Like their characters, soap operas never truly die. After broadcasting its “series finale” just this July, long-running Australian soap “Neighbours” is already coming back, and has found a new United States and United Kingdom home in Amazon Freevee.
Amazon announced the news on Thursday, revealing that production on the revival will begin in Australia next year, with a targeted premiere date for the second half of 2023. Series stars Stefan Dennis, Alan Fletcher, Ryan Moloney, and Jackie Woodburne are confirmed to return to the revival, which will premiere for free on Amazon Freevee, Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming service, in the UK and U.S., as well as Prime Video in New Zealand and Canada. Australia’s Network 10, where the soap aired for 36 years, will retain first-run rights for the new series in its home country.
In addition, a catalogue consisting of thousands of past “Neighbours” episodes will launch on Freevee sometime before the new season premieres. Created by television executive Reg Watson, “Neighbours” premiered in 1985 and ran for over 9,000 episodes of seemingly as many plot twists, marriages, and family rivalries on Ramsey Street, a cul-de-sac in the fictional Melbourne suburb Erinsborough.
“’Neighbours’ has captivated its audience for nearly 40 years, building a dedicated and loyal following for the lives and stories of the characters on Ramsay Street,” Amazon Studios AVOD programming head Lauren Anderson said in a statement. “With the power of streaming, we’re able to offer a catalogue of thousands of ‘Neighbours’ episodes for new audiences to discover this legendary series and current fans to relive their favorite moments. We look forward to immersing the audience in new Ramsay Street experiences when we relaunch the show next year for Amazon Freevee and Prime Video customers.”
The news comes after the show was forced to end its 37-year run this July, after U.K. production partner and Channel 5 pulled its funding from the series and the show’s production company Fremantle Australia failed to find a new partner. Stars that first rose to prominence in their native Australia through stints on “Neighbours” — among them Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, and Kylie Minogue — returned for the show’s finale, which was watched by 1.2 million people in Australia and over 4 million in the United Kingdom. It was the highest-rated episode of “Neighbours” since 2009.
“’Neighbours’ is a unique series with a powerful connection with its fans across the world. We cherish the show and all those who have been part of its incredible story over many decades, so we are thrilled that we have found a new home with Amazon Freevee,” Fremantle global CEO Jennifer Mullin said in a statement. “Thanks to the innovative Amazon Freevee platform, many classic episodes will be available to fans, and ‘Neighbours’ will go back into full production in Australia early next year, providing our fans with new episodes. This partnership with Amazon Freevee marks an exciting new chapter, and we look forward to collaborating with them, along with our long-term and valued partner in Australia, Network 10.”
Fremantle remains the producer of “Neighbours,” with executive producer Jason Herbison and producer Andrew Thompson returning for the revival. Amazon released a promotional video to announce the news; watch below.