Foxtel commission 20 new episodes of Wentworth

Foxtel today announced AACTA and TV Week Logie award winning drama Wentworth has been commissioned for a further 20 episodes. The history-making announcement will see Australia’s longest running one hour drama series remain on air until 2021.

A seventh season is currently in post-production and will screen in 2019. Season eight is supported by Film Victoria and will commence production next year.

A Fremantle production, Wentworth a re-imagining of the original Prisoner series, launched in 2013 and has been a global phenomenon with over 140 territories including United Kingdom, France, Canada, Finland, Israel and Macedonia screening the series and adaptations produced in four countries.

Fremantle CEO Asia Pacific, Chris Oliver-Taylor, said: “Foxtel have nurtured and supported the confronting world of Wentworth beautifully through its first seven award-winning series and we are thrilled to be producing another 20 episodes with them. Jo Porter and Pino Amenta lead an exceptionally creative production team with Marcia Gardiner at the helm of our brilliant writing team. Wentworth is a premium global drama for Fremantle and the news of Series 8 will be celebrated around the world.”

Wentworth created history being the first Australian drama to win both the Most Outstanding Drama and Most Popular Drama Logies for series 5 bringing the total number of Logie Awards to six, along with four AACTA Awards and four ASTRA Awards.

When Season 7 of Wentworth returns to FOX Showcase in 2019 the prison is on the brink of imploding as the fiery confrontation between the two emerging titans, Rita and Marie, is imminent after the season 6 bloody finale.

Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s Executive Director of Television, said: “Foxtel is proud and delighted to confirm a further 20 episodes of Wentworth. The renewal of this much loved drama is testament to Foxtel’s unwavering commitment to Australian story-telling.

Wentworth has captivated audiences in Australia and all over the world with its gritty nail-biting storylines, remarkable performances by an extensive ensemble cast and high production values. The commissioning of these additional episodes will see it reach an extraordinary 100 episodes”.

Victorian Minister for Creative industries, Martin Foley, said: “Wentworth is a shining star of Victoria’s incredibly strong screen industry. It’s a series that has contributed $80 million to Victoria’s economy and created over 550 jobs each season since 2012. We are proud to support it through Film Victoria and look forward to more quality storylines, more strong, authentic and diverse female characters, and to creating more jobs for Victorians behind and in front of camera.”

Neighbours set to sizzle this summer with no break for first time ever

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Get set to take a trip to the steamy side of suburbia this summer as Australia’s favourite neighbourhood burns brighter than ever before.

 For the first time in its 33 year history, Neighbours will be dishing up dangerously delightful drama all through December and into the new year. No breaks. No pauses. No reruns. Just extra juiciness, from us, your one and only source into the delectable lives of Ramsay Street’s residents.

Neighbours’ Executive Producer, Jason Herbison said: "Neighbours is putting on a party this summer so slip into something comfortable and come and join us. We're serving  up cocktails with twists and turns, blasts from the past, betrayal, love, lust and intrigue a plenty.  It all happens on Ramsay Street and we'll be ending 2018 on a high and starting the new year with a bang." 

And because we don’t like to do things in halves, later this month the iconic Australian drama will reach yet another milestone when its history making 8000th episode explodes onto screens across the country. 

 So, as the temperature continues to rise behind the closed doors of everyone’s much loved cul-de-sac, just what can be expected?

 A former Ramsay Street resident will return from the dead, only to haunt Erinsborough once more.

They say the harder you rise the faster you fall, but evil nanny Alice (Kerry Armstrong) will stop at nothing to pull off her poisonous plot against a much-loved resident.

The only thing more shocking than the truth are the lies people tell to cover it up. We might know that Susan (Jackie Woodburne) pushed Finn (Rob Mills) off the cliff, but will he survive her murderous act? The answer is waiting in the wings, ready for revelation.  

Some of our neighbours aren’t as pure as they’d like to be, and a shocking cheating scandal and consequent pregnancy will shake a hot new couple to its core.

Everybody knows the biggest presents come in the smallest boxes, but will two of Ramsay Street’s favourite couples actually make it down the aisle?

  • An infinitely sunny exterior doesn’t make Erinsborough immune to loss, and the devastating death of a fan favourite will change the lives of our neighbours, and us, forever.

