Crownies spin-off to go ahead for ABC

By David Knox on January 25, 2012 / Filed Under News 33

EXCLUSIVE: ABC legal drama Crownies will be getting a spin-off series.

The ambitious 22 part drama, starring Todd Lasance, Marta Dusseldorp and Lewis Fitz-Gerald, had a modest launch last year but while its ratings were disappointing it developed positive word of mouth as the series progressed.

Late last year ABC1 Channel Controller Brendan Dahill told TV Tonight he was weighing up a possible spin-off.

This week he confirmed a future for the show, by focussing on the legal aspects and not the personal lives of the young attorneys.

“We will be making a spin-off, and it will be coming back in a slightly different form that’s less soapy,” he said.

“We’ll be honing in on a much more solid narrative. We’ve taken on board some of the criticism we got from the first series about it being a bit unable to make up its mind if it was This Life or The Good Wife.”

Dahill says the series is also part of an evolution of ABC Drama and that audiences were not expecting a series of its style.

“I loved it and I loved the characters but maybe we were sending mixed signals to our audience, so we need to be more certain about the driving force behind the narrative,” he says.

“So it will become more about the cases and less about the people. That doesn’t mean we’re going to dropping entirely any reference to their back stories. You need to understand the back stories to understand the judgements that they make.”

Last year Producers Screentime issued a rare public statement on the series after some media reports questioned the new drama’s switch to a later timeslot in order to make room for The Slap. It noted the show had been created with the specific intention of appealing to a younger demographic.

At this stage it isn’t clear which characters will be featured or whether it will make it to screen in 2012.

“It’s still early days but I’m hoping we’ll have something more to say in the next couple of months,” he said.

“It won’t be the big 22 parter, but the characters in Crownies will be returning.”


  1. reubot March 5, 2012 at 2:51 am -

    I have started watching the series on Blu-Ray and think they got the mix between the personal and professional lives right. I don’t think I would bother watching this if it focuses entirely on the legal aspect.
    I think that is one of the reasons I lost internest in New Tricks, I remember there was more about their personal lives earlier on.

  2. Kathryn February 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm -

    I loved every minute of Crownies and am eagerly awaiting the return. Would love to see the original cast return as their lives (both personal and professional) interacted so well with each other. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Slap and Rake.

  3. Jenny February 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm -

    I’m a baby boomer and I absolutely loved Crownies – my Gen Y daughter and I didn’t miss an episode. I think it is great to see Australian actors given the opportunity to be a part of a series such as this. I just hope the spin-off is as good. Maybe the ABC needs to look at how it promotes the series – I only found out about Crownies through my daughter.

  4. Mary Ann Davis January 28, 2012 at 10:26 am -

    Great to hear about the return of Crownies, I’m baby boomer and loved the show, also loved The Slap, really appreciate any show that illustrates aspects of our culture!

  5. Mike Retter January 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm -

    This gets another series…. there is no justice. Total dumbed down junk. Why are they rewarding this failure?

    They should adapt more books instead of doing “Crownies the more formulaic version”.

    Whats happening about Rake? It was twice as good.

  6. Evan January 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm -

    Really pleased about this, as long as they bring back the original cast from the first series.

  7. Brad January 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm -

    Very exciting news! Hopefully most of the cast return because I thought they had a really good dynamic going!

  8. Al January 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm -

    Any news about Rake?

    I love them both, can’t wait for them both returning this year to ABC!

  9. J Bar January 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm -

    I liked it but also had wished it was more episodic than soapie.

  10. Napdav January 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm -

    Oh gee…..why is Australian TV so moribund and predicable? Why are we so dull and unoriginal?

    Crownies (and the spin off) – about Lawyers…

    The Straits – about a crime family…

    Reef Doctor – about a Doctor…on a reef….

    When other countries come up with shows like ‘The Almighty Johnsons’, ‘Misfits’, ‘Sherlock’, Downton Abbey, the list goes on and on….all we do are bloody cop, doctor, or crime shows – oh…and suburban ‘reality’ like ‘Rafters’. They all look the same, they’re all written the same, all acted the same, and all Directed the same – by the same people. And they mostly all have twangy guitar ‘score’ – if you’d call it a score.

    Ho hum….call me when they commission something interesting…..please?

  11. Neil January 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm -

    As an older viewer I knew from the start this was not aimed at me. However, I still liked it and for me it was a slow burner that got better over time.

    However if the brief of this show is to capture a younger demographic then these proposed changes will most likely favour someone in my older age group. I would like the more focus on cases, but the younger one would like more stories about their experience at work.

