Free TV fights back in 2019


Facing increasing competition from subscription channels, Australia’s free-to-air TV networks are set to screen a range of new programs in 2019 in a bid to keep and grow their audiences.

The Bug provides a list of just a few of the new programs they’ll be hoping can capture viewers and strengthen their audience figures next year.



Tony Jones fronts this new take on an old Monday night favourite. Audience members fire questions at a panel of politicians, academics, commentators, or celebrities and Tony Jones quickly interrupts before they have a chance to answer.

How I Met Your Mother (Nine Network)

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has a heart-to-heart with his young son.

article-1204985-05F9368A000005DC-127_468x729Millionaire Hot Seat (Network Nine)

Banking Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne (pictured) and his counsel assisting re-enact their questioning of CEOs of Australia’s biggest banks, insurance companies, and other financial services groups in front of a live audience of customers, investors, and policy holders.

7.00 (ABC TV)

After the 7.30 Report’s change of name a few years back to just 7.30, the ABC will change the name of its 7.00 pm News to just 7.00. Although most people still refer to the show that follows as the 7.30 Report, ABC executives are forging ahead with the new 7.00 title “just to piss off The Australian”, according to an ABC source.

Love Thy Neighbour (Seven Network)

Pauling Hanson stars in this remake of the classic UK sitcom from the 1970s when casual racism and active and offensive discrimination was a staple ingredient for laughs at the expense of others.

Say aaaah! (ABC TV)

A half-hour of edited highlights of the verbal stumblings and fumblings of panel members of the Sunday morning Insiders program. Watch these experienced commentators deliver lengthy and convoluted analyses heavy with “umms”, “aaahs”, stutters, and pauses as they lambast our national pollies for failing to articulate a clear and concise message.

Pointless (Network 10)

A comedy series about an ageing media mogul married to a younger but washed-up supermodel coming to grips with his declining influence as he tries but fails to sway public opinion through his network of formerly influential but now tawdry and downmarket daily newspapers.

mccormack like mePlease Like Me (ABC TV)

A program showing a day in the life of federal National Party leader Michael McCormack (pictured).

My Big Fat Mexican Wedding (Network Nine)

Karl Stefanovic hosts a fly-on-the-wall documentary series covering events before and after his wedding to Jasmine Yarbrough.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (ABC TV)

In this, the fourth and final series, Melbourne private eye Miss Phryne Fisher has finally married her former love interest Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Being the early 1930s Phryne must give up work and stay at home to cook and clean while her husband continues his challenging career as a dynamic Victorian Police officer — a situation that finally drives Phryne to murdering him and every other recurring character.

Documentaries (SBS)

In 2019 SBS will continue to present high quality documentaries on a range of topics. New ones next year include: Hitler —  a fresh perspective; The Nazis — a look back; Hitler and the Nazis; The Nazis and Hitler; Looking back at Hitler and the Nazis; A fresh perspective on the Nazis and Hitler;  Hitler; and The Nazis.

Sea Change (ABC TV)

Former prime minister Tony Abbott (pictured) investigates why the sea level seems to be rising in his harbourside and beachfront electorate of Warringah, but can’t think of any possible sea

The Doctor Blake Mystery (ABC TV)

A new series of the previously titled Doctor Blake Mysteries. This year Dr Blake’s wife, friends, colleagues, and patients spend the entire series wondering where Dr Blake has gone and reminiscing about what a vigorous, commanding, outgoing, and hands-on sort of guy he was.