Chris Irvine Explains Public Broadcaster Content List

Following a delay in hopes of doing an in-person upfront, SBS has confirmed its plans for the year with its 2022 Upfront.

Mediaweek spoke to SBS Acting Director of Television and Online Content, Chris Irvinabout the large list of announcements made by the public broadcaster.

See more : SBS Upfront: Public broadcaster confirms series of major announcements


SBS has ordered six new dramas, one being the first-ever co-order with NITV and also four digital originals. Irvine said these are all exciting projects to roll out this year.

“True colors is the first-ever primetime drama series co-commissioned by NITV and SBS. It’s a gripping murder mystery set in the Northern Territory. Against the backdrop of an Aboriginal artistic scene. The show is perfectly multilingual, the dialogue weaves between English and first the local language of the First Nations of Arrente, which is a language that I do not think Australians have ever heard in a drama at the time of great listening before. It kind of weaves into worlds that are essentially Australian, maybe worlds you’ve never seen on TV before.

safe house is the first show we had came from the inimitable Imogen Banksthe creative powerhouse behind Offspring and puberty blues. It is an adaptation of a play, written by Anna Barnes called deadly indifference which is a deftly woven thriller about family violence. It’s full of twists and turns that never cease to amaze you. At its core, it explores the idea that anyone, regardless of race, gender, age, can be a victim or even a perpetrator of crime and violence.

All four digital originals include dark comedy A beginner’s guide to grief who will examine death, grief and identity and Nightbloomers which is an anthology horror series from the Korean Diaspora. It also includes Latecomers which sees two strangers with cerebral palsy determined to explore their relationships with sex and each other after watching their caregivers hook up at a bar, and Appetite where a food delivery boy dies on the streets of Sydney, and an unlikely trio of fellow travelers are entangled in a mystery to uncover the truth. Irvine said there is no measure of success for digital properties, but it’s about developing emerging talent with diverse backgrounds.

“It’s about launching the careers of a new generation of diverse and First Nations storytellers and giving underrepresented voices a platform for success. And they all delivered just that. This year, we’re announcing four, and each of them brings something fresh and original to SBS. ”

Documentary and factual

At SBS Upfront, the broadcaster also announced several new documentaries and factual programs, led by the Australian version of Alone. Irvine said that the international versions of Alone were a smash hit on SBS on Demand.

Alone is a juggernaut for SBS on Demand that currently hosts seven seasons of the US format. And there are also local adaptations from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Alone Without Hyperbole is the most successful factual show ever on our platform and is only second to The Handmaid’s Tale in terms of overall performance. ITV Australia is going to adapt the format for an Australian version, and it’s an extremely complicated show to make. But the format is relatively simple. You drop 10 people with survival training in a remote wilderness with minimal supplies and ask them to fend for as long as they can.


International broadcast

Another highlight of SBS Upfront was the announcement of the extension of the international distribution contract between SBS and Studio Canal. Irvine said it was a vital deal for SBS and SBS on demand.

“StudioCanal has been a long-time provider of incredible content to SBS. We have tremendous affection for StudioCanal and its production. This agreement solidifies that relationship for years to come. We are truly excited to Django which will be the first big-ticket item to come out of this deal later this year. But there are many more to come.

New Channel: SBS WorldWatch

The SBS Upfront also saw the announcement that SBS will expand its multilingual cross-platform services in 2022, with the launch of the new free-to-air TV channel, SBS WorldWatch, from May 23. Irvine said it was a national expansion and allowed more predictability for SBS viewers.

“World news has always been part of our DNA. This is something our audience knows us and World Watch’s offering will continue to serve our multilingual audience as it always has, and will provide greater predictability in terms of the availability of these news bulletins. It will host SBS’s new Arabic and Mandarin news programs, which have already aired on SBS on Demand this month.

Food SBS

During the SBS Upfront, several new and recurring orders were announced for SBS Food, including another 200 episodes of The kitchen with Adam Liaw. This follows an initial order of 200 last year, bringing the series to 400 episodes in total. Asked about it, Irvine said there was no reason not to place another big order.

” Why not us. The kitchen definitely come back. It launched with 200 episodes last year, and it’s coming back with a similar order. It became an absolute hit on SBS food.

Adam Liaw

SBS Commissioning Equity and Inclusion Guidelines

SBS also announced the SBS Commissioning Equity and Inclusion Guidelines, which Irvine says will support broadcasters’ continued commitment to diversity.

“Our portfolio of originals has always been a diverse array of voices across the network because diversity is in our DNA. We are launching equity and inclusion guidelines that will underpin our commitment to see the sector of the screen to better represent the audience it serves. We hold ourselves accountable for ensuring that we deliver on this commitment by introducing goals into all of our condition programming over the next three years.

Top Image: The cast of A Beginner’s Guide to Grief

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