ABC Television 2016 Upfronts – “Catch The Wonderful”

ABC Television unveiled their 2016 lineup with The Katering Show on iView, new indigenous drama Cleverman, season 4 of Rake, and more

By Dan Barrett

ABC Television tonight unveiled their 2016 lineup at an event in Sydney at Doltone House.

ABC TV head Richard Finlayson took to the stage to present the lineup to the audience. He opened by reconfirming the news announced at last weeks Screen Forever conference that the ABC would commence live streaming of their linear TV channels commencing in December with ABC Television. ABC2 and ABC3 are expected to stream at a later date. Finlayson also advised that the primary ABC channel would move to HD, swapping with ABC News 24, which will shift to a standard definition broadcast.

While the crowd were largely enthused by the program offering, there were some shows that clearly caught the rooms attention.

Truly a sign of the changing way that we consume content, the announcement to illicit the greatest response from the crowd was that YouTube sensation The Katering Show will be moving to ABC iView for its second season. It was clear from the crowd reaction that the audience were not only excited by the news, but that the crowd were completely besotted by series stars Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney.

While the evenings host, Celia Pacquola, was warmly received by the audience, it was her Utopia co-star Luke McGregor that the audience seemed generally taken with. McGregor showcased his upcoming sex advice comedy series Luke Warm Sex, which received generous audience laughter, while announcing the upcoming relationship comedy series Rosehaven, which will have him team up with Pacquola.

An appearance by Richard Roxburgh announcing season four of Rake was warmly met, drama series Cleverman was the series to keep audiences talking later in the night. A co-production with AMC channel SundanceTV, Cleverman has its roots in the ABC’s indigenous production unit. The sci-fi series boasts impressive special effects by WETA.

The 2016 ABC TV schedule:

Barracuda (4 x 60 mins)
Set in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, this drama, based on the Christos Tsiolkas, novel, is about Australia’s obsession with sporting heroes. In Barracuda, a Melbourne teenager on his way to becoming a swimming superstar, is sent to a prestigious grammar school where he struggles to fit in amongst society’s privileged while developing a friendship/rivalry with his teammate.

Stars: Elias Anton, Matt Nable, Ben Kindon, and Rachel Griffiths
Written by Blake Ayshford and Belinda Chayko.
Directed by Robert Connolly.
Production: Matchbox Pictures in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.

Cleverman (6 x 60 mins)
Two brothers fight together against enemies both human and not of this world. But, can one of the brothers, a man with a powerful gift and destined to become Cleverman, learn to harness his power before its not too late?

Stars: Iain Glenn, Frances O’Connor, Deborah Mailman, Hunter Page-Lochard, and Stef Dawson.
Written by: Michael Miller, Jon Bell, Jane Allen
Directed by: Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell
Production: Goalpost Pictures and Pukeko Pictures for ABC TV in co-production with SundanceTV and Red Arrow International, with the assistance of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.


Jack Irish (6 x 60 mins)
Following on from the previous three telemovies, Jack Irish is tasked to find a missing person, but is soon framed for his murder. The mystery takes Jack Irish from his home in Fitzroy to a remote village in the Philippines.

Stars: Guy Pearce, Claudia Karvan, Brooke Satchwell, Marta Dusseldorp, and Deborah Mailman.
Written by: Andrew Knight, Matt Cameron and Andrew Anastasios.
Directed by: Kieran Darcy Smith, Mark Joffe and Daniel Nettheim
Production: An Essential Media production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.

Janet King (8 x 60 mins)
Janet is handpicked by a nervous government to head a Royal Commission into the surge in recent shootings. The Royal Commission allows Janet and her team to become the investigators – they can raid, interrogate and have police seconded to them.

Stars: Marta Dusseldorp, Leah Purcell, Hamish Michael, Andrea Demetriades, and Damian Walshe-Howling
Written by: Greg Haddrick, Niki Aken, Stuart Page and Felicity Packard.
Directed by Peter Andrikidis, Grant Brown and Ian Watson.
Production: Screentime (a Banijay Group Company) production in association with ABC TV and Screen NSW.

Rake (8 x 60 mins)
Rake returns for a fourth season where Cleaver Greene is on the run from a one-time mentor, turned criminal on-the-run. Throughout the series, Greene also deals with terrorist threats in Sydney and a yellow brick road leading to the back door of Federal Parliament.

Stars: Richard Roxburgh, Matt Day, Danielle Cormack, and Adrienne Pickering.
Written by Peter Duncan and Andrew Knight.
Directed by Peter Duncan, Peter Salmon and Rowan Woods.
Production: An Essential Media and Blow By Blow production in association with ABC TV and Screen NSW.

