Kath & Kim: articles

Gina Riley and Jane Turner

Gina Riley (Kim) and Jane Turner (Kath) are taking time out after the international success of their series. Photo: Courtesy ABC Television

Noice and easy does it

After months of speculation about their future, the two foxy ladies of Fountain Lakes have confirmed they will put their feet up this year, with a new series of the ABC’s top-rating comedy Kath And Kim on indefinite hiatus.

Kath And Kim creators and stars Gina Riley and Jane Turner are exhausted after working solidly on the show for three years.

But while Australian audiences may be deprived of the suburban hornbags, their success overseas continues with three countries interested in buying the format rights for the series.

Almost 2 million Australians watched the final episode of last year’s series, which may be the last we see of Kath And Kim for a while.

“They’re having some quality me-time,” said a spokesman for Riley Turner Productions, which makes the show for the ABC.

“Simply, they are exhausted. People take the writing, performing and producing of the show for granted. As well as appearing in the show, the girls do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. They write, produce the DVDs, do all the publicity - the list goes on.

“It’s a lot of work and it has pretty much been a full-time job for the past three years. On top of that they have done a lot of work internationally for the show.”

Kath And Kim has been sold to the US, Britain, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, South Africa, Canada, Ireland and Fiji, with sales of the first series worth a reported $700,000.

Riley Turner Productions is in negotiations with three undisclosed countries, keen to rework the show for their local audiences.

“The international market has really taken off for us,” said the spokesman. “We’re in serious discussion with three countries over the format rights.

“So the feeling is: let’s chill. We’re in no hurry to make a new series. We don’t want to rush back into making a new series for the sake of it.”

Riley and Turner intend to spend much of the year regrouping and considering their next step with the show, which may be a feature film or a series of specials.

The spokesman said: “Jane is taking an extended break. Gina is still doing a few things but basically, they don’t want to go back to work.”

The success of the series - in which Kath Day-Knight, her daughter Kim, their respective spouses Kel and Brett and Kim’s second-best friend Sharon grapple with life’s issues in the fictional suburb of Fountain Lakes - has been a financial windfall for Riley and Turner.

The characters are owned by the two who license them to the ABC. Then they are paid to produce and star in the show, which costs about $250,000 per episode to make.

Turner and Riley reportedly receive 25 per cent of the revenue from overseas sales of the show, as well as a percentage of merchandise sales.

By Rachel Browne
February 27, 2005
The Sun-Herald