    I would have thought we already have plenty of legal shows that focus on the law. So what will be this show’s point of difference?

  12. Moanique in Brisbane January 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm -

    @ Mike Retter, clearly a lot of people did like Crownies, at least you are consistent in your negativity :)

  13. Mike Retter January 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm -

    Absolute piece of crap. I am guessing some of these positive comments are from people involved with the show, because nobody actually liked Crownies!

    What a waste of money.

  14. David Knox January 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm -

    Too soon for that kind of detail.

  15. J Bar January 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm -

    So will it have a new title or be a fully reconditioned show still called Crownies?

  16. Bec January 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm -

    Well I am thoroughly confused…

  17. effdee January 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm -

    Less soap = good
    No soap = great

  18. Sims January 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm -

    There goes GenX ruining yet another thing for GenY. My friends and I loved Crownies and I really enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Janet mentoring Erin and workplace hostility between Tracey and Tatum and of course then there were stories like Tatum and Richard. It was entertaining. Screentime produced the show for people like me but unfortunately it floundered on a station that insists on only catering for the 40 and above crowd. I’m sure the spinoff while be fine but the original series was great and didn’t need to be altered.

  19. julz January 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm -

    Great to hear. Loved The Crownies..fingers crossed they don’t change it too much though

  20. Brian January 25, 2012 at 11:36 am -

    A 22-episode order was a mistake for a new show with an admittedly flawed theme. That money could’ve been much better spent on 2 or 3 shorter seasons.

    The ABC needs more comedy, more drama, more of anything scripted really. As much as possible to offset the commercial stations, who seem to think they can cram even More reality TV into this year than last year.

  21. Susan January 25, 2012 at 11:06 am -

    This Life – a brilliantly conceived drama about the personal lives of 20 somethings.
    The Good Wife – a brlliantly conceived drama that weaves a women’s professional and personal life which unfortunately is on the wrong channel due to a Ten output deal.
    Crownies – a poorly conceived and poorly written drama full of turgid legal exposition and clumsy interaction with young lawyer’s personal lives. Despite bus ads, billboards and endless on-air promos nobody watched and the critics were lukewarm. There are many other better Australian ideas out there which the ABC should explore instead. A spin-off is a waste of time and money.

  22. Liz January 25, 2012 at 11:00 am -

    Pleased to hear this. I would have enjoyed Crownies a lot more had there been more focus on the cases.

  23. OzJ January 25, 2012 at 10:45 am -

    When they starts spinning off shows from critical and ratings failures, it’s time to ask a few questions. I hope somebody in the upper reaches of the ABC is starting to query the expertise of their drama executives… the same people who this week also commissioned a TV movie about Cliff Young. I’m a big supporter of the ABC, but this is not how I want my taxes spent.

  24. heleng January 25, 2012 at 10:30 am -

    I loved Crownies and so pleased the ABC has renewed it..Just hope tha they don’t take the heart out of the characters and make it just another precedural crime show.

  25. Trix January 25, 2012 at 10:28 am -

    Great news. Can’t wait to see what evolves.

  26. Nick January 25, 2012 at 10:21 am -

    I loved every minute of Crownies. The only Australian drama, ever, to not make me cringe. Clearly the largely geriatric audience of ABC1 didn’t care for it! Yet everyone loved the self-indulgent trivial nonsense of a group of narcissitic Gen-Xers at a backyard party? (I am Gen-Y and couldn’t have cared less about The Slap.)

  27. Tom January 25, 2012 at 10:13 am -

    Now what about ‘At Home w Julia’, ABC? (Though at this rate, it could end up having to be ‘At home with Kevin’.

  28. Jas January 25, 2012 at 9:24 am -

    Yay! Loved this show. didn’t think it was soapy though as I have never been into soaps. loved all the characters and enjoyed that part i think you need both that and the cases in the show.

  29. Shakira January 25, 2012 at 9:09 am -

    Bring back Janet! Love that character.

  30. Ronnie January 25, 2012 at 8:53 am -

    All Brendan says is true, however it highlights the lack of leadership from the Head of Drama. Every series needs to know what it’s really about and focus on that. The next test is Phyrne Fisher. Let’s hope it’s not as confused Carla Cametti whic was such a lost opportunity.

  31. Mason January 25, 2012 at 8:42 am -

    Best news this year. It is a show that had promise and it deserves to be back. Less soapy is good. Another win for aussie actors.

  32. Nik C January 25, 2012 at 8:42 am -

    I am happy. I think it was a great shiw ans really enjoyed the characters and the captivating cases. Thanks ABC!

  33. Woody January 25, 2012 at 7:20 am -

    Because no one demanded it

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