Chrissie Swan And Grant Denyer to Host The Great Australian Spelling Bee

It was announced today that Chrissie Swan and Grant Denyer will host Network Ten’s exciting new family entertainment series, The Great Australian Spelling Bee.

This engaging new series will search for Australia’s best and brightest young spellers.

Both proud parents themselves, Chrissie and Grant will prove a formidable and entertaining duo as they support and encourage Australia’s most remarkable spellers, who will inspire all Australians with their spelling proficiency.

Chrissie said: “Only my closest friends know that I have always been crazy for spelling, and I was a spelling bee champion myself in primary school.

“This show is heaven for me. I'll be there all the way, supporting the clever kids and their parents and gently reminding them that it's ‘i' before ‘e' except after ‘c'. It is also, of course, a great thrill to work with Grant Denyer who I've been liaising with recently. Please note the second and often forgotten 'i' is included there in I onto the next round?”

Grant said: “The kids in The Great Australian Spelling Bee are going to inspire, excite and amaze us all, as we watch our smallest Australians achieve really big things.

“You won’t believe what our wonderful young kids are capable of when given the chance to shine in a special opportunity like this. Taking the classic kids’ spelling bee to an all-time stunning new level will be a thrilling celebration of how bright, fun and inspiring our young Aussies are.

“As someone who can’t spell to save himself, I think I’m in for a brutal lesson of why I should have talked less and listened more in school,” he said.

“I love working with kids. They're surprising, unpredictable and they always challenge you as a host. More importantly, they’re just a joy to watch as they grow right in front of you in an opportunity like this. Just like Family Feud, it’s a show for the whole family to enjoy together.”

 Network Ten Chief Programming Officer, Beverley McGarvey, said: “Chrissie and Grant are the perfect hosts for our brand new family entertainment series.

“They are warm, funny and they love and respect kids. The chemistry between Grant and Chrissie is great to watch and they will ensure that all Australians fall in love with The Great Australian Spelling Bee.

“The Great Australian Spelling Bee is a fresh and engaging series, and it fits perfectly into our strategy of bringing event television to Australian families,” she said.

The hunt for Australia’s best young spellers has already started, with auditions currently underway across the country.

Produced by Shine Australia, The Great Australian Spelling Bee is an original format and will launch on TEN later this year.

For more information, please contact:

Heidi Packer
Sydney Publicity Manager
P: (02) 9650 1178. M: 0416 007 070 E: 

The Great Australian Spelling Bee. Little Kids, Big Words.

Shine Australia is pleased to announce the commissioning of an exciting new, family entertainment series, The Great Australian Spelling Bee - by Network Ten.

Produced by Shine Australia, The Great Australian Spelling Bee is an original format and will launch on TEN later this year.

Network Ten Chief Programming Officer, Beverley McGarvey, said: “The Great Australian Spelling Bee is an exciting, engaging new series and a perfect fit with our strategy of bringing event television to Australians.

“Surrounded by their friends and loved ones, we will see Australia’s brightest young people put through their paces as they inspire and surprise us. And we will cheer them on.”

Network Ten Head of Drama, Rick Maier, worked with Shine Australia to develop the concept.

“Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest,” Mr Maier said. “And the simplest ideas are the most exciting.”                                                              

Mark Fennessy, CEO, Shine Australia, said: “We are delighted to be bringing this original and exciting format to TEN. By super-sizing spelling to a hyper-stylised, entertainment family event, we’ll present the universal art of problem solving on the grandest of scales.

“Viewers will be inspired and enthralled by Australia's most remarkable spellers among the jeopardy and drama of big event television. For these young people, everything is on the line.”

Network Ten will announce the host of The Great Australian Spelling Bee soon.

The Great Australian Spelling Bee is casting now. To apply, go to:


In a joint statement, Shine Australia and Seven today announced the cast for PETER ALLEN: NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR.

JOEL JACKSON as Peter Allen

JOEL JACKSON as Peter Allen

Joel Jackson, who will make his Australian screen debut in Foxtel’s drama series, Deadline Gallipoli, has landed the role of Peter Allen and will be supported by an iconic cast including Sigrid Thornton (Underbelly, Little Oberon, MDA, SeaChange, Whipping Boy, The Man From Snowy River, 1915, Prisoner, The Lighthorsemen, Boy In The Bush, All The Rivers Run) as Judy Garland, Rebecca Gibney (Winter, Packed to the Rafters, Halifax f.p., All Together Now, The Flying Doctors) as Peter’s mother Marion Woolnough and Henri Szeps (Cruise Control, Cabaret, Mother and Son, Palace of Dreams) as talent agent Dee Anthony.