 Network Ten Executive Producer of Neighbours, Sara Richardson said: “It’s a thrilling time to be with your favourite Neighbours. We have worked hard to turn the heat up on Ramsay Street over summer. 8000 episodes in and Neighbours is still finding ways to be adventurous, funny, bold and relevant…it’s the escape you’ve been looking for over the holidays and 10 Peach is ready to take you there.”

Australia Joins The Got Talent Global Revolution

Following global ratings dominance, Australia’s Got Talent is back to warm your heart, tickle your funny bone and knock your socks off.

Get set to be entertained as Australia’s Got Talent joins the worldwide Got Talent revolution, on Channel 7 in 2019.

Creator of the Got Talent format, Simon Cowell, said: “I am absolutely thrilled because I have always known that Australia’s got talent.”

Watched by half a billion people worldwide this year alone, the Got Talent format is undisputedly the world’s most successful talent search with 71 local versions across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle- East, Africa and the Americas.

It’s the number one entertainment show in the USA and the 2018 series reached over 33 million viewers in the UK. With the show at its peak globally, it’s now Australia’s turn to join the party and witness the format’s evolution.

Australia’s Got Talent in 2019 is guaranteed to amaze viewers with unique, brilliant, funny and mind-blowing acts from all walks of life. The weird, the wild and the wonderful will showcase their talents in front of a panel of soon-to-be announced celebrity judges and a massive live theatre audience.

Number one for fun, Australia’s Got Talent is a show everyone knows and loves. But in 2019, it will be supercharged event-scale, feel-good entertainment like you’ve never seen before; appointment viewing for the entire family. If you think you’ve seen it all before...think again! There’ll be plenty of surprises in store with more announcements to follow.

Channel Seven’s Director of Network Programming, Angus Ross, said: “Family-friendly variety shows have always played an important role in Seven’s schedule and the timing feels right for the biggest of them all – AGT - to return home to Seven in 2019.”

Fremantle CEO Asia Pacific, Chris Oliver-Taylor, said: “The Got Talent format is a global phenomenon with audiences and its production values are without peer. We are thrilled to be partnering with Seven to bring a local version of this scale to Australian audiences. Our passionate creative team will deliver a bold and captivating series everyone will enjoy.”

A new wave of Australian talent is set to be discovered. If you’re the best at what you do and know how to thrill a crowd, AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT can make you a superstar across the country and around the world.

Got Talent makes megastars! The audition of 2017 Asia’s Got Talent winner The Sacred Riana is the number one all-time video on Facebook with 658 million views and counting. America’s Got Talent ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer and magician Shin Lim both went viral with their performances catapulting them to global fame. Britain’s Got Talent unearthed tenor Paul Potts, whose debut album topped the charts in 13 countries and whose story inspired the Hollywood film of the same name, starring James Corden, and Susan Boyle, who has had number one albums in over 40 countries.

Fremantle signs non-scripted first look deal with Keshet international

Leading global producer and distributor Keshet International (KI) has signed a first- look deal with the Australian arm of the global creator, producer and distributor of scripted and non- scripted content Fremantle. Fremantle Australia will have access to KI’s non-scripted formats catalogue in Australia and New Zealand. This deal does not include KI’s scripted and finished tape catalogue.

The diverse catalogue includes existing formats such as KI’s all-new singing format Showdown – Aviv/Eyal, electrifying dance series Masters of Dance, celebrity-led docu-reality series Anna’s 12 Steps To Love, and all new titles added to the slate during the term.

Kelly Wright, VP Distribution and New Business, Keshet International, said: “Fremantle's tremendous production strength in Australia and New Zealand, as well as their ability to successfully adapt formats to the needs of the local market, makes this an incredibly exciting opportunity. We’re looking forward to bringing our diverse slate of innovative non-scripted formats, backed by Fremantle's development twists and production might, to the region. ”

The deal will see Fremantle access to an exceptionally strong selection of non-scripted entertainment and factual entertainment formats being brought to market from the independent production companies supported by Greenbird Media, the UK production company incubator in which KI acquired a majority stake earlier this year. This includes Tuesday Child’s musical game show Playlisters; Crackit Productions’ ground-breaking reality series Bad Habits, Holy Orders; Rumpus Media’s algorithm-powered dating show, Personal Dater; and Top Hat’s social experiment format Bussing.

