Schapelle Corby will be the focus of a new telemovie to screen on Nine next year. Photo: Getty Images
With two new cooking shows, the next chapter in the Packer family biography, a Schapelle Corby telemovie and enough confidence to guarantee an increase in viewers, Nine has revealed its 2013 programming line-up.
To a packed Ivy ballroom sprinkled with selected stars, executives from the rechristened Nine Entertainment Co told 300 advertisers, media buyers and a scattering of journalists the network was back, with solid performances throughout 2012 and more on the way.
"That's what this morning is about," said the MC and House Husbands star, Julia Morris.
The Block, hosted by Scott Cam and Shelley Craft, will increase by 40 hours in 2013.
"It's not about ripping the lid off and getting drunk like we normally do, it's about focusing on the work, because this is work worth focusing on, there's a really exciting slate that's about to roll out for 2013."
Nine's marketing director Peter Wiltshire, acknowledged the network had been "inconsistently good" in recent years, but had addressed its problems and was looking forward to a year that offered a stable audience to advertisers.
"Stability is good," he said, adding Nine would "guarantee" a 5 per cent increase in viewers.
"As a business, we have never been in a better place, connected on every level across our media platforms. Our growth has been driven by our success in key demographics, dominating early evening viewing with locally produced formats that are resonating with the audiences that matter most for our advertisers.
"In 2013 we will continue to build on this success and guarantee to deliver a five per cent lift in each of the key demographics in the year ahead – that’s 25-54s, 16-39s and GB+Child.”
Wiltshire led a raft of executives – the director of Powered by Nine, Michael Branagh, Bauer Media's director of sales, Leigh Monti, the managing director of Mi9 Media, Matt James, and Nine's director of sales, Michael Stephenson – in a series of jargon-filled speeches acknowledging the network's past mistakes, highlighting gains made in target demographics and assuring the whole company now featured "cross-platform ideas and solutions teams" that were "media agnostic" and offered "second-screen experiences", used "cross-media measurement tools" and more.
And then finally was what the crowd wanted, the 2013 programming sizzle reel, where the new programming is confirmed.
There was the return of favourites House Husbands, The Voice, The Block All Stars and a new season of The Block, Big Brother season two, a new Celebrity Apprentice and the freshly poached Australia's Got Talent.
But what caught the advertisers' eyes were The Great Australian Bake Off (think Masterchef for dessert lovers) hosted by Shane Jacobson and Anna Gare and The Taste (a Voice-esque cooking series where judges taste the food with their eyes closed to stop favourites getting through).
Fresh local dramas include the reborn Return To Eden mini-series, Gallipoli (from the Puberty Blues producer, John Edwards), Underbelly Squizzy and the two marquee series, Power Games: The Packer Murdoch Story and the Schapelle Corby telemovie.
Hits The Block and The Voice will increase in size – by 40 more hours for The Block. Its host, Scott Cam, agreed it would be a busy year.
"Sure, we'll be busy," he said, "But it looks like a good line-up doesn't it!"
It seems Nine, like the event's MC, , is embracing the network's makeover and expecting Nine to keep growing.
"It's been a great joy to be a part of something so popular," Morris said of House Husbands.
"Because let me tell you I'd been in the dark a long time. It's nice to come into the light!"