They will be joined by Sara West (Winter, ANZAC Girls) as Liza Minnelli, Nick Farnell (Charles Bean’s Great War, Killing Time, The Mule) as Peter’s father Dick Woolnough and musical theatre star Rob Mills as Chris Bell, Peter’s partner in ‘The Allen Brothers’.

Joel Jackson said: “To be given the unique responsibility of playing two legendary Australians, in Charles Bean and Peter Allen, back to back all before I'm 24 years old is incredible. The on-set experience I garnered whilst shooting Deadline Gallipoli has given me the confidence to dive straight into the huge task of inhabiting the charisma and flair of Peter Allen.”

Sigrid Thornton said: “Now, in 2015, I think we're perhaps better placed than ever to be able to tell Peter Allen's story with the honesty it deserves. And for me personally, as a lifelong Garland fan, I feel privileged to be bringing her to life with this marvellous team, to a whole new audience.”

Rebecca Gibney said: “I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the Peter Allen story. The relationship between Peter and his mother Marion is so important in the story and the scripts are beautifully written. The cast that has been assembled is extraordinary and with director Shawn Seet at the helm I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful experience.”

The two part mini-series will tell the remarkable story of Peter Allen’s rise from country New South Wales to the Hollywood Hills – becoming part of American entertainment royalty along the way. Managed by Judy Garland at 20, married to Liza Minnelli at 23 and the first Australian to win an Oscar (‘Arthur's Theme’) and a Grammy (‘I Honestly Love You’ – Olivia Newton-John), Peter Allen is one of Australia's most adored entertainers and the man behind some of our most iconic songs.

Mark Fennessy, CEO Shine Australia said: “We're absolutely delighted with the composition of our stellar cast. Peter Allen led a remarkable life and with the support of such brilliant acting talent, we'll bring his unique story alive again for all Australians.”

Brad Lyons, Seven’s Director of Network Production said: “As we found with INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, people are enjoying these great Australian stories and this journey of a boy from the bush to international stardom will be no exception. We have an extraordinary cast and a heartfelt script which we know will resonate with our viewers. There was and is no one else like Peter Allen and Seven is really proud to be telling his story.”

Produced by Rory Callaghan and Kerrie Mainwaring, PETER ALLEN: NOT THE BOY NEXT DOOR commences production next week. It will be shot in various locations across New South Wales. 

Jessie J joins Ricky Martin, Delta Goodrem and The Madden Brothers

British pop superstar Jessie J will join Ricky Martin, Joel and Benji Madden and Delta Goodrem as a Coach on the fourth season of The Voice on Channel Nine in 2015.


Blessed with an astounding voice and natural knack for a hook, Jessie J redefines whats possible within pop as she upholds its traditions, and is one of a kind. With album sales in excess of three million and single sales topping 20 million, Jessie has established herself as a superstar and a palpable, powerful pop culture force.

In 2011, the world first took notice of the UK-born singer-songwriter with her album Who You Are, which debuted in the Top 15 on the Billboard Top 200 and generated six Top 10 hits. Price Tag (featuring hip hop artist B.o.B.) went platinum in the USA and was No. 1 in 18 major territories. Domino, her biggest US hit to date, then went double-platinum and become an anthem around the globe.

Jessie has received the prestigious BRIT Award for Critics Choice and the BBC crowned her with the Sound of 2011honour. In 2012, she earned a Grammy Award nomination for Silver Lining and was embraced by fans as she acted as the 2012 London Olympic Games Ambassador.

She has continued to stand out in 2014, teaming up with rising diva Ariana Grande and raps reigning queen, Nicki Minaj, for Bang Bang, which captured the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Overall Top Songs Chart and went gold within weeks of release. It set the stage for the October release of her Sweet Talker album.

Jessie is no stranger to The Voice red chair, having featured on the first two seasons of The Voice UK alongside, a former Coach for The Voice Australia.

