With its future secured by investment from CBS, Network 10 embarked on a number of ambitious programming initiatives in 2018.
That new attitude has continued into 2019 with a number of changes to its schedule.
The network had some hits and misses in the first quarter, and it is ready for battle in Q2 with some significant changes.
“We’ve been building some solid momentum over the past couple of weeks,” Network 10’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey told Mediaweek.
“Bachelor In Paradise was extremely successful with young audiences and on our digital platforms, MasterChef Australia continues to perform strongly in our key under 50s demographic and scripted comedy Mr Black launched last week #2 in its timeslot.
“From tonight, Grant Denyer is bringing the laughs to 6pm with Celebrity Name Game and Aussie favourite Have You Been Paying Attention? returns. On Wednesday, we’re really excited to have Five Bedrooms start at 8.40pm. From the creators of Offspring, it’s Aussie drama at its finest. Plus, we have our 2018 Pilot Week shows, Kinne Tonight and Taboo and Todd Sampson’s Body Hack to come in the next few weeks.
“Our Q2 schedule is packed with a diverse range of returning and new shows, filled with all the ingredients to entertain our under 50s audience.
“Across our digital platforms, we’ve been really impressed with the numbers coming through for our first 10 Speaks podcast, The Professor and The Hack – a must-listen in the lead up to the Federal Election this Saturday. 10 Play enjoyed its biggest month ever in April and 10 Daily continues to go from strength to strength as it charges toward its first birthday tomorrow.”
Stephen Curry was a front row warrior for 10 last week with the successful launch of the sitcom Mr Black.
The Melbourne actor first heard about the role from his friend and creator/writer Adam Zwar.
“He asked me if I wanted to play the boyfriend in a piece about an old man who has a go at his daughter’s boyfriend,” Curry told Mediaweek.
“I thought it sounded pretty good – he makes his daughter’s boyfriend’s life a misery.
“I read it, and loved it, but by the time I got back to him he told me he had changed his mind and he wanted me to play the dad.
“I asked him if it was because of my grey hair and he said ‘yes’.”
Curry suggested his friend was very brutal. “It is better to have friends though who are going to let you know how things are.”
Zwar showed Curry the script before production house CJZ came on board. “It might have been Damian Davis at CJZ who suggested I was too old to play the boyfriend. Once CJZ came on board things started moving quickly for the series which ended up with 10.”
Curry noted that scripted comedy is rare on FTA TV these days. “It is harder and harder for commercial networks to justify the difference in what it costs to make a scripted piece to what it costs for a reality piece. You can make a lot more hours in reality.
“Network 10 has been leading the charge in bringing back scripted content to TV. They treat their FTA audience to content that is becoming very rare. Hopefully shows like Mr Black will turn up more frequently on FTA TV.”
When it comes to what is attractive about working on TV, Curry said: “To be really brutal about it, more people are going to see it. It is pretty hard to get Aussies to go to the cinema to watch Australian content.
“On TV there is access to a much bigger audience. And now with on demand services like 10 Play, that content is even more available to a far broader audience than it had been before. With FTA services having their own on demand platforms it is great. We can’t tell people when to watch television these days, but with shows now available on those platforms like 10 Play it gives them a life of their own.”
Curry also likes the speed at which television is made. “It is more enjoyable because you have to get much more done in a shorter period of time. You feel like you have to be on your toes and there is no time for mucking around. You can see TV happening before your eyes. Often with work on a film it can be like watching paint dry. It can depend on the paint of course.”
Curry and Zwar have worked together before, but only briefly, on an episode of Rake. “I played Jackie McKenzie’s husband with whom Adam Zwar’s character was having an affair. Over the course of that episode we managed to cut each other’s penises off. The court case that ensued was equally ridiculous. It was very Rake!”
There first meeting was in the 90s while Curry was doing publicity for a film and Zwar was still a journalist for the Herald Sun. “I’m going to say I was the catalyst for him to get into the entertainment industry. Without me Adam Zwar would have nothing.”
In Mr Black, Curry plays a rabid Collingwood supporter – the club he supports in real life. So far in his career, Curry reminded us how many clubs he has supported onscreen. “I have been a Tigers supporter in a show on The Comedy Channel in the 90s. I have played a West Coast supporter as Damien Oliver in The Cup and a couple of other things. I kind of feel dirty, very dirty, wearing jumpers that aren’t black and white. But I am prepared to don other sticking jerseys for arts sake.”
In a career with a few writing credits alongside his acting CV, Curry said he would like to do more and he revealed he is developing something for the ABC. “Over the last 15 years I have gotten close a couple of times [to developing my own project]. There is a general sense that people see you as an actor with a laptop. You need one hit for people to let that go.
“I find a lot of joy in writing and most of the stuff that I have written professionally has been leading up to being more autonomous and not having to wait around for other people to cast you in things.”
Tomorrow: Stephen Curry on his greatest hits (and one major miss!)
Top Photo: Stephen Curry and the cast of Mr Black