Spurred by the continuing success of Australian Story, Seven has been working on a program pilot with a working title of True Stories. A decision is expected soon, possibly this week on the first effort.

But with news that Andrew Denton’s production company, Zapruder’s Other Films, is working on a pilot of a ‘non-reality’ style program for Nine, with possibly a series to follow if the pilot rates, some at Nine and Seven wonder if the two networks are closing on the same idea from different directions.

Is this a bit of ‘meetooism’ from the commercial networks who are quite often too quick to tag the ABC and Australian Story for being too ‘soft’, and then turn around and snip an idea or two and a bit of talent as well?

But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the public’s liking for the Australian Story style of story telling has been apparent for more than a year now. It’s just the commercials and some of the ‘star’ reporters can’t handle the relative anonymity of that style and have been very slow to recognise what viewers want.

The strength of Australian Story is that it’s an individual or a small (family) group story mostly unfiltered by a reporter, with only the editing process of the episode producer and the series producer intruding.

Seven’s True Stories is thought to be slightly different – a concentration on the story with a minimal involvement of the reporter.

The Zapruder pilot is apparently a non-reality program in which ordinary people talk about stories or subjects that really interest them — life, relationships, children, family and subjects that are the real stuff of everyday life.

Peter Fray

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