Made Up Stories dramedy ‘Strife’ bolsters Binge line-up for 2023

Made Up Stories producer Steve Hutensky, writer Sarah Scheller, Asher Keddie, Made Up Stories producer Jodi Matterson, and Mia Freedman.

A new dramedy from Made Up Stories, inspired by Mia Freedman’s memoir Work, Strife, Balance, will join comedy Colin From Accounts and the second season of Love Me on Binge’s scripted slate for 2023.

The Foxtel-owned streaming service will also make its first foray into reality with a local version of US dating format, FBoy Island.

Both titles were announced this evening at Allianz Stadium as part of the Foxtel Group’s upfronts, held under the title of ‘Game Changed’.

Strife stars Asher Keddie as Evelyn Jones, a ‘modern imperfect woman’ that goes from lounge room blogger to a force within women’s media.

Her journey takes place against the background of a dynamic and ever-changing publishing world at a time when digital media was still fresh on the scene.

Made Up Stories’ Bruna Papandrea, Jodi Matterson, and Steve Hutensky are executive producing alongside writer/showrunner Sarah Scheller, Keddie, Freedman, and Foxtel’s Brian Walsh and Alison Hurbert-Burns.

The series, which will commence shooting early next year in Sydney, is being made in partnership with Fifth Season, who will also handle international distribution.

Scheller, who created the 2017 series The Letdown with Alison Bell, said Strife was about capturing a “unique moment in time”.

“[It was] a time that really saw the proliferation of the start-up and also this prose of a more confessional writing style, such as the personal essay, which came back in force,” she said.

“Female blogging was coming to its fore and from 2010 to 2012. Sites like the one where the show is set were creating a space for female writers that didn’t previously exist, so it’s a really fun space to capture a show.

“Evelyn will try to navigate this new landscape along with a marriage breakdown, being a mother to two adolescent children, and a growing public profile, so we’ll see this messy intersection of female ambition and motherhood. “

FBoy Island, to be produced by Warner Bros. International Television Production Australia, will also kick off in the coming months.

The reality series centres on three women who are joined by 24 men on a tropical island, with half the suitors motivated by love, and the other half by fun. It is up to the female trio to determine what is the best fit for them.

Rachel Khoo, Darren Purchese, Natalie Tran, and Cal Wilson

As with this year, Foxtel will have a strong stable of lifestyle programming in 2023, highlighted by the return of The Great Australian Bake Off with new judges Rachel Khoo and Darren Purchese and hosts Natalie Tran and Cal Wilson, as well as the final season of Grand Designs Australia, which will debut on January 25, 2023.

The company will also be bringing back Gogglebox and rebooting music trivia program Rockwiz.

Sitting alongside the Australian programming are new international dramas, including post-apocalyptic video game series The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsay, and Aussie Anna Torv; and The Idol, created by Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and starring Lily-Rose Depp.

Other overseas titles include the period drama Marie Antoinette, created and written by Deborah Davis (The Favourite); British comedy-drama Chivalry, written by and starring Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani; and Love and Death, a new crime drama starring Elizabeth Olsen and written by David E. Kelley.

Speaking about the year ahead, Foxtel Group chief content and commercial officer Amanda Laing said a “diversity of quality content across drama, comedy, unscripted reality, factual, and movies” sets the company apart.

“Foxtel Group is the partner of choice for many major overseas studios and content distributors, unlocking the world’s best shows to be made exclusively available for our customers here in Australia,” she said.

“We are incredibly excited about the content we have in store for our subscribers to enjoy in 2023. From the biggest sports to the best local and international TV shows and movies, we offer the best range of premium entertainment and sport in the country.”