The Code (6 x 60 mins)
Following on from the first season of The Code, as Jesse and Ned face possible extradition to the US, Australian National Security is sitting on an explosive case they cannot crack, and Jesse Banks might just be the man to do it.

Stars: Ashley Zuckerman, Dan Spielman, Anthony LaPaglia, and Adele Perovic.
Written by: Shelley Birse.
Directed by Shawn Seet.
Production. A Playmaker production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia, Screen Queensland, Screen NSW and Screen ACT.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries (8 x 60 mins)
Doctor Blake returns for a fourth season, with 1950’s Ballarat continuing to serve as a hotbed of murder, deception, trickery, and espionage. A mysterious figure from Blake’s past arrives, and romance continues to bubble away between Dr Blake and housekeeper Jean.

Stars: Craig McLachlan, Nadine Garner, Rodger Corser, and Charlie Cousins.
Written by: Stuart Page, Peter McTighe, Paul Oliver, Chelsea Cassio, Sarah Lambert.
Directed by Declan Eames, Fiona Banks, John Hartley, Ian Barry.
Production: A December Media production in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria.



Black Comedy (6 x 30 mins)
Written and performed by Indigenous performers, BLACK COMEDY has given a voice to a whole new generation of Indigenous comedy artists. Modern, confronting, silly, thought-provoking but above all funny, BLACK COMEDY offers a truly original comedic insight into what it means to be black in a white country. Writers: Adam Briggs, Nakkiah Lui, Kiara Milera, Steven Oliver, Paul Ryan and Ian Zaro. Producers: Kath Shelper, Mark O’Toole. Directors: Beck Cole, Erica Glynn.

ABC COMEDY SHOWROOM brings together some of Australia’s best comic talent for six new pilots, each the first episode of a brand new sitcom. ABC audiences will get to vote via ABC iview for the shows they want back as full series. The move is similar to Amazon’s pilot vetting process and UK network Channel 4’s Comedy Showcase.

  • EDDIE PERFECT: THE FUTURE IS EXPENSIVE Creator, writer and star Eddie Perfect (Offspring, Playschool) navigates modern life as a husband and father, never sure if the absurdity around him is really happening. Directed by Matthew Saville. Produced by Rosemary Blight and Lauren Edwards for Goalpost Pictures. Executive Producers for Goalpost: Kylie Du Fresne and Ben Grant.
  • KATE MCCARTNEY & KATE MCLENNAN’s BLEAK From The Katering Show team – the definitive look at losing your job, catching your boyfriend f*cking someone else, and moving back with your parents – all on the same day. Created, written by and starring Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney. Directed by Kate McCartney. Also stars Shane Bourne, Brooke Satchwell, Jean Kittson, Toby Truslove and Sammy J. Co-produced by McCartney and McLennan for Lead Balloon. Produced by Laura Waters and Jessica Leslie for Princess Pictures.
  • RONNY CHIENG: INTERNATIONAL STUDENT The Daily Show (US)’s Ronny Chieng comes home to star in his hilarious tale of moving from Malaysia to go to uni in Australia. Created and written by Ronny Chieng & Declan Fay. Directed by Jonathan Brough. Produced by Donna Andrews for Sticky Pictures.
  • THE LETDOWN From the producers of The Chaser, the story of a struggling new mum and the local Mothers’ Group she thinks she doesn’t need. Created & written by Alison Bell & Sarah Scheller. Stars Alison Bell, Noni Hazlehurst. Directed by Trent O’Donnell. Produced by Julian Morrow and Martin Robertson for Giant Dwarf.
  • LAWRENCE MOONEY: MOONMAN Lawrence Mooney bums through life as a hard-partying latenight radio host, until news from his long-suffering girlfriend turns life upside down. Also stars Ian Smith (Neighbours), Elise Jansen. Produced by Joe Connor and Jen Livingston for Renegade Films. Directed by Clayton Jacobson. Created & written by Scott Taylor.
  • THE LEGEND OF GAVIN TANNER From the makers of DAFUQ?, and based on the hit webseries – Balladeen, WA’s crappiest pot dealer Gavin Tanner (Matt Lovkis) sets out every week to prove he’s the biggest legend in town. Always with disastrous results. Created, written and directed by Matt Lovkis and Henry Inglis. Produced by Lauren Elliott for Mad Kids.

