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What do the scripted commissioners want?

Missed our Film Victoria / ACMI session on Thursday? Missed finding out what the free to air scripted commissioners are looking for?

Catch up here:

Or read our notes!

Sally Riley, Head of Scripted Production, ABC

We commission scripted premium drama primarily for Sunday night 8.30pm. We want high end high concept s but that doesn’t mean they can’t be about family etc.

We have an eclectic slate; last year we did The Cry, Total Control and Operation Buffalo – which are distinctive Australian shows, with emotional character journeys.

I want to be transported, to see a world I haven’t seen before. Diversity in our content is key. Diversity in them and written by the people who feature in them.

We want shows that work on broadcast and iView.

We’re chasing younger audiences, but younger audiences largely come to iView. Mystery Road worked well on both

We do take risks on projects – The Heights – which was a talent accelerator project but with our current financial situation we can’t commit to a third season.

Andy Ryan, Head of Drama, Nine Network

We’re very targeted in our development.

Any show we’re going to consider has to first pass with the creatives and fit with our business.

Our audience is clearly 25-54. Any drama show we commission will air on a Mon, Tues or Wed evening. It will come after a big strip reality show and it must retain that audience.

It must build on the overnight figures i.e. it will have a strong life on catch up / time shift. The show has to be sticky. But within those guidelines we’re interested in a range of things, it could be a limited series, an event mini, a returning series – I don’t think about season two when people are pitching.

Halifax ticked all those boxes for us.

Amanda Duthie, Head of Scripted, SBS

We commissioner 4 x 1 hr series and we don’t do 30mins.

The slate is small but amazing.

We want shows that are provocative with purpose, noisy, sticky, authentic, genre bending and that tell a story about the diversity of communities.

Todd Abbott, Head of Comedy, ABC

I’m looking to fill the 9pm Wednesday Slot. I want it to be original and funny, with a point of view. Not just like Fleabag… Something that’s yours, that’s a new idea and will make people laugh. I know it sounds like I’m being a smart alec when I say that but I don’t mean to be. You really do need to make sure if you’re pitching a comedy series that there are plenty of jokes.

Kyas Hepworth, Acting Head of NITV, Senior Commissioning Editor, SBS

At NITV we’ve got a lot going on. Our focus is to tell black stories on screen – tell them from our perspective. We need two indigenous key creatives – minimum. We want to see ourselves on screen, we want our kids to see themselves. Really it could be anything – but if you’re going to come to us, come early and talk to us.

Think about Little J and Big Cuz – it invites everyone into the backyard, was a great co-commission and it felt like someone telling their own story.

Libbie Doherty, Head of Children's Production, ABC

We’ve currently got dramas in development for ABC Me.

But we’re light on comedy. We want an authentic point of view. We absolutely don’t want to reboot kids shows. We want original ideas that are fast, kooky, weird, odd – that’s something that we’re looking for.

We’re looking for high concept shows that can travel to the world.

We only pay a percentage of the full budget so we need ones that will have international appeal.

Animation is a cornerstone.

Preschool is always challenging but we’re hoping to expand on the success of Bluey.


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