SBS promised a bold and daring 2013 today, that will range the spectrum from "relevant and credible" to "bloody and unabashedly politically incorrect".
Tony Iffland, SBS head of television, today announced the 2013 program highlights, which he feels will continue the "sense of momentum" that follows a year he described as "tremendously successful".
With a mantra of "fresh, relevant and credible programs", Iffland highlighted return seasons of Once Upon A Time (with series two based around the Lebanese community in Punchbowl) and Who Do You Think You Are season five (which will have two extra episodes and include subjects such as Rove McManus and Asher Keddie), before announcing two potentially explosive documentaries for next year, examining mining in Australia and the Cronulla riots.
Dirty Business – How Mining Made Australia is based upon the notion that "mining is a battleground that has forged and divided the nation", said Iffland, and the three-part series will examine the history of mining from the first gold rush to the latest political debate.
Cronulla Riots – The Day That Shocked the Nation has been commissioned to run alongside Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl, and likely to stir up debate on what remains a heated topic.
Iffland also highlighted the first local drama commissioned by SBS in three years, Better Man, Khoa Do's tale of Tran Van Nguyen, the 25-year-old Vietnamese-Australian who was convicted and executed in Singapore for drug trafficking in 2005. Iffland was able to announce the cast for the show - which goes into production in Melbourne next week - including David Wenham as Julian McMahon and Bryan Brown as Lex Lasry, Van Nguyen's two lawyers, plus Claudia Karvan as McMahon's wife and Remy Hii as Van Nguyen.
Boasting the "best in acquired drama", Iffland also announced Lilyhammer will run next year, which features Steven Van Zandt who is best known for his role in The Sopranos, and which looks to be a show likely to be dubbed "Sopranos in the Snow". Van Zandt plays a mob enforcer who chooses Lillehammer in Norway as his new home after he enters the witness relocation program. SBS will continue its broadcast of second-run episodes of Mad Men, putting series four to air next year.
SBS will also add to its substantial food programming offering next year with Shane Deliah's Spice Journey, in which the Melbourne-based chef promises to unlock the secrets of Middle Eastern food.
In addition to re-entering the local drama field, Iffland said he was "determined to reclaim our place in comedy" with Bullet in the Face, a "viciously funny comedy from Canada" that stars Eddie Izzard and which Iffland described as "wildly violent, bloody and unabashedly politically incorrect".
Paul Fenech's housing estate comedy Housos will also get a second series, including the addition of Angry Anderson and former Gladiator Derek "Thunder" Boyer to the cast.
Finally, SBS will maintain its major sport offerings of cycling and football, including the broadcast of the 100th Tour de France in 2013.