This deal represents the first of its kind between KI and Fremantle.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Asia Pacific, Fremantle, said: “The opportunity to partner with creative powerhouse Keshet gives our Australian development slate great depth, and enhances our ability to sell and create amazing content. Our brilliant creative team, led by Director of Content, Jennifer Collins, and Director of Unscripted, Caroline Spencer, are exceptional at adapting international formats for our local market, and we expect great success to come from our partnership with Keshet International.”

EXCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION PARTNERSHIP WITH MARTA DUSSELDORP

Fremantle has announced an exclusive development and production partnership with renowned and respected actress, Marta Dusseldorp.

Marta has many distinguished television credits including the title character in Janet King, for which she won the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in 2015, and her starring role as Sarah Adams in A Place to Call Home. Marta’s enviable body of work also includes Crownies, BlackJack and Jack Irish. Marta was Associate Producer on the hugely successful Janet King series.

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Marta said: “I have always admired Jo Porter for her story telling intelligence and overwhelming commitment to Australian Drama. She is one of the leading producers in the country making smart, unique and daring television. I am thrilled to be collaborating with her and the fabulous scripted team at Fremantle. I hope to develop and produce dynamic female driven Australian stories to Fremantle’s slate that not only Australians will want to watch but the world.”

Fremantle will be the home for Marta’s original ideas and projects, which will then be developed and produced with her as part of Fremantle’s drama slate.

Fremantle’s ambition for scripted content is to tell uniquely Australian stories that resonate both locally and internationally. The partnership with Marta is reflective of a strategy to collaborate with the best creatives in the business and be the home of great story-tellers.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Australia & New Zealand, Fremantle, said: “We are incredibly excited that Marta is partnering with us at Fremantle to develop and produce her scripted projects. Marta has a unique and special combination of talent, creativity and foresight which we will embrace at Fremantle. Our Scripted team, led by the remarkable Jo Porter, is striving to partner with the very best creatives, of which Marta most certainly is.”

Also announced today, joining the Fremantle Scripted team in a fulltime role is Jono Gavin. Jono is one of the most sought-after creatives in the country and is best known for his work as Creator, Script Producer and Writer on popular and critical hits Sisters, Offspring, Cleverman, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Beautiful Lie and Puberty Blues. Jono joins the Scripted team in the role of Showrunner/Creator/Writer.

Jo Porter, Director of Scripted, Fremantle, said: “To have a creative the calibre of Jono join our team is a coupe that further enhances our ability to tell unique and captivating stories. Aside from being one of the smartest creatives in the business he’s also one of the most loved drawing talent to work with him.”

Chris and Jo continue to build a Scripted team that will deliver on their commitment to quality drama. Jono joins Nat Lindwall (Executive Producer), Jason Herbison (Executive Producer), Brett Popplewell (Head of Production), Justin Davies (Senior Development Executive), Nathalie Peter Contesse (Development Executive), Billy Bowring (Development Executive) and Erica Harrison (Development Manager) as the core creative team.

Porter said: “I’m so proud of the dynamic and talented group of people who are part of our Scripted team. The key focus for us is optioning and developing a wide range of exciting projects with incredible IP and creatives attached and we look forward to taking them to market.”

Jo Porter also announced today Fremantle’s commitment to ensure diversity in all story rooms.

“At Fremantle we are committed to ensure we have a diverse range of voices in all rooms from the earliest stage of all our scripted development. Not only is it important to give opportunity to a range of voices and reflect contemporary Australia and the world we also know this diversity strengthens our teams. Having a range of perspectives on the stories we tell brings nuance, depth and authenticity. We look forward to working with Agents on this exciting initiative”

Fremantle Announces Appointment of Jennifer Collins as Director Of Content

Fremantle’s CEO Australia & New Zealand, Chris Oliver- Taylor, today announced the appointment of television executive Jennifer Collins to the role of Director of Content within the Australian business. The appointment of Jennifer will be the cornerstone of a leadership team focused on creativity and content.

