“Neighbours” has life left in it yet, with the show set to return following a landmark deal between Amazon’s Prime Video and Network 10.
The shock deal comes after Network 10 and local production company Fremantle were forced to let go of the long-running iconic soap when U.K. partner Channel 5 decided to stop co-funding the series.
As late as March this year, Beverley McGarvey, chief content officer and executive vice president of Paramount ANZ – Network 10’s parent company – said she is “still grasping at faint hope” the show could find a new funding partner and continue.
This appeared to amount to nothing, however, with the show wrapping up earlier this year by bringing back a number of iconic characters and past storylines to say farewell.
Late on Thursday evening though, months after the show aired its final episodes, Network 10 revealed that Fremantle had struck a deal with Amazon Freevee and Prime Video to revive the series.
The network confirmed “Neighbours” stalwarts Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy), Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy), Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson) and Ryan Moloney (Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi) would be back in 2023, with more casting announcements to come.
Jason Herbison, executive producer of “Neighbours” for Fremantle since 2013, and Rick Maier, head of drama and executive production for Paramount ANZ, will maintain their positions on the new iteration of the show, with Andrew Thompson returning as producer.
Network 10 will retain first-run broadcast rights in Australia. U.K. and U.S. audiences will also be able to view the series free of charge on Amazon Freevee. The revitalised series will also be available on Prime Video in Australia and New Zealand seven days after the free-to-air viewing of the new series, and exclusively on Prime Video in Canada.
McGarvey said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome “Neighbours” back home to Network 10, and while we loved the finale earlier this year and appreciated the incredible support from the cast, crew and fans, we continued to hold a small glimmer of hope that one day it would be possible to resume the series.
“We are grateful for the tenacity and determination displayed by Fremantle in securing a new production partner so our association could continue.
“A much-loved stalwart of our program schedule for over 35 years, we can’t wait to bring back the perfect blend of soap and sunshine to Australian audiences which will also add a fantastic boost to the Victorian and wider production community.”
Greg Woods, CEO of Fremantle Australia, said: “The love for “Neighbours” is undeniable and we have been determined to explore every possible avenue to bring it back for loyal fans across the world. We are beyond thrilled to have secured this landmark deal with Amazon Freevee, along with Network 10 in Australia, long-term and passionate supporters of the show.
“We will be going back into the writing room immediately and production for this wonderful series will begin next year. Neighbours has been so important for the Victorian production community, and along with our partners, will provide new opportunities on both sides of the camera. We cannot wait to get started.”
Neighbours ran for 37 years and nearly 9,000 episodes since its launch in 1985.
Production is set to commence in early 2023 with a world premiere slated for the second half of the year.