‘Top Gear Australia’, ‘Aussie Shore’ take Paramount into 2024

Grant Denyer, Sandra Sully, Rod Prosser, Beverley McGarvey, Jarrod Villani, Robert Irwin, Beau Ryan, Tara Rushton, Blair Joscelyne, Julia Morris, and Daniel Monaghan.

Paramount ANZ is banking on “big brands and big talent” in streaming while at the same time aiming to fill the entertainment gaps left by linear competitors in 2024, according to senior vice president for content and programming Daniel Monaghan.

As suspected, the company announced a revival of Top Gear Australia would be heading into production for Paramount+ at its upfronts today, enlisting co-creator of YouTube auto series Mighty Car Mods Blair ‘Moog’ Joscelyne, Amazing Race Australia host Beau Ryan and Survivor Australia‘s Jonathan Lapaglia to front the program.

To be produced with BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand, the eight-part series will begin filming later this year.

It comes nearly a decade after the previous iteration of Top Gear Australia, presented by Shane Jacobson, Ewen Page, and Steve Pizzati, was cancelled by Nine.

There are concerns that the British version, which first aired in 1977, may be heading for a similar fate, with production going on hiatus late last year after an accident while filming left presenter and former cricketer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff with multiple facial injuries.

However, Monaghan told IF the future of the original version was of no consequence to the Australia series, which would be “big and international in its own right”, screening across a range of international territories, including Latin America, France, Germany, Switzerland Austria, Italy, Korea, Japan, and Canada.

“We’re not just sticking around Australia; we are going international,” he said.

“As far as what the BBC in the UK is doing, I can’t comment because I don’t know but Top Gear is a global brand.

‘Top Gear Australia’. (L-R): Beau Ryan, Blair Joscelyne and Jonathan LaPaglia.

“For us, it felt like the right time for a big alternative entertainment show for Paramount+. We have a lot of drama on there and we’ve had some unscripted success with The Inspired Unemployed (Impractical) Jokers, so now we really want to drive that home.”

Paramount+ will also welcome another global format in Aussie Shore, an adaptation of MTV reality series Jersey Shore. Centred on a group of housemates and their partying exploits within a coastal setting, the franchise has since expanded to England, Poland, Brazil, and Mexico.

Monaghan said the performance of other Shore titles on Paramount+ had indicated the time was right to bring the concept to Australia.

“We are the only place to find MTV content, particularly on Paramount+ and the FAST channels and we see how well titles such as Geordie Shore and All Star Shore do,” he said.

“We did a bit of a casting exercise to find out the viability in the market and it worked really well, so we think it is the precise right time for that show on Paramount+ next year to serve a different audience to what we’re serving with the dramas, and a different audience to Top Gear and the Inspired Unemployed.”

The Inspired Unemployed (Impractical) Jokers will join Helium drama Last King of the Cross in returning to Paramount+ for a second season next year, while there will be new drama in the form of Kindling Pictures previously announced Stephanie Wood adaptation Fake.

At its upfronts, Paramount ANZ announced the introduction of a premium plan for Paramount+ from November 16, bringing Paramount’s blockbusters, originals and other programming under premium quality formats, including 4K UHD, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. Premium subscribers can also utilise four concurrent streams, instead of the two streams that come with the standard plan. An advertising tier will be rolled out next year.

Speaking about Paramount+, Monaghan said the company had a qualitative approach.

“We’re not in the market to make 35 local originals next year,” he said.

‘We want to spend money on the right shows for the right audience to get the biggest return possible and to get them in front of the most eyeballs.”

Over on Channel 10, the network is placing further emphasis on revivals, announcing new versions of Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune, and Ready Steady Cook.

Hosted by Grant Denyer, Deal or No Deal will air weekdays at 6pm, slotting in between 10 News First and The Project.

British talk show host Graham Norton will front the refreshed Wheel of Fortune, to be produced by Whisper North, while Living Room presenter Miguel Maestre is onboard for Ready Steady Cook.

Robert Irwin and Julia Morris.

Two of the network’s flagship series – Masterchef Australia and I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here – are also set for a shake-up.

The culinary program will welcome alumnus Poh Ling Yeow, food critic and journalist Sofia Levin, and multi–Michelin Star award-winning chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli as new judges for its sixteenth season following the departure of Melissa Leong, while in the jungle, wildlife warrior Robert Irwin will step into the shoes of Chris Brown in hosting the 10th season of the program alongside Julia Morris.

They are part of a reality line-up that includes previously announced reboot Gladiators, Australian Survivor: Titans v Rebels, Hunted Australia, The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition and Dessert Masters.

In the comedy stakes, there will be new seasons of Have You Been Paying Attention?, The Cheap Seats, Thank God You’re Here, Gogglebox Australia, and Taskmaster.

Monaghan said the strategy for 10 was providing programming that was a point of difference.

“We are trying to be an alternative to competitors in every moment,” he said.

“That’s why the Deal or No Deal is coming back to 6pm; that’s why we were running hot with Dessert Masters over the Olympics next year; and that’s why we’re doing Gladiators against the sport in January.”

“We are here to give a different entertainment offering where it doesn’t exist on our on our competitive linear networks.”