Jennifer will be responsible for the development and production slates for both scripted and unscripted programming, creating a consolidated strategy across the genres. Her primary focus will be to build depth to Fremantle’s offering and bring about collaborations with the best creatives in the business. Fremantle’s ambition is to create, sell, produce and deliver amazing content for audiences both locally and internationally.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Australia & New Zealand, Fremantle, said: “I am thrilled that Jen is joining Fremantle, she will add significant creative depth that will complement our extraordinary team at Fremantle. As a professional and on a personal-level, I think she will bring enormous value to the business, both culturally and creatively”

Jennifer Collins, Director of Content, Australia, Fremantle, said: "I couldn't be more excited to have this opportunity at Fremantle to work across both scripted and unscripted, and to again work with Chris. After an incredible five years at Screentime, I'm delighted to be joining Fremantle and I look forward to working with the very best creative talent to deliver quality content for Australian and international audiences.”

Jennifer is one of this country’s leading television creatives. She was most recently Head of Non-Fiction at Screentime and prior to this was ABC’s Head of Entertainment. Jennifer has overseen development and production slates at both organisations that include some of Australia’s most recognisable and successful programming; RBT, Stop Laughing... This Is Serious, Dirty Laundry Live, Adam Hills Tonight, The Chaser Decides, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, Gruen Planet and Kitchen Cabinet.

Chris commenced in the role of CEO Australia & New Zealand with Fremantle in September. With the appointment of Jennifer, he has confirmed his creative leadership team. This group will spearhead Fremantle’s development and production strategy with a renewed focus on creativity at the core of our business.

Jo Porter, Director of Scripted, will continue to lead and drive drama and scripted comedy production for Fremantle. Caroline Spencer, Director of Unscripted, will be focused on leading the factual, light entertainment and game-shows through their development and production cycle, as well as manage all third-party format agreements. Jonathon Summerhayes, Director of Major Formats, will manage and lead Fremantle’s biggest entertainment formats such as Australia’s Got Talent and The Greatest Dancer. Jo, Caroline and Jonathon will report into Jennifer.

Chris said: “Fremantle is in an enviable position with some of the best creatives in the country as part of our family. I’ve worked with Jo, Spence and Jono to more clearly define their roles and the value they can deliver to our broadcast partners. It is important we have them focused on what they do best – creating amazing content. Jen will be taking the big- picture perspective looking at our slates across scripted, unscripted and major formats.”

Jennifer will commence with Fremantle next week.

Fremantle Media scoops five Logie Awards

It was thrilling and proud night for FMA at the 60th TV Week Logie Awards with five wins for two of our much-loved programs, Wentworth and Family Feud Australia.

Family Feud host Grant Denyer won the biggest honour of the night, the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television. 

And the awards kept coming as the Family Feud frontman also picked up the Logie for Most Popular Presenter.

Wentworth saw great success winning both the prestigious Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Drama and the highly prized Logie for Most Popular Drama.

Pamela Rabe won the Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actress for her chilling portrayal of Joan Ferguson in Wentworth.

These awards are a credit to the incredibly creative and hard-working production teams of both programs.

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FMA Receives FIVE Nominations at AWGIES

FremantleMedia Australia has received an impressive FIVE nominations at the 50th Annual AWGIE Awards, announced this morning by the Australian Writers’ Guild.

Neighbours’ impact on the Australian psyche continues, with three nominations in the Television – Serial category for Sam Meikle, Sue Hore and Peter Mattessi. In the category of Television – Series or Miniseries, Pete McTighe is nominated for his Wentworth episode of Seeing Red; and in the Television – Series or Miniseries (Less than 4 hours), Hoges: Part 1 was given a nod by the judges for Keith Thompson’s script.  

Since 1968 the Australian Writers’ Guild has presented the AWGIE Awards to recognise and reward the talents, triumphs and unique contributions of Australian screen and stage writers to the Australian arts. The AWGIE Awards is the only writers’ awards judged solely by writers, based on the written script – the writer’s intention rather than the finished product.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, this year’s AWGIE Awards will be presented across 19 individual categories including feature film, television, documentary, theatre, animation and interactive media as well as the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, proudly presented by Foxtel.

AWGIE recipients will be announced at the 50th Annual AWGIE Awards on Friday 25 August 2017 in Sydney.

