Upfronts: Channel 7 dominates TV ratings war, reveals exciting programs that will ‘keep it at the top’ in 2022

The West Australian
VideoSam Armytage joins Farmer wants a wife

Seven has claimed victory in the cut-throat ratings war, announcing it is Australia’s number one television and Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD) network in 2021.

The official announcement came via Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton, who told media buyers, advertisers and journalists at their annual Upfronts event, streamed virtually this year, that: “Two years after we announced our new content strategy, including a clear focus on reaching younger viewers, we are currently back at number one, and that is where we are going to stay.”

“With the best sport, news and entertainment on Australian TV, including some of the biggest TV brands in the world, Seven will win the 2021 calendar year in 25 to 54s, 16 to 39s, under 50s and total people.

“We are also number one across the survey year, even excluding the incredible results we achieved with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” he said.

Seven used Upfronts to announce a new slate of shows for 2022.

James Warburton says Seven is ‘back at number one’.
Camera IconJames Warburton says Seven is ‘back at number one’. Credit: Seven/supplied

The Network has invested heavily in “proven” formats, and announced the return of several iconic shows, including My Kitchen Rules, which will run in the first quarter of next year.

There is no word yet on whether Manu Feildel and controversial judge Pete Evans will return as judges, though it looks unlikely.

“We have a lot of options we are considering, particularly with borders reopening. That gives us even more people to look at,” Director of Programming at the Seven Network, Angus Ross, told The West.

“Clearly the format needs to be refreshed, and we have had a very good track record of refreshing formats after the last few years and making them very successful again.”

Seven will also air a brand new, rebooted Australian Idol, which will screen live shows (COVID-19 permitting) next year.

“The great thing about next year is that it finally looks like we can deliver what we promised in that space,” Warburton told The West, pointing out that the pandemic had put a dent in many of their plans for 2021.

“You look at those Hey Hey ratings (from the 50th anniversary special, which aired on Sunday night to massive ratings) and there is a hell of a lot of nostalgia towards these old proven formats. People are going to be ready for Australian Idol in 2022.”

Daryl Somers on the set of Hey Hey It’s 50Years.
Camera IconDaryl Somers on the set of Hey Hey It’s 50Years. Credit: Supplied

Warburton would not be drawn on whether Hey Hey It’s Saturday would be returning, though he did tell The West, “after those numbers, I would be pretty darn keen on part two of Hey Hey Fifty Years.”

Australia’s Got Talent — which was delayed this year due to the pandemic — will be back in 2022, and will see Ricki-Lee Coulter return as host, along with an all-star judging panel thought to include previously-announced judges, Neil Patrick Harris, Kate Ritchie and English musician Alesha Dixon, schedules permitting.

“We are hoping to get those AGT judges back for next year — we really thought we had struck gold with that panel,” Warburton told The West.

“(The Show) was supposed to be on now — that is the annoying thing about this year. So when we go in fully-loaded with all the programming we want to produce next year, we are going to be absolutely unstoppable,” he said.

Dancing With The Stars will also be back with another “All Stars” format — Angie Kent and Olympia Valance were announced as two of the returning stars.

Big Brother will also be back on screens later this year with its VIP format. It will also return in 2022, and we’ll see previous housemates star alongside 12 new contestants. It’s still unsure just who will be cast, though Sarah Marie Fiedel, fourth series winner Trevor Butler and ex-Neighbours/Big Brother star Blair McDonough all appeared in a video package screened.

The third season of SAS Australia will run in the first half of 2022, with two new SAS Directing Staff.
Camera IconThe third season of SAS Australia will run in the first half of 2022, with two new SAS Directing Staff.

The Voice, Australia’s biggest show this year will also screen in 2022, with this year’s successful judging panel, including Rita Ora, Keith Urban, Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy, confirmed to return.

A spin-off season, The Voice Generations, will also screen, and we’ll see several generations of the same family compete for a chair turn and their chance to take out the crown.

There will be a slight shake-up in the schedule, and next year SAS Australia will run in the first half of the year. Two new SAS Directing Staff, retired US Navy Seal Clint Emerson and former British Special Forces soldier Dean Stott, who once trained Prince Harry, will join Ant Middleton and existing DS (Directing Staff) Ollie Ollerton.

Olympians Geoff Huegill and Melissa Wu, AFL star Wayne Carey, singer/actor Melissa Tkautz, and reality stars Locky Gilbert and Anna Heinrich have been announced as contestants.

As well as stacking their programming schedule with “tentpole” reality shows — including Farmer Wants a Wife, which will return with ex-Sunrise host Samantha Armytage in a guest co-hosting role — we’ll see a new show, Apartment Rules, based on the House Rules concept make its debut.

Farmer Wants a Wife will return with ex-Sunrise host Samantha Armytage in a guest co-hosting role.
Camera IconFarmer Wants a Wife will return with ex-Sunrise host Samantha Armytage in a guest co-hosting role. Credit: Samantha Armytage/Instagram/Samantha Armytage/Instagram

The network will also continue to invest in locally-produced drama.

Home and Away is still a priority, and as announced exclusively yesterday, Seven will also begin production on a dramatised mini-series based on the Claremont Serial Killer case.

Sport is also a major focus for the Network, who have secured the Ashes Test, the Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games coverage, which will kick off on July 28. Joining the Ashes commentary team is Lord Ian Botham.

On the local front, Seven Perth and The West Australian newspaper continue as local market leaders, with Warburton describing the partnership between the masthead and the network as “unbeatable.”

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