Rosehaven (8 x 30 mins)
After an unfulfilling stint on the mainland, Daniel (Luke McGregor) returns home to his native Tasmania to temporarily babysit the family real estate business.  With his mother away, Daniel relishes the chance to run his own business and prove to the people of Rosehaven that he’s not the anxious pushover he once was. While dealing with unreasonable landlords, stubborn tenants and eccentric townspeople, another curveball presents: his best friend Emma (Celia Pacquola) arrives on the doorstep, three days married and seemingly on the run from her honeymoon. Together, these two best friends will try and turn around a failing family business and along the way, come to realise that their friendship might mean something more.

Created, written by and starring: Luke McGregor and Celia Pacquola.
Production: A Guesswork Television production in association with ABC TV and Screen Tasmania.

Soul Mates (6 x 30 mins)
Returning for a second season, Soul Mates charts the incarnations of bickering wannabes who clash and bond through space and time.

Written and directed by Christiaan Van Vuuren and Connor Van Vuuren.
Production:A Soul HQ production in association with ABC TV, SeeSo (NBC Universal), Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Upper Middle Bogan (8 x 30 mins)
Series three of the show continues the struggle of Bess Denyar, a woman seeking to make a happy union between her adoptive and biological families.

Stars: Annie Maynard, Robyn Nevin, Michala Banas, Patrick Brammall, Glenn Robbins, Robyn Malcolm, Madeleine Jevic, Rhys Mitchell, Dougie Baldwin, Lara Robinson and Harrison Feldman.
Created, written and executive produced by Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope.
Directed by Wayne Hope.
Production: A Gristmill Production in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria.


The Great Education Experiment (4 x 60 mins)
A year is spent in a typical public school in Melbourne’s outer suburbs to uncover what really goes on in our high schools and what happens when you try to improve them.
Production: A CJZ production for the ABC, supported by Screen Australia and Film Victoria.

Ice Wars (4 x 60 mins)
On the frontline with police and health services, Ice Wars lays bare the facts and ramifications of ice in Australia. You may be living next door to an ice lab and not even know it.
Production: A Northern Pictures production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW

Keeping Australia Alive (6 x 60 mins)
With 100 hours filming over 24 hours, what happens in Australia’s health service. By looking closely at our health system we put ourselves under the microscope; Who are we? How do we live? What do we value? What are our priorities? How do we want to live and die? It is also about the future; how will we, as a nation, face the challenges ahead?
Production: An ITV studios Australia production in association with ABC TV, supported by Screen Australia and Screen NSW

David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef (3 x 60 mins)
Using pioneering camera technology, this series will provide a uniquely authored insight into a global treasure, and uncover the history and secrets of this richly bio-diverse landmark
Production: Atlantic Productions for BBC.

Howard On Menzies (2 x 60 mins)
Former Prime Minister John Howard contends that we will likely never see leadership in the form of Menzies again. Noteable Australians from Bob Hawke to Barry Humphries, Rupert Murdoch to Clive James engage in one-on-one conversations with Howard that will stand alone as pertinent, historic exchanges for the archives.
Production: A Smith&Nasht production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW.


Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War (3 x 60 mins)
In their own words and through their own extraordinary helmetcam battle footage (much of it never before seen) Australian warriors lay bare their hearts.
Production: Essential Media and Entertainment, ABC TV, Screen Australia.

Hatch, Match, and Dispatch (8 x 30 mins)
A behind-the-scenes observational documentary series about the men and women of the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) – and the important work they do in helping Australians through the landmark turning points of life.
Production: A Fredbird Entertainment production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW

Compass: The Shadowland (2 x 30 mins)
How an outspoken Anglican priest, an asylum seeker and a refugee advocate refuse to let fear get in the way of compassion. Father Rod Bower is the creator of an ever-changing billboard outside the Anglican Church of Gosford. His pithy commentary on asylum seekers and other key issues have earned him a Facebook profile attracting 30-thousand likes, international media interest and a burgeoning following of Christians, people of other faiths and atheists.
Production: Bunya Treehouse Production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW

Silvia’s Italian Table (8 x 30 mins)
Join Italian food writer, Silvia Colloca, as she invites Australia’s most interesting personalities into her kitchen to show them how to cook while sharing stories the Italian way – surrounded by good food and great friends.
Production: A FremantleMedia Australia Production.


Luke Warm Sex (6 x 30 mins)
LukeMcGregor is 33 and has had sex three times… two if he’s honest. In this six-part series Luke will challenge himself to answer the question: “With the help of experts can I get a whole lot better at sex?”

