Game, set and match: Evonne Goolagong TV project in development
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Game, set and match: Evonne Goolagong TV project in development

A television miniseries is in development based on the life of the Australian tennis champion Evonne Goolagong. The former world number one ranked women's player had a stellar grand slam tennis career, winning 14 titles including seven singles: four at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Roland Garros. The miniseries, titled Goolagong, is being developed for television by Werner Film Productions, with Joanna Werner producing a script by Megan Simpson Huberman (Dating the Enemy) and Steven McGregor (Mystery Road) with Wayne Blair (Redfern Now, The Sapphires) attached to direct.

Coverage of China expands

Pilot Week

Pilot WeekCredit:TEN

The ABC has named journalist Sarah Ferguson to the post of China bureau chief. The appointment comes, the ABC noted in its press statement, as it expands its coverage of China during a "fascinating and crucial time". Ferguson will join the national broadcaster's China correspondent Bill Birtles. "The China story is irresistible for a journalist," Ferguson said. "It has become the story of our time and one with immense implications for Australia; understanding China and the Chinese perspective is vital." Ferguson has worked on the ABC's flagship current affairs program Four Corners and in the documentary field for a decade.

Kyle on trial at Ten

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Former tennis players Evonne Goolagong Cawley (left) and Rod Laver hold the men's and women's trophies ahead of the round one matches on day one of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Former tennis players Evonne Goolagong Cawley (left) and Rod Laver hold the men's and women's trophies ahead of the round one matches on day one of the Australian Open in Melbourne.Credit:LUKAS COCH

Trial By Kyle may have seemed to be the flimsiest of the pilots presented by the Ten Network during its inaugural pilot week, but it appears to be the one which will be fastest onto the launchpad. Ten is calling for applicants wishing to bring their case before the radio shock jock who will preside, in Judge Judy-style, over the case and render a verdict. Kyle Sandilands will be joined on the program by former The Bachelor Australia participant and criminal lawyer Anna Heinrich. Describing him as the "swift hand of justice", Ten says Sandilands will be "tackling genuine disputes and solving them with his no-nonsense style."

New dancing judges named

Having rolled out the celebrity roster for its upcoming reboot of Dancing with the Stars, Ten has named the three judges who will be scoring their performances. They are dancer Sharna Burgess, Irish-born Tristan McManus and dancer/choreographer Craig Revel Horwood. Burgess has been working in the US as a dancer on the US edition of Dancing with the Stars, while McManus has starred in Burn the Floor, the US Dancing with the Stars and the UK Strictly Come Dancing. Horwood, who will, by all accounts, play the "nasty" judge which is popular with the format, has been a judge on the UK Strictly Come Dancing since 2004.

Tidelands makes waves

The success of Hoodlum's Netflix strangetown thriller Tidelands may have prompted a new wave of science fiction and horror series in development for television. Screen Australia has confirmed investment in three projects still in their infancy, a science fiction series titled Aleph, about a woman facing the choice of saving her daughter or "humanity on the brink of extinction", another science fiction project, Oddlands, from NBC Universal-owned Matchbox Productions, and a horror project, Seconds, described as a darkly comic coming of age story set in 1970s country Australia and touching on the theme of cannibalism.

Modern Family to end

The US comedy Modern Family will end with an 11th season which will begin airing later this year. That means the series, which has become one of the most successful on television, will air its final episode in the first quarter of 2020. The announcement was made by the newly installed president of the US ABC network Karey Burke at a press event in Los Angeles. "Chris Lloyd and Steve Levitan have created one of the most seminal and iconic comedies in television history," Burke told US media. The series airs in Australia on the Seven Network; Ten previously held the rights but lost them when the network entered administration in 2017.

Michael Idato is entertainment editor-at-large of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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