Channel Seven’s Head of Drama Julie McGauran talks about the network’s latest biopic Hoges and why Australian audiences are lapping up local content.
Since starting with Channel Seven in 2011, Head of Drama Julie McGauran has seen the rise of the biopic through a string of hits including INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door and last year’s highest-rating TV drama Molly.
Now, the network is hoping to repeat that success with HOGES: The Paul Hogan Story, a two-part telemovie starring Josh Lawson as the iconic laconic Aussie.
“For us, it was a no-brainer,” McGauran says of the choice to make Hoges.
“Paul Hogan was such a trailblazer, an Aussie battler and a family man.”
With Hoges, she says you can expect another exceptionally crafted period drama combined with a rollicking rock soundtrack (Molly’s soundtrack went double platinum) and a dash of nostalgia.
“So for us, from working with the scripts to the casting and so forth, it’s just been a joy.
“The best part of the day is watching the rushes come in,” she says, adding these biopics tap into people’s memories.
“You just have a rush of nostalgia and I think that’s why Channel Seven audiences love these stories because they know it and they’ve lived it.”
Although it might be one of the reasons biopics have struck a chord, McGauran believes at its core, it’s because of the strength of the story.
“Whether it’s INXS, Molly, Hoges, or even Catching Milat and Blue Murder: Killer Cop, they’re really compelling stories and about very strong individuals. Some are fabulous ambassadors of Australia and others not so, but they are very much unique stories,” she says.
And there are more in the pipeline, with an Olivia Newton-John and a Shane Warne biopic also announced at last year’s upfronts.
It’s perhaps no surprise considering three of the four highest-rating Australian TV dramas of 2016 came from Channel Seven, in the form of Molly (no. 1), Wanted (no. 2) and The Secret Daughter (no. 4)*.
“Our audience is smart and they know what they love. Our job is to keep delivering it to them and absolutely that means Australian drama,” McGauran says.
The two part telemovie HOGES: The Paul Hogan Story will premiere over two Sundays on Channel Seven, beginning February 12 at 8:30pm.
* Source: OzTAM and RegionalTAM, 5-city-metro, combined markets, total people, average audience, Live, 7 day & 28 day consolidated.