TELEVISION – SERIAL

Neighbours: Episode 7414 – Sam Meikle

Neighbours: Episode 7477 – Sue Hore

Neighbours: Episode 7492 – Peter Mattessi

TELEVISION – SERIES OR MINISERIES (MORE THAN 4 HOURS DURATION)

Wentworth: ‘Seeing Red' – Pete McTighe

TELEVISION – TELEMOVIE OR MINISERIES (LESS THAN 4 HOURS DURATION)

Hoges: Part 1 – Keith Thompson

Media Contact: steven.murphy@fremantlemedia.com.au

Production Commences On third Season Of The Great Australian Bake Off

Production Commences On third Season Of The Great Australian Bake Off

Series to premiere on Lifestyle FOOD later this year.

The tent is up, the ovens preheated and some of the country’s best amateur bakers are ready to do baking battle in the third season of Lifestyle FOOD’s deliciously successful series, THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF.

Produced by FremantleMedia Australia exclusively for Foxtel, the 10-part series started filming in Sydney last week with 12 new bakers donning their aprons and taking their spot in the iconic Bake Off shed.

Over the coming weeks, these home baking enthusiasts will take on up to 30 mouth-watering challenges that will test their baking prowess and creativity in a bid to find the country’s best baker.

Culinary icon Maggie Beer and acclaimed chef Matt Moran will once again be judging the bakers on their skills at making cakes, breads, pastries and desserts of all kinds. Comedians Claire Hooper and Mel Buttle are also back to host the third season, armed with an arsenal of fresh baking puns.

THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF has been a huge success for Lifestyle FOOD, with the first two series continually breaking viewing records and finishing as the number one program in the channel’s history across all metrics. The third series of THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF will premiere later this year.

THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF is a FremantleMedia Australia production for Foxtel based on a format created by Love Productions and distributed by BBC Worldwide.

Following its broadcast on Lifestyle FOOD, THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF will be available to watch via Foxtel On Demand, which is available on internet connected iQ boxes, Foxtel Play or enjoyed on the move via Foxtel Go, Foxtel’s mobile app. Foxtel Go is included in all residential and Foxtel play subscriptions at no extra cost. 

Media Contact: adrian.motte@fremantlemedia.com.au

Gary Conway Celebrated At The Prestigious ADG Awards

He has been a much-loved fixture behind the camera on Neighbours for the past three decades, and now director Gary Conway has been recognised by his peers with a prestigious Australian Directors’ Guild Award.

Starting on Neighbours during the 1980s when Kylie and Jason were starring, Gary won the Award for Best Direction in a TV Drama Serial at the ADG Awards over the weekend with his direction of Brad and Lauren’s wedding episode 7509.

Gary’s contribution to the rise of countless of young Australian actors including Jason and Kylie, Natalie Imbruglia, Craig Mclaughlan, Daniel Macpherson, Guy Pearce, Jesse Spencer, Natalie Basingthwaite, Ashley Brewer, and Margo Robbie is an incredible achievement. Currently overseas, Gary is delighted by his win and said:

“Directing is a team effort, it’s all well and good to have a vision but it’s crucial to have the hard work and dedication from each and every department. I would like to thank the script department for the terrific story, the cast for their performances, Angelo and the Post team, a big thanks to the Art department for creating a magnificent wedding and to each and every crew member for creating a fantastic episode”.

The award further cements Neighbours continuing influence on the worldwide drama landscape. A big congratulations to Gary and all the Neighbours team!

Media Contact: kelly.davis@fremantlemedia.com.au 

Wentworth To Start Production On Season Six

FremantleMedia Australia’s global hit drama Wentworth will this month go into production of its sixth season, Foxtel has announced.

Wentworth’s fifth season launched last month on Foxtel’s showcase channel and the next 12-episode season of the AACTA and Logie Award winning drama will shoot on location through winter in Melbourne to be scheduled on Foxtel in 2018.

Wentworth premiered in 2013 and is Foxtel’s longest-running original drama. The series is distributed by FremantleMedia International and is now seen in more than 140 territories and there are productions in Dutch, German and Flemish.

The drama has been lauded by critics at home and abroad and acknowledged with award wins and nominations. Most recently, Wentworth won the 6th AACTA Award for Most Outstanding Drama Series in December and was nominated in the 59th TV Week Logie Awards in the popular-voted Best Drama Series category and the industry-voted categories of Most Outstanding Drama Series, Most Outstanding Supporting Actress for Nicole da Silva as Franky Doyle, and Most Outstanding Actress for Danielle Cormack in her final season as Bea Smith.

