Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nine's Underbelly blitz targets new top ratings - The Daily Telegraph - 22nd July 2008

Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell will officially give the green light to the hugely anticipated Underbelly prequel during a network presentation to media buyers and advertisers tonight.

In addition to toasting Nine's ratings turnaround and outlining the planned highlights for the remainder of the year's schedule, Gyngell will formally motion the bloodshed to resume - on Underbelly, not the rival networks, that is.

Speaking exclusively to Confidential yesterday, the ironically media-shy boss said that he was "really excited" about the 13-episode series scheduled to begin production in September.

"The best television drama always warrants a second season and Underbelly is no exception," he said.

Gallery: The controversial series Underbelly

"It was the best television many of us have seen in a very long time."

Involving most of the stellar cast from the first gangland epic series - with a heavy focus on Vince Colosimo's character Alphonse Gangitano - the prequel will converge on building the background to the colourful characters.

And it will show their involvement in the Melbourne underworld before the arrest of Carl Williams in 2004.

Already unashamedly positioned as Nine's ratings linchpin in next year's ratings war, Gyngell is backing the gritty production with full force.

"It was compulsive viewing this year and we aim to make it compelling in 2009. We'll have the production team and cast to do just that," he said.

The series brought fame to Kat Stewart who played Roberta Williams, and Gyton Grantley who played her drug-running husband Williams.

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13-episode series to begin production in September

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