Sun screen

View­ers can feel the love this sum­mer as TV chan­nels aim to in­crease au­di­ence share, writes Colin Vick­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

FOR years sum­mer TV has been the dump­ing ground for failed shows, end­less re­peats and wall-to-wall sport. There’s still junk in the sched­ule, but the land­scape is chang­ing. This sum­mer the com­mer­cial net­works, their dig­i­tal off­shoots, plus the ABC, SBS and Fox­tel will en­gage in a fierce bat­tle to win ex­tra view­ers.

Chan­nel 10’s new dig­i­tal chan­nel, 11, launches on Jan­uary 11. Ten plans to use Neigh­bours, fea­tur­ing staron-the-rise Valentina No­vakovic (main pic­ture) and The Simp­sons to spear­head the new chan­nel, aimed at 13 to 29-year-olds.

The re­cent share buy-ups at the net­work have many me­dia com­men­ta­tors say­ing a cloud hov­ers over Ten’s plans.

Ten man­age­ment in­sists it’s full steam ahead with 11 and the $20 mil­lion news re­vamp.

Neigh­bours ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Su­san Bower says a po­ten­tial new PG rat­ing for the long-run­ning soapie will give her the free­dom to ex­plore more hot-but­ton topics.

Up­com­ing sto­ry­lines in­clude a fire and a lovers’ tryst and a star-crossed love af­fair.

‘‘Neigh­bours will be push­ing the bound­aries more, which we are ex­cited about,’’ Bower says.

Ten has been hard hit by Nine’s GO!, which tar­gets 16 to 39-year-olds. Ten is con­fi­dent it has the strat­egy to boost au­di­ence share.

Nine and Seven will have new sum­mer of­fer­ings on dig­i­tal chan­nels GO!, Gem, 7Two and 7Mate. So what should we be look­ing out for and avoid­ing this sum­mer? A fes­tive ver­sion of the hit mu­sic quiz show Spicks

and Specks. Kerry Arm­strong heads this Aussie drama about three gen­er­a­tions of women in a coun­try town. Peter Hel­liar bombed as host of Chan­nel 7’s The Bounce, but is back to host this sports quiz.

If you missed this saucy, bloody drama on Fox­tel, see it on ABC2. Jonathan Rhys Mey­ers stars as King Henry VIII.

On the move: Rachael Finch co-hosts High Road, Low Road.

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