“Neighbours” is due to come to an end on Aug. 1 in both Australia and the UK, but its Australian broadcaster Network 10 is still holding onto hope there could be a future for the show.
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 funding partner.
Currently, the show is produced in Australia by Fremantle with additional funding from the UK’s Channel 5. The UK partner, however, decided to end the partnership and instead focus on local projects.
McGarvey said the decision was devastating.
“Obviously the show had two commissioners and unfortunately the UK for their own good reasons wanted to invest their money into UK content. And unfortunately Fremantle were unable to find another UK partner,” she said at last week’s Screen Forever conference.
“Unfortunately unless they find international partners, it’s not possible for us to continue … There’s been a lot of attempts to restructure things and trying to work out how it’s possible.”
Despite the immense scale of the problem, it appears McGarvey hasn’t quite let go, admitting 10 would love to be able to keep doing the show.
“Now maybe I am an optimist, but I am still grasping at the faint hope that someday they will find another partner and we would love to continue to be the Australian partner,” she said.
McGarvey noted that “Neighbours” is an iconic program and the Australian screen production sector will be worse off when it’s gone.
“It’s a devastating loss for that skills gathering. And people often start out on those big shows,” she said.
“No matter what way you cut it, “Neighbours” is still a loss and one that we’re very very sad about. We really didn’t want it to happen.”
Daniel Monaghan, Paramount ANZ’s senior vice president of content and programming, told Variety Australia that things hadn’t gone to plan.
“When Fremantle told us they weren’t going to be able to get the funding out of the UK – we needed that funding. Everyone needed that UK partner to keep the show. It was incredibly disappointing. It does good numbers on 10 Peach. It’s got an incredibly loyal fan base. It’s been around for almost 40 years. [It’s] a stalwart.
“But unfortunately when they couldn’t find a partner, it just wasn’t a viable proposition for us. And we were really hopeful for a long time… But it hasn’t worked out the way that we would have liked.”