Christmas is done for another year, New Years’ has come and gone and we are deep in the middle of summer as far as TV is concerned – the part of the year where the free to air programming hits its lowest point for the year. In fact, the New Year’s weekend marks the half way point of summer TV.
Now as we move into January 2011, its just over a month until ratings season and therefore (hopefully) decent programming returns to free to air TV while Pay TV has a number of new shows premiering or returning throughout January.
There’ll be more competition in the free to air space with the launch of new channel ELEVEN at 11am on Tuesday January 11, 2011. When ELEVEN goes to air next week, the 2011 return of Neighbours will be seen at 6.30pm weeknights, starting from Tuesday Jan 11. There will be an extra episode on Friday to make up for the one not aired on Monday.
The first show on ELEVEN will be the Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Shows on the first night include The Simpsons at 7.30, Futurama, The Office and Nurse Jackie and Californication. The Cleveland Show, new Simpsons, Stargate Universe, 90210 and the American So You Think You Can Dance are amongst prime time viewing on the new channel for the rest of the week.
Pay TV has the new season of American Idol on FOX8 from Jan 19, as well as new Idol rival Live to Dance from Jan 20 featuring Paula Abdul as one of the judges, and Andrew G as host. DJ reality series the Stafford Brothers gets underway on FOX8 on Jan 21. New Chuck comes to FOX8 on a new night – Sundays from Jan 23 while new supernatural series The Gates premieres Mon Jan 24 on FOX8.
The third season of Come Dine with Me Australia will be on Lifestyle from Mon Jan 17 at 8.30pm and new Top Chef starts on Arena Jan 10. Meanwhile, the UK version of Junior Masterchef is on Lifestyle Food from Jan 3.
Awards season kicks off in January, with the Critics Choice Awards playing Jan 15 on Starpics, followed by the Golden Globes on Jan 17 on FOX8. Both will be seen in HD on their respective HD channels. Two weeks later, is the Screen Actors Guild Awards, followed by BAFTA’s in Feb, then the big one – the Oscars – seen here Feb 28 – which is already being promoted as exclusively live in HD on Starpics 1HD. Even if Nine do show the ceremony live this year, it will not be in HD unless they simulcast on GEM – which I dare say is not likely.
On Seven, its just two weeks of repeats, New Zealand factuals and general summer programming to go before the Australian Open takes over the schedule, culminating in the Men’s Final on the night of Sunday Jan 30. Leading up to then is the Brisbane international, The Kooyong Classic and the Medibank International from Sydney, before the Australian Open kicks off on Monday Jan 17. Ten also have some tennis, with the Hopman Cup from Perth airing live on ONE HD late afternoon, into the evenings as well as Ten later at night. The final is on Sat Jan 8 on both ONE HD and Ten from 6pm eastern.
While tennis takes over Seven, Nine has plenty of Cricket with the final Ashes Test his week in Sydney, the Commonwealth Bank one Day series, and KFC Twenty/20′s. On Jan 16, you can even see the women’s Twenty/20 on ABC1.
Shows returning to GO! in January include new seasons of V and Fringe on Jan 19, new Hellcats Jan 24 and The Vampire Diaries Jan 31. The InBetweeners is back with new episodes Jan 13.
Home and Away for 2011 returns Jan 24 at 7pm. Then, after the tennis on Seven, expect to see returns of Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Packed to the Rafters, my Kitchen Rules as well as the premiere of the new series Conviction Kitchen.
Going up against Seven will be Nine with new episodes of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist as well as new shows like Ben Elton live from Planet Earth, Mike and Molloy and Sh*t My Dad Says. All in Feb, as well as the most daring Underbelly productions yet…. We’ve all seen the 2011 ads…
Ten will kick of the ratings year with Biggest Loser Families – already in lengthy sneak peeks, with new episodes of Glee, Undercover Boss, The Good Wife, House, Burn Notice as well as new shows like Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods. Like most years, Ten will most likely start new episodes of most of their shows a week before ratings begins, so expect a new line up on Ten from Sunday Jan 30 – not too long to wait now!
The big news for Ten though for 2011 is the new News line up. 6pm with George Negus starts Mon Jan 24, followed by the new local 6.30pm bulletins. In NSW, Sandra Sully will be the host. Ten already have extensive promotions about the new News line up – which, when you include the 7pm Project amounts to two and a half hours of news and news related discussion every night.
Ratings for 2011 officially kicks off Sunday Feb 6, while the Easter non-ratings break runs from April 17-30. The Logies are set to go off on May 1, 2011, while that Royal Wedding is a few days earlier on April 29. One Justin Bieber is touring Australia then as well – hotly tipped to perform at the Logies.
The AFL season for 2011 starts Thur March 24, with the Grand Final on Saturday October 1, 2011. After last year’s drawn Grand Final, the AFL chose not to change the rules, so in the event of another draw, there will be another replay a week later.
The NRL season for 2011 starts with round 1 Fri March 11, with the Grand Final on Sunday October 2. The annual City Vs County match will be on Fri May 6, while the three State of Origins for 2011 are Wed May 25, June 15 and July 6.
At the risk of wishing the year away too quickly already, ratings for 2011 ends on Sat Nov 26. Christmas will be on a Sunday, and New Years Eve the last Saturday for the year. That makes 2011 a 53 week year as far as TV (and business) weeks go – this has to happen every 5-6 years as each year starts one day later (or two when a leap year is involved), and a year is actually 52 weeks and 1 day long (or two in a leap year) – otherwise week 52 and then week 1 that follows would get earlier each year. Week 1 for 2011 was the week including Sun Dec 26 – Jan 1, week 1 for 2012 will be the week including Jan 1 – Jan 7, 2012.
That’s the summary of January 2011 and a brief look into the rest of 2011 for now. In 2011, we’ll keep you posted with all the TV news, programming information, programming amendments and general TV related stuff as stories and information comes to hand.