While it continues to slash and burn it's newsrooms a fresh problem has developed at Ten with doubts emerging regarding the long term future of hit drama Offspring.
Ratings for the fifth season currently airing on Ten have been solid, regularly climbing above 1 million in consolidated ratings making it a rare success story on what has been another disappointing year for the floundering network.
However with many of the story lines appearing to be heading to a natural conclusion and many of the key players busy with other projects it appears increasingly unlikely the series will return in 2015.
Speaking with News Corp about the possibility Offspring will not return the shows producer John Edwards stated.
“There is always a ch
ance,” “The ratings might go to hell, we never know from day to day what is going to happen.”
“The show is great. We are really happy with it and so is the network." “But it is just one thing at a time for us."
“At the moment I am completely preoccupied with Party Tricks and Gallipoli and that is where our focus is.”
John Edwards went on to add in an interview with TVTonight
“But there are all sorts of problems. It costs 30% more because we’re over 65 episodes.
“So it (costs more) already and there are up lifts on the cast. There are significant difficulties and there are scheduling difficulties because we’re doing things."
Australian Tax Rules allow for a 30% rebate for TV series to help them develop however this discount is no longer available once 65 episodes have been produced, a sixth season would also mean a significant payrise for the cast.
With budgets tight at Ten and star Asher Keddie in hot demand the network will have to decide if it's willing to open up its wallet to keep the hit series on air.
Speaking last week to SMH Ten's chief programming officer Beverley McGarvey revealed little about the show's future.
"Our current focus is on season five of Offspring," "Australia has already fallen in love with six-month-old Zoe Proudman-Reid, as she is raised by her single mother Nina (Asher Keddie), and Auntie Billie (Kat Stewart)." "Our 2015 program schedule will be revealed later this year."
In 2013 Ten made the rare decision to commission a forth and fifth series of Offspring in the one order, this gave the shows writers the freedom to develop a longer story arch including the 'cliffhanger' death of Patrick storyline. It is unclear if John Edwards is seeking a similar commitment from Ten for a sixth and seventh season.
With Puberty Blues extremely unlikely to return and Wonderland highly unlikely to build on it's 2013 audience, Ten's drama slate is now looking very thin.
It is the opinion of this website that Ten should go above and beyond to keep Offspring on air. Failing that perhaps a 'Billie Proudman' spinoff series staring the wonderful Kat Stewart should be considered.