Jessie J said: I love being a Coach and sharing my knowledge and experience in vocals and in music. I learnt so much and really enjoyed being on The Voice UK for two series. I have loved continuing my support for the show by being a guest and getting to perform with contestants from all over the world AND I’m so excited to get back in the red chair!! I love Australia and I can’t wait to see what voices I might discover.”

Fresh from her win as a Coach on The Voice Kids, Delta Goodrem, one of Australia’s most accomplished performers of the past decade, returns to her chair on The Voice to mentor our next group of singing hopefuls. 

Delta said: "I'm thrilled to be starting the new year with incredible Coaches on a show that I'm very proud of being a part of and looking forward to discovering great Australian talent."

After a busy 2014 coaching on The Voice, The Voice Kids, releasing an ARIA chart-topping single We Are Done, #1 album Greetings from California and doing a nationwide tour, The Madden Brothers, Joel and Benji, will once again team up, bringing their double chairto the fourth season of The Voice.

"We can't wait to get back to Australia for The Voice 2015! We are looking forward to reuniting with Delta and Ricky as well as welcoming Jessie J to the show. This year is going to be an exciting one. Double the chair, double the fun. Let's go” said Joel and Benji Madden.

The all-star coaching lineup will be rounded out by Grammy Award-winning Latin superstar Ricky Martin, who will return for his third season as a Coach.

Ricky Martin said: “I’m very excited to uncover the talents of the fourth Season. I can't wait to hear fresh voices and get up close and personal with amazingly talented artists. I'm ready for an intense season with Team Ricky and my fellow Coaches.

Darren McMullen will also return as host for the 2015 season, which has already had thousands of hopefuls auditioning for a chance to sing for the superstar Coaches in the Blind Auditions.

“I’m super excited to be coming home and hosting the fourth season of the best talent show in the world. It's a real privilege to work with such a dedicated team of top-notch Coaches and professionals, let alone the incredible talents that The Voice will uncover ... I'm ready for the biggest season yet!”

The Voice is a co-production between Shine Australia and Talpa Productions. The Australian series of The Voice is filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney. 


Franklin Returns to Australia After Helping Bolster Shine America’s Initial Programming Efforts 

Shine Australia today announced that Paul Franklin is to re-join the business as Director of Content.

Paul Franklin.jpg

Paul is returning from the U.S. to oversee part of Shine’s unscripted and scripted programming.

For the last two and a half years, Paul has served as Executive Vice President, Programming, Shine America, where he helped launch the studio’s unscripted programming department.

While in Los Angeles, Paul was responsible for and served as an executive producer on such U.S. series as MasterChef and MasterChef Junior (FOX), The Biggest Loser (NBC), The Face (Oxygen), Tabatha Takes Over (Bravo), Minute To Win It (GSN) as well as recently launched programs Restaurant Startup (CNBC) and Fake-Off (TruTv). Paul also helped launch Canada’s top rating MasterChef (CTV).

Paul will relocate to Australia in February 2015, reporting to Mark and Carl Fennessy and working alongside Director of Programming, Peter Newman.

Paul Franklin said: "I could not pass up the opportunity to return to Australia and reunite with Carl and Mark. I’ve truly enjoyed my experience in the States helping bolster Shine America’s initial programming efforts and I believe this exciting new role with Shine Australia is the ideal next step for me."

Carl Fennessy, CEO, Shine Australia said: "Paul is an outstanding creative executive with a proven track record of delivering stand out television both here in Australia and of course most recently, in the USA. We are thrilled Paul has decided to return to Shine Australia."

Prior to joining Shine America, Paul was Shine Australia's Head of Programming from 2010-2012, where he oversaw MasterChef and Junior MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and Relocation Relocation.

Before his first stint with Shine Australia, Paul traveled the globe launching Shine Group's successful MasterChef format in numerous territories including India, France and the U.S.

From 2005-2009, Paul was Head of Factual Programming for Fremantle Media Australia, where he oversaw the original launches of MasterChef, The Biggest Loser, Farmer Wants A Wife and The Apprentice.

Paul also previously worked in the UK on a variety of shows for Endemol, Shine and Fremantle, including show-runner for the BBC1 hit series Changing Rooms.

For more information please contact:
Charlotte McLauchlan
Head of Communications, Shine Australia P: 02 8587 1113 M: 0414 621 658