CBS' Australia Network Bets on Local Versions of 'Masked Singer,' 'Survivor' and 'Bachelor' for 2020

Michael Becker/FOX
'The Masked Singer'

The premiere of the Australian adaptation of ‘The Masked Singer' in September was the highest-rated debut for a show on the CBS-owned network in five years.

Australia’s Network Ten will rely on a staple diet of reality series, including local versions of hits The Masked Singer, a double dose of Survivor and The Bachelor franchise, to help continue to grow its target under-50s audience the CBS-owned broadcaster revealed as it launched its 2020 programming lineup at its upfronts presentation in Sydney on Thursday. 

Ten’s primetime 2020 programming lineup will kick off in January with I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Bachelor In Paradise, followed by Survivor Australia: All Stars, a new look and new judges for Masterchef Australia in its twelfth year, while The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Dancing With The Stars and another iteration of Survivor Australia will also cycle through the ratings year. The Bachelor will be programmed against the Olympics, which airs on rival Seven Network. 

The Masked Singer Australia has become a breakout hit for Ten, following its debut in September, which aired to over 1 million viewers nationally and recorded the highest ratings for any new program for Ten in five years. As well as the mystery surrounding the acts, its success has been helped in part by the curious casting of U.S. actress Lindsay Lohan as a judge and the over-the top costumes from Oscar winner Tim Chappel.   

Ten is hoping for similar success with the return to Australian TV of The Amazing Race Australia, which premieres on Oct. 28. 

Network 10 chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said: “A year ago we talked about cementing our position as leaders in escapist entertainment and promised we would have differentiated flagship content targeting our key target market of under 50s — 50 weeks a year. We delivered on that promise and Australians responded. We’ve seen year-on-year TV share growth in all key demographics since August.”

“This year we’ve successfully added new, multi-platform content that will grow in the years to come, including The Masked Singer Australia, Dancing With The Stars and [drama] Five Bedrooms,” she said.

On the drama front Ten has commissioned a new thriller, The Secrets She Keeps for 2020, starring Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, Jessica De Gouw and Michael Dorman from local producer Lingo Pictures and will also premiere FBI Most Wanted, starring Julian McMahon, and the highly anticipated The Gilded Age from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.  It will also bring back Pilot Week for a third year and will debut a local series of Drunk History, which aired in Pilot Week 2018. 

Ten CEO Paul Anderson told local media: "We said that we would invest heavily in three things; content, technology and data and we've spent heavily in each of those areas, which are really giving us some really solid traction now. Next year will be a continuation of that and with the backing of CBS, our promise is that we mean business and that we have a view that is longer than just the next 12 months”.

Ten has the smallest audience of Australia’s three commercial free-to-air broadcasters and is augmenting its offering with SVOD service Ten All Access and catch up service TenPlay as well as its digital multichannels. 

McGarvey added that Ten's hits join other “proven performers,” including Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox, Todd Sampson’s Body Hack, 10 News First and the Melbourne Cup Carnival among others.  

“In 2020, our content will be everywhere — across all platforms — creating a playground that will ensure our shows connect with Australians like never before and get all of Australia talking,” she said.