Square Eye

Kat Stewart and Shaun Micallef star in <em>Mr & Mrs Murder</em>.

Kat Stewart and Shaun Micallef star in Mr & Mrs Murder.

What's better than one of your favourite actors lighting up the small screen? Two favourites working their magic together.

Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart are leading the way as two of the most eagerly awaited TV pairings in 2013. Their new show, Mr & Mrs Murder, in its final week of filming, is one of Channel Ten's great hopes for next year.

But who will be the hottest duo on the box in 2013? We don't just mean their looks, also how much viewers love their characters.

There is already a buzz surrounding the pairing of Stewart and Micallef but other duos to watch next year include Marco Pierre White and Matt Preston on MasterChef: The Professionals, Firass Dirani (who plays Justin Baynie) and Leah de Niese (as Justin's ex-wife Nicola) on Channel Nine's House Husbands, and Marta Dusseldorp and Brett Climo on Channel Seven's new 1950s period drama A Place to Call Home.

Micallef and Stewart have an early advantage because of their history of working together, though only SBS viewers got to see the result. They first met on the SBS production Newstopia, under producer Jason Stephens, who co-created Mr & Mrs Murder with Micallef.

''That was the first time Shaun and I had met Kat, we auditioned her [for the SBS role],'' Stephens says in a phone call to Square Eye during filming of the new show. ''We quickly learnt she had this great comic sensibility and not only that, it was quickly apparent she had onscreen chemistry with Shaun.''

Despite the pressure on producers and executives to get it right, Stephens says the choice of Micallef and Stewart was a natural one for the prime-time series. ''We already had an insight that they both worked onscreen well together,'' he says. ''I haven't seen [onscreen chemistry] as strong as this in a long time.''

The show, which is based on a couple who clean up after murder scenes (but also spot vital clues), has already attracted international attention from buyers.

''It's one of those formats that can easily be transplanted to different territories,'' Stephens says.

The smash-hit MasterChef franchise has already gone global, and it will continue here next year, with Pierre White and Preston as the star duo.

Preston is already building up the hype about the pairing on the MasterChef website. He told fans Pierre White has a ''notoriously volcanic personality''.

''It's kind of like Goran Ivanisevic, the famous tennis player - there's good Marco and there's bad Marco, and you never really know who's going to turn up,'' Preston wrote.

It's a great way to build up interest in the show (along with those mesmerising promos being aired by Ten) and that's surely the secret of becoming the two most talked-about people on TV next year.

Seven will be doing the same with its new stars on A Place to Call Home - Dusseldorp and Climo. Their characters are said to be at the centre of a sweeping rural romance - she plays a beautiful but mysterious woman searching for a home and he is a son of the landed gentry.

Stephens says whoever gets it right with their onscreen duos next year will reap rewards in the ratings. ''You always want to get it right,'' he says. ''But you want to have fun along the way.''

Mr & Mrs Murder will air on Ten early in 2013, as will MasterChef: The Professionals. Also next year, Nine will screen the second series of House Husbands, and Seven A Place to Call Home.

 

Rolling on

It sounds like one of those once-in-a-lifetime concerts where if you had gazillions of dollars, a Learjet and front-row tickets, you'd be there in a flash, a Jumpin' Jack Flash.

But for most of us, the closest we'll come to the Rolling Stones' 50th-anniversary concert is the live screening of the event on Foxtel's Main Event channel.

The real concert will be performed in Newark, New Jersey, but the Stones have sold the rights to the live broadcast so millions of the fans across the world can enjoy their milestone event. Mind you, it's only on subscription television; it would have been even better if a free-to-air station had nabbed it.

But fair play to Foxtel for gaining the rights to such a great show.

Jagger, Richards and co in concert has to be seen to be believed, but add in special guests ranging from Lady Gaga to Bruce Springsteen (now that would be a team!) and it will surely be one of the more memorable shows of the past few years.

The concert screens on December 16 on Foxtel's Main Event at 1pm.


White Christmas

You've got to love the Carols in The Domain concert, simply because it's great to watch with your family. It's a time to put cynicism aside and enjoy the spectacle, along with tens of thousands of other Australians watching in The Domain or on television.

There's no doubt this year the presenters on stage will be hoping for an extra dose of Christmas cheer.

Matt White will have his happiest Christmas face on as one of the hosts of Seven's broadcast on Saturday night. He will be leading the festive proceedings with his co-host Natalie Barr.

But it has been a season of upheaval for White after he resigned from his role on Today Tonight at the end of November.

A replacement is expected to be announced soon, with Seven hoping it can somehow impede on the power of Tracy Grimshaw on Nine.

White's hosting role at the Carols in The Domain concert is a sign he is still considered a talent for the Seven Network. Whether he is being geared towards a future role on morning television (hence his pairing with Barr for the carols) will be interesting to see.