TV Stations to Bring out Blazing Guns after Easter; MasterChef Leads Line-Up

Article excerpt

AS the Easter holidays roll in, television grinds to a halt as stations go into their first non-ratings period for the year.

That means all your favourite shows are on hold for a few weeks.

But what it really means is that you can brace yourself for a stellar second half of April as the networks roll out their big guns to give viewers a very exciting run-up to the middle of the year.

Kicking off is Ten, which has been entertaining us with So You Think You Can Dance and The Biggest Loser already this year.

The reality TV fun will continue when ratings juggernaut MasterChef returns.

Taking cooking out of the kitchen and on to our televisions, MasterChef was the little engine that could last year. With so many viewers tuning in, it became the biggest non-sporting event in television history.

More than three million people tuned in to watch 38-year-old IT business owner Julie Goodwin, from New South Wales, beat 35-year-old South Australian artist Poh Ling Yeow to win the crown of Australia's first MasterChef. The popular series will return after Easter.

Still on Ten, fantasy drama series Merlin comes back for a second series after Easter.

This English production, which looks at the relationship between young wizard Merlin and Arthur before he becomes the king of Camelot, was another ratings winner for Ten in 2009. And if the first two episodes are anything to go by, the network can look forward to the same success in 2010.

Starring Colin Morgan as Merlin, Angel Coulby as Guinevere and Bradley James as Prince Arthur, and an adult cast which includes acclaimed actors Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon, the reigning king of Camelot and Richard Wilson as Gaius, Camelot's court physician, the second series builds on the storylines of the first. Merlin must battle to keep Arthur alive without giving away the secret that he performs magic, which is banned in Camelot.

The show has enjoyed enormous ratings in the United Kingdom.

Nine is hoping its Aussie drama stable will pull in the viewers.

When Underbelly first came to our screens in 2008, it changed the way Australians watched television. No longer did just a few people tune in to a selection of shows.

Everyone, it seemed, watched Underbelly (except for Victorians, who had to deal with a pesky court order before seeing it).

The stories of Australia's gangland warfare were hugely popular Co so much so that before we had finished watching series one, the second series was being commissioned and created. …