Production: An ABC/Northern Pictures Co-Production.

Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery
Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell
The Weekly with Charlie Pickering


Nowhere Boys: The Book of Shadows (1 x 80 mins)
On the verge of separating, the Nowhere Boys are drawn together for one last spell when Felix discovers a magically sealed ‘Book of Shadows’.
Production: Matchbox Pictures

Nowhere Boys (15 x 30 mins)
When Luke, a tech-nerd, arrives for his first day at Bremin High all appears to be tiresomely ordinary, but what he doesn’t know is that Bremin is located at the convergence of magical ley lines and that someone has been awaiting his arrival to put together a new gang of Nowhere Boys.
Production: Matchbox Pictures.

Prisoner Zero (26 x 24 mins)
A classically styled animation, this is a science fiction, action adventure series following the exploits of teen heroes, Tag and Gem, and their mysterious friend Prisoner Zero.
Production: Planet 55 Studios

The Deep (26 x 22 mins)
An action-packed aquatic family adventure!
Production: A Stark Production

Bushwacked Bugs (10 x 5 mins)
In every child’s backyard lives a secret world of rarely seen or understood insects. Every day and night these guys do extraordinary things.
Production: Mint Pictures

This is Me (22 x 5 minutes)
THIS IS ME showcases children 9-13 years from around the country as they share their thoughts about their life, friends and family.
Production: Air Pig Productions

Tomorrow When The War Began (6 x 60 mins)
This dramatic adventure series tells the story of a group of teenagers who are separated from their families following an invasion of their country, a conflict they never saw coming.
Production: Ambience Entertainment.

Trip For Biscuits (18 x 10 mins)
In an iview first for young teens, sci-fi fanboy Bajo has landed his dream job: Intergalactic PI at Spatial and Existential Phenomena Investigations (SEPI). The job is awesome! Except that his boss seems to work on both sides of the law, his goofy partner Tosh prefers social media to snooping and his weapons specialist Amy is the boss’s 16-year-old niece, who is a ‘blow things up first, ask questions later’ kinda girl.
Production: Robot Panther

Winston Steinburger and Sir Dudley Ding Dong (52 x 10 mins)
A fast-paced, high-energy animated tween comedy, the series follows the intergalactic exploits of three unlikely amigos as they seek out adventure in the Globulus Galaxy.
Production: Sticky Pictures

Good Game: SP
You’re Skitting Me

Australian of The Year
Federal Election: Australia Votes & US Election
Budget 2016
Planet America
New Years Eve 2016


Dafuq (6 x 10 mins)
“Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more VICE than VICE, get ready for DAFUQ”. Three self-important attention seeker wannabes fight to get to the heart of edgy stories. As long as they’re in it.
Stars: Matt Lovkis, Henry Inglis, and Amberly Cull.
Created, written and directed by Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis.
Production: A Mad Kids production in association with ABC iview, ABC TV and ScreenWest

Black As (24 x 5 mins)
Four young men who live in Ramingining, a remote community on the coast of Arnhem Land, decide to borrow a dinghy and head out to a distant island in search of turtle, crocs and fish to feed their families. Returning home the outboard motor breaks down. Near death, the dinghy washes ashore and the boys start on their journey of survival.
Stars: Chico Wanybarrnga, Jerome Lilipiyana, Dino Wanybarrnga and Jo Smith.
Producer, Writer, Director, Camera: David Batty.
Production: Rebel Films. Funded in association with Screen Australia.

Hello Stranger (10 x 10 mins)
HELLO STRANGER is a contemporary, collective snapshot of Australia from the ground up. Travelling across the country, we interview hundreds of people we meet on the streets.  We uncover characters and get an insight into just how diverse, eccentric and vibrant our country is. Real stories told by real people.
Production: ABC

How To Be a Fan With Hex (7 x 15 mins)
In each episode, Hex will explore one aspect of total fandom; what it is, how it works and what it offers its participants in return for their countless hours of commitment and total devotion.
Production: ABC

The Katering Show (8 x 10 mins)
The second season of the YouTube hit comes to iView
Production: A Katering/ Guesswork Production in association with ABC iview, ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.


You Can’t Ask That (10 x 10 mins)
The public have a chance to ask the awkward, embarrassing, naive, funny, silly, compassionate, even prejudiced questions they’ve always wanted to ask, but never had the courage or proximity to do so. It will break down stereotypes about transgender people, gay parents, polyamorous lovers, the short-statured, ex-cons, the morbidly obese, Aborigines, the terminally ill and others
Production: ABC

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