The US networks were convinced to make the leap by the federal government’s 30 per cent tax rebate for such work when performed in Australia.
Then, when Eureka came to make game show Name That Tune for Rupert Murdoch’s FOX network in November, it decided to do so an ocean away from the intended audience. Due to travel restrictions, many of the contestants had to be found from among the ranks of expatriate Americans in Australia, as they have been for Frogger.
“It’s been harder than if we were casting in America, that’s for sure,” Culvenor said. “But by very virtue of the fact they’ve been ambitious enough to get on a plane and build a life in Australia, we’ve found some really interesting, extroverted people.”
The pay-off for Name That Tune, when filming commenced in Sydney’s International Convention Centre in November, was the presence of a live audience. An impossibility in the US at the time, it lent atmosphere and novelty, Culvenor is convinced, which contributed to the show’s subsequent ratings success.
“In the past year, our dual base has come into its own,” Culvenor said.
Australia’s relative freedom from COVID-19 to date has helped lure many other American productions to these shores.