ABC senior journalist Sarah Ferguson is working on a new political documentary series for the national broadcaster. The project, which will follow a style similar to the series Labor in Power and The Howard Years will explore the Rudd/Gillard years of Australian politics. The ABC has commissioned three one-hour episodes which will air in 2015. Ferguson will be replaced on 7.30 by Chris Uhlmann until regular host Leigh Sales returns on September 8.
School drama for SBS
SBS has commissioned a new four-part drama, The Principal, from the producers of Rake and Jack Irish and the writers of East West 101. The Principal is the story of a teacher who becomes a school principal of a multi-ethnic school in Sydney's south-west but must grapple with resistance to reform and the death of a student. Essential Media's Ian Collie said the series would explore "topical themes of masculinity, identity and community". It will air in 2015.
Sarah Ferguson: 'I did ok for a beginner'
She's noted for her fierce grilling of politicians while in the 7.30 presenter's chair but a modest Sarah Ferguson, who finishes up on Thursday, says she's only "just getting the hang of it".
Redfern Now follow-up
The ABC will follow up its award-winning, critically acclaimed drama Redfern Now with a telemovie, Promise Me. The telemovie "explores the impact of a violent crime on two women and the fight for justice that ensues". Anthony Hayes will join Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Rarriwuy Hick, Lisa Flanagan, Kelton Pell and Kirk Page on the project. The ABC's head of indigenous programming, Sally Riley, said she was "thrilled" to have Redfern Now back in production.
Molly gets INXS treatment
The Seven Network will follow up its pop-music miniseries INXS: Never Tear Us Apart with a new pop-themed drama about the life of music journalist Molly Meldrum. The project, simply titled Molly, will be produced by John Molloy, Michael Gudinski and Mark Morrissey and directed by Kevin Carlin from a script by Matt Cameron and Liz Doran. The project finalised its funding last week, and is expected to go into production later this year.
Journos' Canberra tales on Foxtel
Foxtel has commissioned a six-part political thriller from Matchbox Pictures, set in Canberra, which tells the story of an investigative journalist who unearths a "deadly" secret. The series is based on the books The Mandarin Code andThe Marmalade Files by journalists Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann. It will be produced by Penny Chapman, and written by Belinda Chayko, Matt Cameron, Marieke Hardy, Alice Addison, Tommy Murphy, Kris Mrksa and Greg Waters.
Seven looks for Olympic partner
The Seven Network is in talks with Foxtel about a potential agreement to be spun out of Seven's Olympics deal. Seven secured the rights to the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020 and the winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018, in a deal worth more than $150 million. Seven CEO Tim Worner told Fairfax the volume of content - about 150 hours a day - meant "there will be many opportunities for ... prospective partnerships".
ITV goes into the wild
ITV Studios Australia is partnering with three-time Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Kim Wolhuter to produce a series of wildlife documentaries. ITV managing director Anita Jacoby met Wolhuter in Zimbabwe in January and said she was struck by his stories of "living for months on end with wild animals". ITV's head of development Micah Hewson is working on the three projects with Wolhuter on three documentaries, on the elephant, cheetah and African wild dog.
Robin was as sweet a man as he was funny. If you're sad, please tell someone.
Jimmy Kimmel (host, thoughtful) @jimmykimmel
I can't believe my lovely friend is gone. My heart goes out to his wife and his beloved children. He brought us so much joy and laughter.
Eric Idle (comedian, Robin Williams fan) @EricIdle
If #offspring's goal was to have my ovaries explode with those 57 babies born at once to an emotive, lilty soundtrack - mission accomplished.
Em Rusciano (comedienne, clucky)
Gammy's parents are now the most hated couple in Australia? This must really annoy Kyle and Jackie O.
Dan Ilic (comedian, trendspotter) @danilic