Foxtel head of drama Penny Win said: “As Foxtel’s longest-running original drama, Wentworth continues to set a high bar for our local production slate. There is so much yet to unfold with season five premiering now in Australia on Foxtel before any details should be revealed about the sixth season. My lips are sealed other than to say Marcia Gardner and the writers continue to excel in setting up intriguing story arcs and finely crafted scripts for the wonderfully talented Wentworth cast to bring to life.” 

FremantleMedia Australia’s Director of Drama Jo Porter said: “Getting to a sixth season is something none of us take for granted. Key to this is the unwavering dedication to the show by the incredible Wentworth audience both in Australia and around the world. Like us they are drawn to our exceptional cast who embody the diverse, complex and intriguing characters who populate the intense world of Wentworth and its high stakes and compelling stories.

“None of this would be possible without our wonderful partners Foxtel. Together with series producer Pino Amenta, the wonderful team of writers, directors, crew, and cast, we all look forward to opening the gates of Wentworth for the next chapter. Knowing what they have in store, fans won’t be disappointed and we can’t wait to get started.”

Media Contact: kelly.davis@fremantlemedia.com.au

First Look at Picnic at Hanging Rock

First Look at Picnic at Hanging Rock

FremantleMedia Australia and Foxtel this week released the first official image from the set of our new event drama Picnic at Hanging Rock, in production in Victoria.

The first look image reveals Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, In Darkness) as English headmistress Mrs Hester Appleyard alongside Samara Weaving as Irma Leopold, Madeleine Madden as Marion Quade and Lily Sullivan as Miranda Reid.

“I am thrilled to be in Australia working with an exceptional creative team on Picnic at Hanging Rock,” Ms Dormer said. “This re-imagining of the iconic story will no doubt grab a contemporary audience with its mystery, emotion and wide range of complex, smart female characters. To play Hester Appleyard is a joy.” 

Picnic at Hanging Rock will plunge viewers into the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and one teacher on Valentine’s Day 1900, taking the audience on a new journey into Joan Lindsay’s revered Australian novel through the six part drama which has production investment from Screen Australia and Film Victoria. 

The extensive cast includes Lola Bessis as Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers, mistress of French Conversation, Music and Dance; Yael Stone as Miss Dora Lumley, mistress of Deportment and Bible Studies; Anna McGahan as Miss Greta McCraw, mistress of Geography and Mathematics, Sibylla Budd as Mrs Valange, mistress of Art and Literature, Ruby Rees as Edith Horton and introduces Inez Curro as Sara Waybourne.   Other characters will be played by Don Hany, Harrison Gilbertson, James Hoare, Marcus Graham, Mark Coles Smith, Jonny Pasvolsky, Philip Quast, Emily Gruhl, Ros Gentle, Julie Nihill, Kaarin Fairfax, Huw Higginson, Ron Jacobson and Kim Gyngell.

Picnic at Hanging Rock will premiere on Foxtel’s showcase channel at a date to be confirmed.

FremantleMedia International is distributing the drama internationally.

Media Contact: kelly.davis@fremantlemedia.com.au

Family Feud Star Wars Edition

Family Feud Star Wars Edition

Calling all Star Wars and Family Feud fans: May the 4th Be With You! To celebrate Star Wars Day this Thursday, FremantleMedia Australia has collaborated with The Walt Disney Company to launch the Family Feud Star Wars board game

The board game’s release coincides with a one-off Star Wars themed episode of Family Feud to screen on TEN and WIN Network this Thursday, May 4 at 6pm and ties in with the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars film franchise.

The Network Ten hit is a natural fit for brand leverage. With the regular Family Feud board game the Number 1 selling game last year, the Family Feud Star Wars board game is the second co-branded offering after Family Feud Disney Edition, which hit Number 2 best seller in Australia in 2016.

The episode sees two teams of Star Wars fans battling it out with questions from the movie franchise and a chance to win a trip to Disneyland California and $10,000 spending money. With Stormtrooper cos-players and audience members dressed up as their favourite Star Wars characters, it’s set to be an action packed episode. 

