SARAH WIL­SON

Pay- TV view­ers now have even more to choose from, as pre­sen­ter and pro­ducer Sarah Wil­son told Guy Davis.

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - For more in­for­ma­tion about Aus­tar’s new line-up, visit www.aus­tar.com.au, or Life­Style YOU at www. life­style. com. au.

PAM­PERS WITH LIFE­STYLE YOU

SUM­MARY

A hand­ful of ex­cit­ing new chan­nels have been added to the pay-TV cat­a­logue right in time for the hol­i­days. Life­Style You, headed up by ex-Masterchef’s Sarah Wil­son, will let you know the right dress to wear when your best friend is miss­ing in action. T he ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of sub­scribers to pay-TV will no doubt be aware that there’s no short­age of chan­nels to check out.

What’s more, th­ese var­i­ous chan­nels cater to a wide va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests – whether you’re a movie buff , a sports ad­dict or a news junkie, there’s plenty to keep you glued to the screen.

And guess what? Now there’s even more to watch. On Novem­ber 15, pay-TV provider Aus­tar launched an ar­ray of new chan­nels in both high-defi ni­tion and stan­dard-defi ni­tion ( or HD and SD, if you want to use the tech­ni­cal ter­mi­nol­ogy). The all-new HD pro­gram­ming off ers crys­tal-clear sound and vi­sion on a va­ri­ety of sports and movie chan­nels, mak­ing it the ideal way to usher in the new era of dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion that will roll out in 2010.

And in the SD line-up, there are new chan­nels ca­ter­ing to spe­cific niches. There are movie sta­tions fo­cus­ing on par­tic­u­lar gen­res, such as action and com­edy. There are kids’ sta­tions that are ed­u­ca­tion-cen­tred and ad-free. There are new doc­u­men­tary sta­tions with a wider range of top­ics than ever be­fore, from Nat Geo Wild to Al Jazeera.

Proof that pay-TV is de­liv­er­ing con­tent that meets the par­tic­u­lar wants and needs of its au­di­ence is the launch of Life­Style YOU, a new chan­nel from the mak­ers of The Life­Style Chan­nel and Life­Style Food.

Aimed es­pe­cially at women be­tween 25 and 45, the sta­tion is looking to pro­vide shows that not only off er its view­ers a lit­tle “ me time” but also off er ad­vice on – in the words of Sarah Wil­son, the am­bas­sador of Life­Style YOU – “ how to make your life bet­ter”.

The jour­nal­ist, colum­nist and for­mer host of MasterChef Aus­tralia is the “ face” of the new chan­nel (“ which means all kinds of things,” she laughed) and is work­ing be­hind the scenes with pro­duc­ers at Life­Style YOU to de­velop pro­grams that she’ll put to­gether and pos­si­bly host.

Wil­son’s de­par­ture from the amaz­ingly suc­cess­ful MasterChef came as a sur­prise to many. But with the orig­i­nal UK ver­sion of the show hav­ing no such host, it be­came in­creas­ingly ev­i­dent to the mak­ers of MasterChef Aus­tralia that Wil­son’s role was, in her words, “ a lit­tle su­per­flu­ous”.

And that left Wil­son feel­ing a bit frus­trated. So once the 2009 sea­son wrapped up, she and the pow­ers that be at Ten made a de­ci­sion to am­i­ca­bly part ways.

“ There was no burn­ing of bridges,” she stated. “ Of­ten when you read that some­one de­cided to leave a show, it’s code for them be­ing dumped. In this case, how­ever, it was what it was.”

Ten was keen to stay in the Sarah Wil­son busi­ness, invit­ing her to take part in The 7PM Project and other shows. Wil­son, how­ever, was keen to stretch her wings and make her own op­por­tu­ni­ties. So a meet­ing with XYZnet­works, the team be­hind the Life­Style line-up of pro­grams, came at just the right time.

“ Pay-TV is kind of the fu­ture,” she said. “ There’s a lot of dy­namic growth go­ing on – risks are be­ing taken and a lot of those gam­bles are re­ally pay­ing off . With en­ter­tain­ment, you’ll have the oc­ca­sional mass-ap­peal block­buster like MasterChef but in­creas­ingly it’s pro­gram­ming that is spe­cific that is be­com­ing a sen­sa­tion.”

And Life­Style YOU is tak­ing its cue from re­search aimed at dis­cov­er­ing what its key au­di­ence wants from its view­ing.

“ Not since Sex and the City has there re­ally been pro­gram­ming geared at the 25-45 de­mo­graphic,” said Wil­son. “ It found that there was a real need for a chan­nel aimed at women in that age group. My take on Life­Style YOU is that it’s about what our grand­moth­ers used to talk about over the back fence, ev­ery­thing from fam­ily fi­nances to emo­tional well-be­ing.”

When it comes to lo­cal con­tent, Wil­son is be­ing joined by the likes of An­to­nia Kid­man and Kate Water­house as Life­Style YOU’s per­son­al­i­ties. And shows are cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped with them in mind.

“ I’ve got a white­board full of ideas in front of me at the mo­ment,” laughed Wil­son. “ And we’ll be cre­at­ing new con­tent all the time.”

Wil­son: “ Pay-TV is kind of the fu­ture. There’s a lot of dy­namic growth go­ing on – risks are be­ing taken and a lot of those gam­bles are

re­ally pay­ing off .”

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