “Foxtel have the luxury of being able to play content wherever they want pretty much,” he said. “We still have to play ‘G’ programming early evening. We can’t play ‘M’ programming before 8:30. We can play it during the day between 12 and 3, but not during school holidays and it’s the same problem on weekends.”

    Then why not make these limitations an advantage? why not offer decent content for younger viewers during these timeslots? this is meant to be a youth channel.

    Kids shows could be offered between 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM weekdays, like the ABC2 used to, in the distant past. There is no content offered for younger viewers at this time (unless you count The Simpsons repeats), and anything would be better than Australia’s Funiest Home Video Show.

    Nine could show more kids marathons of TV series or movies during the school holidays too. There are several animated movies (ie :Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix) from Cartoon Network and Warner Brother they should still have rights to, that have not been shown before.

  39. bindi August 5, 2009 at 1:18 pm -

    well i’ve rescanned everything and GO is working, but the EPG for 99 still only shows now and next nothing beyond that and the 90 EPG is showing the programs that are going to be on GO not 9HD. so have they said when they are fixing up the EPG for both these channels coz i can’t program my recordings until the EPG is correct.

  40. Andrew August 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm -

    @Johnjet: I may stand corrected but I don’t believe ABC and SBS are subject to the same classification rules as the commercial networks.

  41. Adrian August 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm -

    My god, that GO! test pattern is so annoying!

  42. steph August 5, 2009 at 12:22 pm -

    Looking forward to this launch – sounds so much better than what’s on the main channel!

  43. Craig August 5, 2009 at 11:53 am -

    Do we have any news it ER, Everwood or Gilmore Girls will be on GO!?

  44. Jed August 5, 2009 at 11:33 am -

    Thanks max and bindi. Just wanted to check that it was repeated. Noon on Wednesday is definitely a better time for me.

  45. johnjet August 5, 2009 at 11:05 am -

    “Foxtel have the luxury of being able to play content wherever they want pretty much,” he said. “We still have to play ‘G’ programming early evening. We can’t play ‘M’ programming before 8:30. We can play it during the day between 12 and 3, but not during school holidays and it’s the same problem on weekends.”

    So why did I see Teachers on ABC2 last night at 6.30pm. This show was rated M.

  46. Krazy Kazza August 5, 2009 at 11:04 am -

    Finally something instead of sport sport sport of more sport. I will watching GO now instead of seven and the list of shows to be aired will be awesome. Especially Vampire Diaries. You Rock, GO!!

  47. timmy August 5, 2009 at 11:04 am -

    @ Jason – Survivor: Cook Islands is on Arena 8.30 on Thursday (check online guide)

  48. Belinda August 5, 2009 at 11:04 am -

    Jason, the Cook Islands season of Survivor is on Arena, Thursdays at 8.30pm.

  49. teewink August 5, 2009 at 10:40 am -

    ‘Jason’ Survivor cook islands on foxtel thursdays 8.30 on arena, been on for a couple weeks

  50. Regan August 5, 2009 at 10:39 am -

    I just scanned for channels and now have GO! tuned in on 88. :-D

  51. David Knox August 5, 2009 at 10:26 am -

    I’ve already reported GO! is due for Foxtel but there is no clarity on when.

  52. Rutzie August 5, 2009 at 10:21 am -

    Any word on whether foxtel will be carrying GO straight up.

  53. bindi August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am -

    jed- survivor gets repeated on wednesday at noon.
    the repeating is probably the most handy thing about this channel i think i’ll be using it quite a bit.

    i think after i rescan i will put this channel first in my favourites list because it is the kind of channel that if you are flicking around you will actually stay on it, much better than that religious stuff or infomercials that are all i can find when flicking around in the early morning.

  54. Jason August 5, 2009 at 10:12 am -

    “We’re playing (Survivor) Gabon and then we lead into the next series (Tocantins). They are all new Australian premiere episodes which you wouldn’t have seen on Foxtel,” says Sampson

    Re the above paragraph: Does anybody actually know where on Foxtel we can watch Survivor? Arena has Amazing Race and those Bachelor shows – but I’ve never seen Survivor in any cable schedule ever.

    Pity too – if someone were to rerun that excellent first season – I’d watch it!

  55. Paull August 5, 2009 at 10:03 am -

    Lets hope this channel is better than the “premium channel” aka nine.

  56. max August 5, 2009 at 9:59 am -

    regan – soft launch means they are launching the channel but not with the full range of programming just yet.

    Jed – reading the article it states prime time gets repeated the next day if classification allows it – so survivor should be repeated Wednesday daytime – check the advance guides

    bazza – yes, just means 88 will appear in the regions once we do a rescan

  57. David Knox August 5, 2009 at 9:53 am -

    Knowfirst: the Australian content was addressed…. it’s interstitials.

  58. Regan August 5, 2009 at 9:39 am -

    What exactly is a “soft-launch”?

  59. Ryan August 5, 2009 at 9:38 am -

    Being on a digital only channel I sure bloody hope they don’t start dropping programs like flies like on their old channel. I actually want to make it past Season 3 of weeds – even though I’ve seen them all, same goes for Curb etc.

    I also like that those shows nine gets in their output deals that you just know aren’t going to get aired will finally be able to have a home!

    Plus wouldn’t mind seeing a few rpts of Nine’s late night programming from the main channel in an earlier slot on Go like Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Hells Kitchen etc, etc. Maybe they can even move CSI:NY new episodes to this channel considering it barely gets 600k on the main one.

  60. Jed August 5, 2009 at 9:34 am -

    The only show i want to watch is Survivor but not at 8.30 Tues, so is this repeated at all at another time???

  61. slydoggie August 5, 2009 at 9:15 am -

    Genuinely looking forward to GO! I’ve been enjoying ONE and ABC2 because of what they offer, but I reckon this may even get more of a look in at our household than other established channels.

  62. bindi August 5, 2009 at 8:31 am -

    a 9 representative has put a post up over on dtvforum in the extra channels section, a very wise move in my opinion, the SBS one was very handy in january, it is a good place to get information out as a lot of people on there are very technical.

    and setting up a help line is an excellent idea, 10HD and ONE really could have done with that, although most of the questions would have been about regional people being mislead. but still to this day people are reporting losses of 10’s signal so something fishy is going on, this way if 9 has similar issues they can become aware of it much more quickly and people know a way to communicate their problems where the information will get to the right people.

  63. Dan August 5, 2009 at 7:48 am -

    Yeah it looks ok but not relevant to all Australians but I forget, if you don’t live on the East coast or in a major capital then your not included as part of Australia.

  64. Bazza August 5, 2009 at 7:48 am -

    What does “begins its signals” mean? Does that just mean 88 appears on regionals? (because 99 has been there since the dawn of time)

  65. Craig August 5, 2009 at 7:34 am -

    “Unfortunately we can’t have everything on the schedule at once!”
    But this still means people will be waiting for shows that should have aired months or years ago, but no they would rather put on old shows shows to fill some spots!

  66. Knowfirst August 5, 2009 at 7:06 am -

    What Les didn’t say above was the fact that Nine are also talking to producers in Australia about getting some local content up on the channel. And that would be welcome IMO.

  67. Neon Kitten August 5, 2009 at 6:07 am -

    Oh, and what I’m sure Les meant was “Unfortunately we can’t have everything that we’ve pulled off air after one or two episodes and left in limbo for years on the schedule at once!” ;)

  68. Neon Kitten August 5, 2009 at 6:04 am -

    At least the block programming will mean IceTV users will get a usable guide inside a week.

    What a shame, by the way, that the first two seasons of Survivor to be shot in HD will not be seen in HD in Australia.

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