“To see Family Feud associated with the world’s biggest movie franchise brand is an honour and, building on the success of last year’s Disney board game, we are thrilled to once again evolve and integrate the Feud brand to continually entertain and engage our audience,” says Zara Curtis, General Manager Brand Partnerships, FremantleMedia Australia. 

Manufactured by Imagination Gaming, the Family Feud Star Wars board game is available from Kmart stores nationally at a RRP of $29.

“This year, from a galaxy far, far away we will have combined two global entertainment brands with Star Wars themed questions,” says Imagination Gaming CEO Shane Yeend. “We can’t wait to see it hit the shelves and are thrilled with this new-look, co-branding of the game.”  

Family Feud Star Wars is a FremantleMedia Australia production for Network Ten, screening 6pm on Thursday, May 4.

Media Contact: Adrian.motte@fremantlemedia.com.au

Stargazing Live Discovers New Planets

In news that is simply out of this world, Stargazing Live viewers have discovered four brand new planets orbiting a yellow parent star – the biggest discovery in the show’s history and one that has caused excitement in the scientific community.

The FMA-produced series for the ABC, which has been a long-running BBC format, last night revealed the newly discovered system is in the constellation of Aquarius. It is 600-light years away and the planets are each between two and three times the size of Earth. 

Professor Brian Cox says, “I couldn’t be more excited about these discoveries - in the seven years I’ve been making Stargazing Live this is the most significant scientific discovery we’ve made. The results are a wonderful and intriguing surprise.” 

It is a new solar system, and one that scientists didn’t know existed until yesterday.

More than ten thousand viewers from all around Australia logged on to abc.net.au/stargazing to help analyse the data that identified the new solar system. 

The discovery was made using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, in collaboration with the Zooniverse project and with scientists at the University of California Santa Cruz and at Caltech.

Congratulations to FMA Executive Producer Lara Hopkins and her team for producing one of the year’s standout science programs.

Media Contact: adrian.motte@fremantlemedia.com.au

Neighbours Forging New Ground

FMA’s internationally loved serial drama Neighbours is forging new ground, with news today the series will commence screening on Canada’s LGBTIQ network OUTtv from April 24.

Ramsay Street welcomed a regular gay character in 2010 with the introduction of Chris Pappas played by Melbourne actor James Mason and followed by Meyne Wyatt playing Nate Kinski.

Currently there are three LGBTQ regular characters in series played by Matt Wilson, Takaya Honda and long-time Ramsay Street favourite Carla Bonner, along with recurring guest characters played by Claudia Greenstone and Louise Crawford.

“Our quest always is for Neighbours to be a reflection of our community in terms of diversity and acceptance, and focus on what should be our ‘normal’ as we go about our lives,” said Jason Herbision, Executive Producer, Neighbours. “We are absolutely thrilled that viewers in Canada will be able to experience all our characters on OUTtv,”

OUTtv will be in-line with Neighbours episodes screening here and on Channel 5 in the UK.

Media Contact: Kelly.davis@fremantlemedia.com.au

New Characters Hit Ramsay Street

Neighbours is boosting its cast, with five new regular characters joining the one of the series most popular dynasties, the Rebecchi family.

Nicholas Coghlan (Nowhere Boys, House Husbands) reprises the character Shane Rebecchi, the older brother of long-time favourite Toadie. He is joined by his wife Dipi played by Sharon Johal (Winners & Losers).  In their first television roles, newcomers Olivia Junkeer and Vani Dhir play daughters Yashvi and Kirsha respectively. Drama graduate Scarlet Vas has been cast as Dipi’s spirited younger sister Mishti Sharma who also makes the move to the big smoke from country Victoria.

The Rebecchi’s have been integral to Neighbours for more than two decades. Led by iconic characters Angie and ‘Big Kev’, the larger than life family that included their three sons, have been involved in some of the most memorable moments in the show’s history.

“Shane Rebecchi is one of the great untapped characters from Neighbours history.  I’m delighted to welcome him back to Ramsay Street along with his beautiful wife, two children and sister-in-law, it’s a great new chapter of the Rebecchi family," said Jason Herbison, Neighbours’ Executive Producer.

The Rebecchi’s take up residency on Ramsay Street from April 17.

Media contact: kelly.davis@fremantlemedia.com.au