Network Ten unveils eight Pilot Week shows but women are under-represented

Rove McManus.

Rove McManus, Dave O’Neil, Troy Kinne, Rhys Darby, Stephen Curry and Harley Breen are among the stars of eight pilots which will premiere on Network Ten next month, while women are all but overlooked.

Kyle Sandilands and criminal lawyer Anna Heinrich will front a Judge Judy-style reality pilot and former Labor Senator Sam Dastyari will headline a talk show billed as the latest outbreak of outrage.

The line-up prompted a social media backlash. Noting that the casts are overwhelmingly male and white, more than a few people asked: Where are the women?

Typical of the protests, Julie Marlow complained: “White middle-aged men – again. Tone deaf Ten.” Liz Burke said: “It’s all white blokes. Doesn’t anyone else get a go?” Trudy Hellier asked: “Where are the women?” Jane Smith said simply: “No Ten for me.”

In response, Ten’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey told News Limited: “The reaction’s probably not surprising but we are a bit disappointed. What we were looking for in the process was ideas that we wouldn’t otherwise commission. We were trying to be bold in our commissioning.”

Hosted by Grant Denyer and Angela Bishop, Pilot Week launches on Sunday August 19, with viewers encouraged to participate and give their feedback via tenplay and social media. Audience reaction, social buzz and ratings will help decide what shows will be commissioned for 2019.

McGarvey said: “We are excited to be broadcasting such a fantastic array of unique and entertaining programs under the banner of Pilot Week. Involving Australian audiences in whether or not a program gets the green light via tenplay and other social initiatives provides a fantastic opportunity for Australian audiences to have their say in what they want to see on our screens in 2019.

Pilot Week represents a substantial investment in unique and local production and further cements Network Ten’s role as the innovator of Australian commercial television.”

CJZ has a double chance with two pilots. Skit Happens will provide a showcase for up-and-coming comedians in Ten’s first sketch comedy in 12 years. Dastyari and the team behind Gruen and The Chaser will stir the pot in a half hour of opinion, insight and laughs in Disgrace!

Roving Enterprises’ Bring Back… Saturday Night will see McManus and young and old performers – acts, bands and TV faces – strive to break down the conventions of entertainment and variety television.

In Dave, O’Neil will star in a  half-hour narrative comedy produced by Studio Bento while Kinne Tonight is billed as a half hour of laughter, produced by Kinne Productions and Big Yellow Taxi Productions.

Adapted from the US Comedy Central show, Eureka Productions’ Drunk History will see Rhys Darby and Stephen Curry struggle to recount historical events while inebriated.

Lune Media will produce Taboo, an adaptation of a Belgian format which will follow Harley Breen as he spends five days and nights with members of a disadvantaged group and uses the experience to perform a stand-up routine about them – with the subjects sitting in the front row.

Sandilands and Heinrich will aim to settle disputes in Trial By Kyle, produced by Screentime Australia.