Nine Unveils New Drama Projects

The Nine Network revealed details of its upcoming telemovie on Schapelle Corby, a miniseries on Gina Rinehart and a telemovie chronicling a near- disaster involving a Qantas flight.

The network’s 2014 slate also includes a factual series which follows Australian diplomats as they deal with Aussies in crisis in Thailand, relationships documentary Married at First Sight, dating show When Love Comes To Town and a new, six-part current affairs series, Inside Story.
FremantleMedia’s Schapelle features Krew Boylan as the 27-year-old beauty school dropout from the Gold Coast who was arrested at Bali airport with 4.2kg of marijuana in a boogie board bag. The cast includes Jacinta Stapleton as her sister Mercedes, Denise Roberts as her mother Ros, Colin Friels as her father Mick, Les Chantery as her mentor Ron Bakir, Vince Colosimo as lawyer Robin Tampoe, Francis Greenslade as Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Michael Croaker as Federal Police boss Mick Keelty.

The telemovie has just finished shooting and insiders say it takes a sympathetic view of Schapelle, which might dispel the Corby family’s initial misgivings about the project.

Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder’s Michael Cordell together with Claudia Karvan and Paul Bennett are producing Gina, a 2-part miniseries profiling the world’s richest woman Gina Rinehart and the Hancock/Rinehart dynasty. The plot follows the public feud between Gina and her father Lang Hancock’s second wife Rose Lacson, her struggles to rebuild the company following her father’s death,  and her recent battles with her children over their multi-billion dollar inheritance.

Screentime’s telemovie Mayday Mayday: The Story of QF32 will chronicle the Qantas flight from Sydney to Singapore on 4 November 2010 that came within a knife edge of being one of the world’s worst air disasters. It will follow the pilots, cabin crew and ground crew as they battle to save the crippled airliner with 469 people on board.

Produced by Fredbird Entertainment and Southern Pictures, the eight-part series The Embassy: Bangkok will follow Aussie diplomats at work in Thailand.

Hosted by Natalie Gruzlewski, Southern Star Entertainment’s When Love Comes to Town will focus on 12 single city girls who have been unlucky in love as they travel to the furthest corners of Australia in order to find ‘the one.’

Produced in-house, Married at First Sight is based on a Danish format in which relationship experts match-make eight Australian singles into four married couples, who each meet each other – for the first time – at their wedding. Each couple has three months to decide if they’re destined to be together.

Inside Story will investigate major crime stories and events in Australia and beyond.  Each episode will feature a different reporter with a studio host who’s yet to be named.

In Shine Australia’s The Voice, superstar coaches Joel Madden and Ricky Martin will be joined by and Kylie Minogue in their quest to discover Australia’s next Voice.

Deltra Goodrem and Madden will be among the coaches on the spin-off The Voice Kids, which will showcase 8-14 year-olds from around Australia.

Nine’s Director of Television Michael Healy told the media the network will decide early next year if there will be another season of Australia’s Got Talent. He said he was happy with the show but acknowledged it was “tonked” by Seven’s The X Factor and averaged about 1 million viewers. 

Big Brother will be back, hosted by Sonia Kruger, with new housemates, new tricks and new twists, and there will be two series of The Block.

Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South America will see the boys span the continent as they learn the art of blow darting from a tribe in the Amazon jungle, indulge in a ‘spit cleansing’ ceremony in Costa Rica and visit a seduction school for Latin lovers in Argentina.

Nine’s line-up includes previously announced dramas Screentime’s Fat Tony & Co., a third season of Playmaker Media’s House Husbands and, from the same producer, Love Child, a 1960s drama set in Kings Cross, starring Jessica Marais, Jonathan LaPaglia, Ryan Corr and Many McElhinney.

Healy said he’s so pleased with Love Child, which will debut in early 2014, that a second series is in early pre-production.

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