It's a brave new world...

The announcement yesterday of some of Channel 9’s 2011 highlights was hotly anticipated – for no other reason than a promise by David Gyngell himself that “something special would be announced at the end of the event.” What could it be? An interview with Julian Assange? A reboot of a popular reality TV series? A journo from the station marrying the boss (hang on, that’s already happened). The cynic in me suggested that meant the news would be lame. And I wasn’t far off. But first – the important announcements…

Channel Nine announced today a number of new productions for 2011, adding to the already outstanding schedule from 2010 that won the network the ratings battle in all key demographics (16-39s, 25-54s, and 18- 49s).

Yes, yes. Demographics are important. What’s the NEWS, please?!

First up, the most anticipated new series from the producers of Australia’s number one drama, comes the gripping new instalment, UNDERBELLY RAZOR. Set during the roaring ‘20s in Sydney, when organised crime in Australia began. This is the story of the bloody battle between the era’s most feared vice queens – Tilly Devine and her rival Kate Leigh. It’s the most ambitious, daring UNDERBELLY yet.

Ooh – historical Underbelly. Lots more stabbings and shootings, a lot less cocaine but a lot more alochol. And vice queen battles… that’s gotta be good, right? I don’t want a history lesson, just kill someone and show me some boobs (actually, I think that’s 2012’s Underbelly). Then came the most unexpected and amazing news to date. EVER.

Two of Australia’s great comedic talents, Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee, will be reunited on Nine in 2011 in The Joy Of Sets, giving viewers their unique take on television; the good, the bad and the fabulously misguided. From Zapruder’s Other Films (producers of The Gruen Transfer) The Joy Of Sets will take you to parts of the television universe you never knew existed.

Oh. My. God. OH. MY. GOD. Tony Martin AND Ed Kavalee back together, but this time on our televisions. Thank you, oh televisual gods. Given Zapruder’s experience with comedy and their skill in giving their hosts the head to create and be interesting, this entire show will be complete win. It won’t be for everybody, however TV and comedy nerds will ensure this rates through the roof. Spectacular work. OMG. Announcement over – what? There’s more?…

Strengthening this line up of laughter, Nine welcomes international comedy icon BEN ELTON and his new creation, BEN ELTON LIVE FROM PLANET EARTH. A live comedy show jampacked with Ben’s unique take on pop culture, direct from Melbourne each week.

Yeah, yeah, we already know that. Next.

And, in anticipation of the 2012 London Olympics Games, Nine is delighted that John Clarke and Gina Riley will star in an all new series of the John Clarke/Ross Stevenson mockumentary, THE GAMES – London Calling.

Right. Ch9 I’m gonna put you on notice with this one. The Games was spectacular, and superbly written & delivered in the lead up to the 2000 Olympics. This iteration is yours to screw up – please don’t.

Finally, Australia’s guru of lifestyle television, JAMIE DURIE returns home to Nine, hosting a massive new series, TOP DESIGN. Jamie will take viewers on a journey, searching the country to find people from all walks of life who are passionate about design and renovation. They will then be put to the test to create a masterpiece in this exciting new make over show.

That’s your big announcement? Jamie Durie is coming back to Ch9? The only person that will be really interested in this other than Durie (& his manager) will be Scott Cam – No more The Block for him. Actually with the bounce out of the GFC and the success Durie is having with his “Outdoor Room” magazine this could herald a spectacular return for Nine back to home improvement/reno/lifestyle programming. Eyes open, this could be good (but not a lynch-pin announcement by any stretch). Anyway, their release continued:

These outstanding new productions join the strongest Nine schedule yet:

Nine, the Home of Drama: UNDERBELLY RAZOR, three major UNDERBELLY movie events – Tell Them Lucifer was Here, Infiltration and The Man Who Got Away, Rescue Special Ops – series 3 and Sea Patrol 5: Damage Control, The Mentalist and the CSI franchise.

Nine, the Home of Entertainment: All new Top Gear UK & Australia, Customs, RBT, RPA, Hot Property, This is Your Life, The Block, Getaway, The Farmer Wants a Wife and Millionaire Hot Seat.

Nine, the Home of Laughter: $#*! My Dad Says, Mike & Molly, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Hot in Cleveland, Mr Sunshine and Episodes.

Nine, the Home of the most respected News and Current Affairs: Nine News, A Current Affair, 60 Minutes and the Today Show.

Nine, the Home of Sport: The ASHES, the World Cup Cricket, the NRL and State of Origin series, the Rugby Union World Cup, and coming in 2012, London Olympic Games.

That’s a pretty impressive list. The comedy list, however, is a whole lot of programs that premiered in the US this year (in Shit My Dad Says and Mike & Molly) that didn’t get great reviews plus some other standards. Your comedy quotient better get better than that. For now though, you do have some pretty cracking sport (bring on the 2011 NRL & State Of Origin series).