Date: May 05 2012
SINKING money into new local productions and poaching the star of Seven's top-rating drama Packed to the Rafters, Ten is hoping to send a signal to the market that it is back in the big game.
Ten signed Rafters star Hugh Sheridan this week to host its new talent show I Will Survive, plus ''other'' projects. It's a network deal - a throwback to the ''star stable'' days of Channel Nine - that will tie Sheridan to Ten except for a handful of future Rafters episodes.
Ten also signed Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart to star in a new drama, Mr and Mrs Murder, about a couple who work as industrial cleaners of crime scenes and moonlight as amateur sleuths.
Ten is also producing a weekly series adaptation of Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette's 1979 novel Puberty Blues, and two new ''soft-script'' reality shows, The Shire and Being Lara Bingle.
The new commissions are part of a broader strategy to create so-called ''water cooler'' content, not just to attract viewers but to engage audiences in a multi-platform, multi-screen environment.
''They're making smart choices,'' Stewart said yesterday. ''Puberty Blues will be a terrific show, there is the Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms miniseries. They're commissioning interesting material which is a little bit risky too.''
Micallef said the network was in a good position to take risks. ''They need to claw back some of that audience,'' he said. ''That loyalty to the main station doesn't exist any more [in a digital environment].''
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