ABC and Screen Australia are thrilled to announce production is currently underway in Melbourne on the six-part drama series The Newsreader. Produced by Werner Film Productions (Riot, Dance Academy) and created by Michael Lucas (Five Bedrooms, Offspring), The Newsreader is set in the maelstrom of a commercial television newsroom in 1986.
Starring Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City, Fringe) as Helen Norville, a notoriously difficult star anchor determined to build credibility and Sam Reid (Lambs of God, The Hunting) as Dale Jennings, a diligent young reporter, desperate for a shot at the desk. Together, they’ll cover an extraordinary chain of breaking news including the shock of the Challenger explosion, the misbegotten hype of Halley’s Comet and the global terror of Chernobyl. From messy beginnings, a deep bond is formed that will upend their lives and transform the very fabric of the nightly news bulletin.
Torv and Reid will be joined by a stellar supporting cast with Robert Taylor (Longmire), William McInnes (Total Control, Rake), Chum Ehelepola (Stateless, Lodge 49), Michelle Lim Davidson (The Secrets She Keeps, Play School), Stephen Peacocke (Five Bedrooms, Home and Away), Chai Hansen (The New Legends of Monkey) and Marg Downey (Fast Forward, Top of the Lake: China Girl).
Head of ABC of Scripted Sally Riley says, “We are delighted to be bringing this exceptional cast and crew together for what promises to be a rollercoaster ride through early 1986. With Michael’s indelible characters and a compelling mix of iconic stories of the day, The Newsreader promises to be an audience favourite.”
Werner Film Productions Executive Producer Joanna Werner says, “We are so thrilled to be commencing filming on The Newsreader. After a few weeks of delays due to lockdown in Melbourne, our exceptional cast and crew are ready to go. Michael has created a fascinating insight into 1986 through a competitive, sexist and smokey newsroom and we are lucky to have director Emma Freeman at the helm to realise these fabulous scripts. I can’t wait to see our brilliant cast on set in all their ’80s splendour.”
The Newsreader creator Michael Lucas says, “In 1986, I became an unusually young news junkie. Those indelible stories— from the Challenger explosion, to Halley’s Comet, to the AIDS crisis— made a huge impression on me as a kid. Now, in 2020, I’ve loved revisiting all those iconic events and more to craft this series. I can’t believe my luck with this amazing team… particularly the visionary director Emma Freeman, and the incredible producer Jo Werner— who has steered this project tirelessly over four years! It’s surreal to be stepping back to 1986 in this pandemic year, but there is a silver lining: lockdown meant our cast had wonderfully long hair— just perfect to craft those authentic 80s looks.”
Screen Australia’s Head of Content Sally Caplan says, “We’re so pleased to see this excellent cast and crew, including talented director Emma Freeman, head into production. The Newsreader is set to bring to life the fast paced, high stakes world of a 1980s newsroom and with two enthralling characters at its core, I’m sure it will entertain viewers on the ABC next year.”
Written by Michael Lucas, Jonathan Gavin, Niki Aken and Kim Ho and directed by Emma Freeman, The Newsreader is a story of a grand, unconventional relationship in a world on the cusp of change. It will air on ABC and iview in 2021.