2012 is shaping to be one of the biggest years in television yet. More of the population with no longer have access to analog TV; Channel 10 have a new CEO who has already shown his hand as to how he will get the network back on its feet; it’s an Olympic year; and the demand for quality content has not abated such that more people are seeking their television via the many methods available on the internet. Television is both a harsh mistress and a whipping boy for the masses.

There are lots of shows that offer great promise in 2012, and these are my predictions for what will be a hit this year. I don’t mean that every show will be a runaway ratings success – they may also draw critical acclaim yet not ratings (usually the way). They may also be an unappreciated gem, a diamond in the rough. No matter which way it goes, my PVR is gonna be working overtime this year…

Randling – What’s that, you say? A game show hosted by Andrew Denton? Brilliant.
The Straits – Billed as The Sopranos in tropical north Queensland it scored a coup in casting Brian Cox as the patriach of the family, and has the double benefit of a strong supporting cast to boot. Everything Reef Doctors could have been.
Shaun Micallef is Mad As Hell – Two words: Shaun Micallef.
Myf Warhurst’s Nice – Think “Mondo Thingo” for the 80’s, hosted by one of the nicest women in television. It’s nostalgia meets embarrassement meets owning your nerdiness.
Woodley – We’ve been teased with his guest spots on Spicks and Specks and other TV shows, and a sitcom written around Frank Woodley will be a lot of fun.
Rake – Richard Roxburgh’s Cleaver Greene was one of the stand out characters in 2010, and it’s taken too long to get season two to us though the wait, I’m told, will have been worth it.
Laid – Season two of this black comedy will be darker, blacker and funnier. Thanks Marieke Hardy!
Adam Hills In Gordon St Tonight – In the 2011 battle of tonight shows Hills was the clear winner, and a new season will deliver more great interviews and general light entertainment from another comedian proving he’s more than a guy in a KFC commercial.
Outland – Gay sci-fi nerds on the ABC?! Outrageously hilarious, courtesy Adam Richard & his brother.

SBS one
Once Upon A Time In Cabramatta – Already one episode down, this is a great example of a truly Australian story told well. Catch ep 1 on SBS catch up and watch the remaining two over the coming Sundays.
Go Back To Where You Came From – Series one was the talking point doco/reality series of 2011, and word that a new series would come in 2012 continues to show that not only do we still need to talk about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, but we need to understand them better and offer a better solution for them.

Channel 7
Downton Abbey – The second series (already aired in the UK) will finally make it to our screens in Australia. Delightful script and casting, this period piece surprised everyone with how well viewers responded to it. More of the same but better in 2012.
Packed To The Rafters – I don’t understand it but Rafters will continue to draw massive figures every time they show it. The only complaint from fans will be the splitting of the series to insert the season of Winners & Losers (or whatever other new show Ch7 want to give a leg up to).
Good Christian Bitches – Trashy drama at its very best. Controversial in title alone, this show will be the Melrose place of 2012.
Sports Fever! – Bring the 2010 World Cup sideshow of Santo, Sam & Ed’s Cup Fever to life once a week covering all sports, Working Dog will be on a winner without a doubt.
Please Marry My Boy – It will win because everyone loves the cringe.
Beauty & the Geek – There’s every reason this show shouldn’t work, yet year on year it’s delightful and horrible all at once. More uber-geeks styled to look like they came from Revenge of the Nerds! More dim-witted beauties than we though Australia could handle! Delicious.
The Amazing Race Australia – They didn’t scrimp on budget or style in the first series and they got the casting spot on. Expect the same in 2012 in an example of an Aussie version of an American hit we didn’t screw up.
The X Factor – Thanks to a revamped judging/mentoring panel and Reece Mastin, The X Factor wowed audiences in 2011 and they’ll be looking to do the same in 2012.

Channel 9
Excess Baggage – 8 celebs, 8 normal Aussies paired up to battle the bulge and each other. The first cab off the rank in Ch9’s new 7pm stripped reality schedule for 2012 will be a hit for the drama, the bad guys (keep an eye on Darren Lyons and Ajay Rochester) and ultimately the personal triumph as each contestant shows us what they’re really made of. Hosted by Kate Cebrano, this will win in the battle of the network “fatty-fat-fat” stakes.
Celebrity Apprentice Australia – Now with added David Hasselhoff, Celeb Apprentice will pick up in 2012 after a strong first season in 2011. After what looked like a car-crash of celebs ahead of the first season Ch9 showed they know how to manufacture drama and deliver all the sizzling delights of reality TV.
The Block – Back in the 7pm stripped format that helped it kill in 2011, The Block stays in Melbourne though returns to a block of flats to renovate rather than free-standing houses. More drama, more product placement, more Scott Cam and Shelley Craft.
Sherlock – Already airing in the UK (to some controversy due to content of the epsiodes) season two of Sherlock is as strong and mind-bending as season one.
Underbelly – Be it a New Zealand story or a Queensland one, it’ll be no punches pulled in what has become a great Australian drama franchise.
Great Barrier Reef – A stunning new 3 part documentary series from the BBC looking at one of Australia’s most precious natural assets. If only we were seeing it high definition.
Earthflight – Another amazing BBC documentary, this six part series not only looks at birds from around the world and the migration patterns and habits but delivers some of the most incredible footage taken while flying in formation with flocks of various species.
Beaconsfield – Lachy Hulme and Shane Jacobsen take the lead roles of miners Todd & Brant who captured a nation’s attention after being trapped in a mine in Beaconsfield Tasmania in 2006, discovered alive and subsequently resuced (live on every major TV network in the country). A strong cast and a strong script, but don’t expect to see Kochie jump into an ambulance at the end.
HOWZAT! – Little is known about this sequel to Paper Giants other than it will focus on Kerry Packer’s involvement in developing One Day Cricket. Likely to score a maiden century.

Channel 10
Brothers In Arms – A smart move by Ch10 to defuse some of the Underbelly sting by creating their own franchise of a mini-series looking into Australia’s past horrors and glamorising it for TV. Jeremy Lindsay Taylor sure to be a stand out.
Homeland – I’ve raved about Homeland enough on this blog that you should have guessed this would be in my ‘hits’ list. Tune in Jan 22 and stick with it, as the pay off is totally worth it (a show that will have you begging for more).
Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation – See above entry for Mad As Hell.

My blog, my opinion. I’m likely wrong anyway. These predictions are made (in most cases) sight unseen/only having seen a promo/read the premise from a press release. What do YOU think will be a hit in 2012?