ABC announces more original programs for 2017

Todd Sampson, Ian Thorpe and David Stratton join ABC’s program lineup for 2017

The ABC has announced that 25 new programs will join its slate of 31 returning shows, including news and current affairs programs, in 2017.

Among the slate of new programming are drama series like Pulse and The Easybeats, comedy shows like Hannah Gadsby’s Nude, as well as factual event television programs such as Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line and Bullied, which will be hosted by former Australian Olympian Ian Thorpe. The public broadcaster has also invested in children’s programs like Mustangs FC and My Year 12 Life.

ABC director of television Richard Finlayson said: “It’s with great pleasure we reveal another raft of world-class content today, programming that unequivocally confirms ABC as the home of Australian stories, conversations and the best creative talent. Our programs continue not only to entertain but to tackle the things that matter, at home, in the community and the nation.”

ABC will continue to live stream all of its channels on its digital platform, ABC iview.

Talking about the success of the platform in 2016, head of programming and digital, Rebecca Heap, said in a statement: “Last year we launched live streaming of all ABC channels on ABC iview and created the ABC ME platform for school-aged children. Since the launch of the ABC ME app we’ve seen a 68% uplift in plays and recently hit a record 516,000 plays in one single day.

“After the enormous success of our digital-first content slate last year, in 2017 we’re committed to produce more hours of digital programs targeting younger audiences across iview and ABC2.”


•  Stargazing Live in Australia

Over three consecutive nights on ABC, Professor Brian Cox and a cast of Australia’s leading scientists and favourite faces will inspire the nation to “look up” and appreciate the unique wonders of the Southern Sky. There’s nowhere better in the world to see the heavens than in Australia. Here we can see up to 100 times more stars than in the Northern Hemisphere – and it’s not just because the skies are clearer. From our great southern land, we look directly out into the vast heart of the Milky Way. Based on the immensely popular BBC format, this will be LIVE event television at its best.

•  War on Waste

The exciting new three-part factual series War on Waste will turn the spotlight on the staggering amount of waste we produce as a nation, and how together we can do something about it. No stranger to confronting situations, presenter Craig Reucassel will take on the supermarkets, challenge Australians to go waste free, debunk recycling myths, and uncover some shocking truths about fashion waste. Most importantly he’ll take a critical look at household, retail and farming waste in Australia – and ask, what has changed in the Australian psyche, and in our consumer culture, that has led us to become among the most wasteful nations on Earth.

•  Bullied

Olympian Ian Thorpe is tackling the issue of bullying by taking audiences to the frontline of an issue that deeply affects a quarter of school-aged children in Australia. Bullied adopts a controversial approach by arming the victims of bullying with cameras to capture and reveal their real-life experience firsthand. It’s confronting television. But the aim is not to name and shame the bullies, but to work with the community to achieve a positive, lasting and supportive outcome. With the additional support of specialist child psychologists, Bullied will bring to light an issue that is widely talked about but rarely understood.

•  Cyberhate with Tara Moss

Co-programmed on ABC2 and ABC iview in the week of Bullied will be the revealing program Cyberhate with Tara Moss. Author, journalist, and human rights advocate Tara Moss will take us on a tour to the darkest corners of the web to uncover the world of cyber violence. Through interviews, discussion, cutting edge science and Moss’s own story of dealing with online threats, anger and trolls, this series will investigate why fury is reshaping the online world.

•  Compass

Compass returns at 6pm on March 4 in a new Saturday timeslot when Geraldine Doogue passes the baton to brand new Compass presenter Kumi Taguchi in an interview revealing why Taguchi is the perfect person for the job.

But Doogue is not stepping back completely and will continue to host specials throughout the year including Modern Prophets, an interview series with a refreshing perspective on key events in the religious and secular calendar and a powerful one-hour special exploring the potential outcomes of a Royal Commission.

•  Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line

Todd Sampson puts his faith in science to the ultimate test in a series of epic experiments, trusting his life to the Laws of Physics. With the help of some of Australia’s leading young physicists, along with a first-class construction and safety team, each episode follows Sampson’s journey from the kernel of an idea through to a daring experiment that will show physics in action on an incredible scale. Filmed in Melbourne, Sydney, Bankstown, Cockatoo Island, Kangaroo Valley and New Zealand, Life on the Line is a visually poetic and stunning documentary series that reveals the invisible forces in the world around us.

•  David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema

David Stratton came to understand the nation and its deepest preoccupations through Australian cinema. The films helped him make sense of his own life and his advocacy of them turned him into an unlikely national icon. In this three-part series, some of Australia’s movie greats add their perspectives: actors Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Eric Bana and Jacki Weaver, and directors Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Fred Schepisi, Bruce Beresford and David Michod. Footage from memorable Australian films and extraordinary archives across time also help tell this epic story.


ABC delivers the best dramas on Australian television.

Previously announced dramas for 2017 include Newton’s Law, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Warriors plus new seasons of the strikingly original Cleverman and Glitch and homegrown favourites Janet King and The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

Joining them on ABC’s 2017 drama slate are the Australian medical drama Pulse and the two-part Easybeats miniseries The Easybeats.

•  Pulse

A high-flying financial analyst had it all before a failing kidney landed her at death’s door, and a transplant offered her a second chance. Inspired by the man who saved her life, Frankie alters course to become a doctor herself, working and learning in the high-stakes, high-pressure world of the cardio-thoracic and renal wards of a major teaching hospital.

•  The Easybeats

In 1964 when five young newly arrived immigrants met in a Sydney migrant hostel and formed a band called The Easybeats, no one could have guessed they’d take Australian rock’n’roll from Villawood in Sydney to London and the world, creating Australia’s first truly international rock group.

