Coming sooner: TV's next hits

Anyone who complains there's nothing new on television in the next few weeks clearly isn't paying attention. In a perfect storm of programming, the next fortnight will feature more than 20 new or first-run returning series airing across the free-to-air and subscription channels.

Comedies, dramas, documentaries and more will land, most in the week starting September 26, as the networks embrace the practice of fast-trcking shows from the US as they gear up for the final push to the end of the Australian ratings year.

The rush has been caused by a combination of events: the new US ratings seasons that begins on Monday and the broadcast of the football finals creating the perfect opportunity to promote the shows.

Fast-tracking programs to air just makes sense, says Nine's director of digital and daytime programming Les Sampson.

"[Fast-tracking] is important because the audience is now very aware of the content out there," Sampson said.

"They know there's great stuff coming along, like Hostages with Toni Collette.

"You're seeing it promoted, you're reading about it in magazines, so it's great that we can bring it to Australians as quickly as possible."

As well as the overseas commercial blockbusters, local productions will also be prominent.

Kakadu , a four-part documentary from the ABC, is a beautiful depiction of northern Australia.

Redesign My Brain, also from the ABC, shows advertising luminary Todd Sampson testing various brain-training exercises on himself.

For the ABC, where it's usually a matter of spreading content throughout the year, it's a coincidence two of its big programs are being launched now.

At Seven, the key to the decision to launch The Blacklist and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the fact the network can promote the action-oriented and male-skewed shows during the football finals.

"With our AFL finals then the grand final, we feel we have a very good promotional platform for launching shows and rebooting our schedule for the final quarter of the year, so we'll be launching out of that," Seven program director Angus Ross said.

And, thankfully, not every show will be fast-tracked from the US. Some will be held over for the more traditional February launch period.

"There are a number of shows we'll hold until the start of the year," Ross said.

"[Fast-tracking] really is something you have to consider show by show.

"With Downton Abbey we didn't fast-track that last season and it still did [an average] 1.5 million viewers."