By the 1980s, Hardy was working as a producer, beginning with historical mini-series All the Rivers Run (1983), as well as both series of children's series The Henderson Kids (1985-1987) and television series House Rules (1988). He continued to appear intermittently as an actor, including in Young Ramsay (1980), his own productions All the Rivers Run and The Henderson Kids, and cult British science-fiction television program Blakes 7, in which he made an uncredited appearance in 1981.
In 1990, Hardy produced both All the Rivers Run II and television series Embassy, which would bring him his first AFI Award.
In the early 1990s, Hardy began a productive creative partnership with director Pino Amenta and script-writer Philip Dalkin: together, they created and produced sit-coms All Together Now with John Powditch (1991-1993), The Bob Morrison Show with Jon Stephens (1994), and Us and Them with John Powditch (1995). Hardy also contributed scripts to both All Together Now and Us and Them and acted as story consultant for All Together Now and The Bob Morrison Show.
Hardy's other productions in the 1990s include The Wayne Manifesto (1996-1997), a television adaptation of David McRobbie's novel, and Witch Hunt (1999), a telemovie based on the true story of a girl's abduction by her grandparents.
Hardy did little acting in the 1990s, though he did appear in George Miller's mini-series Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Hardy's productions since 2000 include Something in the Air (2000-2002), Marshall Law (2002), and Fergus McPhail (2004). He was also the script editor for Marshall Law and contributed scripts to Something in the Air. Between 2008 and 2009, he contributed scripts to Home and Away. Between 2009 and 2010, he was script editor for City Homicide, and he followed this with the role of story producer between 2010 and 2011.
His last two credited acting appearances were in 2011, in Laid (co-created by his daughter Marieke Hardy) and City Homicide.
Among his awards and nominations are numerous AFI Awards, including Best Children's Television Drama (nomination) for Fergus McPhail in 2004, Best Episode in a Long Running Television Drama Series (win) for Something in the Air in 2001, Best Children's Television Drama (win) for The Wayne Manifesto in 1997, and Best Episode in a Television Drama, Series or Serial (win) for Embassy in 1991). The year Hardy won Best Episode in a Long Running Television Drama Series for Something in the Air, he was also nominated for the same award a further two times for two more episodes of Something in the Air.
Home and Away is a television serial created by Alan Bateman and produced by the Seven Network. The idea for the series came to Bateman (then head of drama at Seven) after he stopped to buy ice-creams in a small country town in southern NSW. While chatting to some locals, he learned that the town was unhappy about plans to build a home for foster kids from the city. At that time, Channel Seven was still smarting from its decision to let Neighbours go to the Ten Network, where it had become hugely popular, and was looking to create another series to rival its success. Bateman saw in the idea that became Home and Away the potential for plenty of storylines and conflict by having streetwise city kids being relocated to a small regional environment,
In the beginning, the series focused on Pippa and Tom Fletcher, who, being unable to have children of their own, decide to become foster parents. When Tom is retrenched from his city job, the couple buy the rundown Summer Bay Caravan Park and move there with their five foster children. Soon after arriving, they also take in troublesome Bobby Simpson.
The series debuted in January 1988 with an hour-long telemovie. Although this rated well, the series itself took some while to develop an audience. Having learned their lesson from the Neighbours debacle, Network Seven gave its new show time, and its ratings gradually increased. As with Neighbours, the Home and Away series and performers became very popular in the United Kingdom.