Interwoven with a killer soundtrack, this two-part miniseries touches on themes of celebrity, damnation and redemption. It was a wild ride being rock stars in the swinging 60s. And in their pursuit of success the members of the band each struggled with their own sense of self and the loss of identity that comes with overwhelming fame. But in the end they came to understand that though they were all from different countries, the sum of the musical parts was quintessentially Australian. This is a story with powerful contemporary relevance.


2017 will also see the return of award-winning comedies Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell and Utopia, plus comedian Anne Edmonds‘ original noir comedy The Edge of the Bush and new autobiographical comedy Ronny Chieng: International Student, which has just gone into production this week for ABC in Australia and Comedy Central in the US.

Back too is the team at The Checkout, Shaun Micallef in The Ex-PM, as well as more of the Katering Show girls in Get Krack!n’.

•  Get Krack!n’

Having conquered the cutthroat world of satirical online cooking shows, the Kates (McLennan and McCartney) are ready to take their trademark sassy swipe at breakfast TV with Get Krack!n’. With no sense of on-camera technique, the Kates will shuffle through a roster of unsafe demonstrations, surly guests, underprepared experts and the over-lit decomposition of the duo’s already rocky relationship.

Like any televisual format that the Kates put their rough, manly hands to, things on Get Krack!n’ will go downhill fast. Frankly, whatever the hour, an audience deserves better.

•  The Ex-PM

After the surprising success of his autobiography, Ex-PM Andrew Dugdale (Shaun Micallef) answers his party’s call to stand for election in a marginal Murray Darling electorate. They tell him they want a “sure thing” in the contest. With his entire household in tow, all of them working on his campaign, Dugdale sets up house at the local sewage farm and begins engaging with the local community, particularly over a contentious plan to expand a national park that will wipe out the local Nando’s.

•  Hannah Gadsby’s Nude

“The Nude” is one of the most enduring subjects in western art and culture. In this two-part arts-doc series, comedy queen Hannah Gadsby undresses the nude and lays bare our compelling relationship with the human form. Wielding her wit like a TV detective with a UV light, Gadsby reveals the invisible clothing of The Nude. This series will get you thinking, even if you only tune in for a laugh. Hannah Gadsby. Nude. Look out.

•  The Checkout

The Checkout resumes its unwavering mission to make the Australian Consumer Law sexy, expose the ways we’re all being ripped off and give us the tools to fix it.

ABC will also continue to offer snappy, bite-sized servings of ambitious and innovative entertainment exactly when you want it, with must-see ABC iview exclusives PopAbility and The Chinaboy Show.

•  Pop-Ability

The Sisters of Invention are the world’s first pop girl group with disabilities. Determined to challenge society’s pre-conceived ideas about who can be a pop star, the group are getting ready to release an ambitious music video to accompany their debut album. But can they break free of the tough reality of living with a disability? This is an unforgettable series exclusive to ABC iview.

•  The Chinaboy Show

John Luc’s The Chinaboy Show is the first ABC sketch comedy written from the perspective of a Vietnamese-Chinese Australian. Front and centre of this series is online sensation John Luc (aka Mychonny), whose content has enjoyed more than 300 million views, easily making him one of Australia’s most-loved YouTube stars.


A new member of the iview family, the ABC ME app, met with immediate success when it launched in September last year. Now a firm favourite for Australian families, it became the #1 app in iOS in its first week with over 50,000 downloads. Downloads have since surpassed 250,000. The ABC KIDS iview app, which launched in 2015, has also continued to grow with more than 1.2 million downloads to date.

Must-see shows this year for young viewers include Mustangs FC, Get Grubby TV, My Year 12 Life and Joey’s Big Adventure.

•  Mustangs FC

Mustangs FC is a goal-kicking comedy drama about girls who abandon the sidelines and start their football club’s first all-girls team. Against the odds, they’ll stand united and overcome any challenges the club, the boys, or the opposition can throw at them, all while wrestling with what it means to be a friend, a sister, a daughter or a girlfriend.

•  Get Grubby TV

Get Grubby TV takes the Australian Emmy award-winning animated TV series, dirtgirlworld, and re-imagines the story to reveal the real place and the real characters… unreal! Having invented the ‘costavator’, dirtgirl and scrapboy have also gained a new friend, Costa the Garden Gnome (Costa Georgiadis from Gardening Australia), and together they are travelling across Australia to new places and getting grubby… big time!

•  My Year 12 Life

At the start of 2016 an unprecedented television experiment was launched. After scouring the country and watching hundreds of auditions, ABC gave cameras to a diverse group of 14 teenagers to film the most dramatic 12 months of their lives – Year 12.

The resulting self-executed ‘vlogumentary’ series is unfiltered, intimate, emotional, often hilarious and full of suspense – what will their ATAR numbers be and what do they go through to get them?

There were no film crews, no producers on the ground, just 14 teenagers telling their own stories to their own cameras in their own way. They have documented the raw drama of their final year of school, and remind us how important Year 12 is to those living through it, what the future looks like at 18, and how that’s changed over the years.

It’s a truly a one-of-a-kind program that no Australian family can afford to miss and will air on ABC and ABC ME, plus ABC iview will house every episode as catch-up as well as over 400 pieces of additional content.

•  Joey’s Big Adventure

Play School’s brand new toy Joey will jump into a big adventure to explore the world of baby animals. Joey will join Play School presenters Miranda, Luke, and Rachel as they introduce pre-schoolers to the wonderful world of wildlife. They’ll meet and uncover facts about a range of baby animals, from hatching gentoo penguin chicks in their snow enclosure to a litter of adorable six-week-old puppies. With a beautiful catchy song to accompany each episode, Joey’s Big Adventure will provide insights into the animal kingdom with plenty of giggles along the way.

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