The well-liked and familiar format will return.
Following its unexpected revival, Digital Spy has learned that Neighbours’ future will be safe for at least two years.
Next year, the well-liked soap opera will make a comeback to television with a new home for UK viewers on the free streaming platform Amazon Freevee. The first-run rights for brand-new episodes in Australia will remain with Network Ten.
The next chapter of Neighbours has been the subject of much speculation in the media and among fans ever since the news was revealed last week.
Some viewers have questioned whether the programme will abandon its soap opera format once it becomes available on streaming services. Others have made assumptions regarding the potential for a short season of episodes.
A source has now exclusively revealed to Digital Spy that when the show resumes production next year, hundreds of new episodes will be produced.
An insider disclosed to us: “As a high-volume daily soap opera, Neighbours will continue to be the programme that its viewers are accustomed to and love.
“There will be two new seasons with a total of 200 episodes each. Fans, who believed they had seen the last of the show when the season finale aired in July, should be extremely happy with the outcome.
The reasoning behind Freevee is that daily episode releases will keep viewers coming back to the streaming service and interacting with other available content.
The good news is that Neighbours, which wrapped up with Episode 8,903 in July, will soon air its 9,000th episode.
Less episodes than when the show first aired on Channel 5 would result from seasons with 200 episodes. If the soap opera follows the established schedule of five episodes per week, it would be sufficient to air for 40 weeks each year.
This could mean the show taking breaks with a mid-season finale and season finale, although details of how the episodes will be released won’t be officially announced until nearer the time.
Freevee already carries out a strategy of daily episode releases with Judge Judy’s new show Judy Justice – another original commission, which is currently on its second season.
A spokesperson for Freevee declined to comment on the number of commissioned episodes for Neighbours, telling Digital Spy: “Amazon Freevee and Fremantle are in the early stages of planning the next chapter of the show.”
A spokesperson for Fremantle also declined to comment.
Last week, Neighbours’ executive producer Jason Herbison told Digital Spy that he hoped the show would be back in people’s regular viewing routines when it returns in the second half of 2023.
He said: “We have many more announcements ahead, so stay tuned. I can assure you there are a lot of new episodes on the way. We have been a big part of people’s lives and we hope to be again.”
Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson), Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy), Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy) and Ryan Moloney (Toadie Rebecchi) are all returning for the new episodes, which begin filming in April.