Wednesday, 30 January 2008

ABC logo change sparks national fear!


Well haven't things got into a spin for our national broadcaster Aunty ABC?

There has been speculation for some time that ABC was planning a visual revamp of its two television channels - the traditional channel known to many simply as 'Channel 2' but branded as ABC, and the relatively new digital-only channel ABC2. With analogue transmissions to be phased out over the coming years, it was evident that a more streamlined approach was needed in marketing ABC's two channels and also any new ones that might be around the corner (such as the oft-talked about children's channel ABC3).

Then last weekend some snapshots of the new name and logo for the main channel were leaked to some websites (for example TV Tonight, The (Unofficial) ABC Blog, Wikipedia) which showed that the traditional ABC channel was to be re-badged ABC1 but more significantly was to give a reduced (if not non-existent) profile of the iconic ABC corporate logo.

Then the newspaper The Australian ran a story its front page today about the change, and in doing so sparked a national outcry of fear that the iconic ABC logo of more than forty years was going to be discarded in favour of the new ABC1 (and ABC2) identities.

ABC's TV chief Kim Dalton was quick to respond, saying that the ABC logo is here to stay and will complement the new ABC channels' identity.



The revamped ABC television logos are expected to be officially launched in time for the new ratings season which commences on 10 February.

YouTube video: Michaelbeckham

Friday, 25 January 2008

1978: January 28-February 3

Cover: How Ken James keeps hopping:
Actor Ken James, formerly from the soap The Box and now in the new series Glenview High, reminisces about his days as the park ranger's son in the iconic children's drama Skippy The Bush Kangaroo - including the times when the show's marsupial star would cut from a scene and head into the wilderness, having to be chased by actors, directors and camera crew to be retrieved. Skippy became one of Australia's biggest exports, being sold to 130 countries including the USSR.
(Pictured on the TV Times cover are Ken James with Glenview High co-stars Rebecca Gilling, left, and Camilla Rountree)

The word is... Gra-Gra and Ugly Dave to get specials:

TV Times
reported, although nobody at TEN10 will confirm or deny it, that Blankety Blanks host Graham Kennedy and panellist Ugly Dave Gray could be hosting their own series of specials as a spin-off from the popular game show. It seems that the nightly Kennedy-Gray gag session at the close of each episode of Blankety Blanks is so popular with viewers that a spin-off featuring the pair is only logical.


Kalgoorlie killer mine:

Martin Vaughan
, Kate Fitzpatrick and Tom Oliver to star in a one-hour drama, Deep Vein, to be produced by Perth's STW9. The single-episode drama is being set around a mining disaster in the early 1900s, in which a man is trapped underground for nearly a week. Much of the filming of the program is to be conducted in the remote mining town of Kalgoorlie.


Nothing glum about the TV Glumps:
Producer Lyle McCabe is off to overseas markets to sell The Glumps, a 26-episode series of 10-minute animations featuring small plasticine models with eyes and a mouth. "They have a similar effect to the Muppets. We tested the show on 100 kids and they enjoyed it," he told TV Times. In the show's pilot episode, the Glumps re-enact man's development of weapons from the Stone Age club to more modern ballistics. Locally, the 0-10 Network is said to be interested.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
"Westerns forever! Sydney's TEN10 at least gives the public Daniel Boone, but it has been repeated so often it is hardly worth watching. Why don't TV stations repeat westerns such as Wagon Train, Bonanza and Broken Arrow?" V.Hawkin, NSW.


"The last Mike Walsh Show I saw so disgusted me I feel I can't watch or listen to it ever again. Did Mike Walsh think it was the funny the dreadful way Phillip Brady was treated?" D.Adam, QLD.

"I know I am not alone in my views on the termination of two of the most interesting and also cleanest serials ever on view - Certain Women and Bellbird. Over the years my husband and I have come to love and live with the Bellbird and Certain Women characters as if they were a part of our family, so it is sad to know we will not have them again." W.Lidden, NSW.

What's On (January 28-February 3):

The ratings year is still a couple of weeks away, so any decent highlights are still few and far between. On Saturday night, ABC screens Jubilee: A Right Royal Celebration - the story of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee Year celebrations. A few nights later, ABC screens the official film of the 1977 Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race.

On Sunday night, ATV0 presents the outdoor games show Almost Anything Goes, the predecessor to It's A Knockout which appeared a decade later. Host Tim Evans is joined by comedian Sean Kramer and football identity Ron Barassi.


Sunday night's movies are all premieres: The Buttercup Chain (HSV7), The Horsemen (GTV9) and Minnie And Moskowitz (ATV0).


Friday night is definitely family viewing night with US series The Waltons (ATV0), Donny And Marie (GTV9) and Eight Is Enough (HSV7) all vying for attention at 7.30pm. ABV2 presents the premiere of The Edge Of The Cold, a series of films on the history and wildlife of Macquarie Island, 1700 km south of Australia.


Later on Friday night, radio 3XY DJ Lee Simon presents two hours of music on Nightmoves on HSV7, featuring Joan Armatrading, George Benson and the Eagles.

Source: TV Times, 28 January 1978 (Melbourne edition). ABC/ACP

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Heath Ledger

Australian-born Hollywood actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment this morning, Australian time.

The 28-year-old actor was born and grew up in Perth and began acting at the age of 15.

The teenage actor scored a role in the children's drama Ship To Shore, and in 1996 appeared as an aspiring Olympic cyclist in the Perth-based teenage drama Sweat (pictured).

Ledger later appeared in the Seven Network soap Home And Away and in the US series Roar which was filmed in Australia. The 20-year-old Ledger gained the attention of Hollywood with a role in the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You which launched his international movie career.

The cause of death is not known though it is suspected may have been linked to some prescription medication found nearby.

IMDB: Heath Ledger

Monday, 21 January 2008

What is ABC up to?

ABC viewers would have seen station promotions featuring the phrase "There's a change ahead".

So what does this mean?


Teaser campaigns like this are nothing new - last year the Ten Network ran a two-month campaign to promote "a change is coming" to veteran soap Neighbours. And some will remember when Ten also ran a lengthy teaser campaign with the phrase "there's something going on around here" in anticipation for a complete revamp of the network to 10 TV Australia.


It is understood that ABC may be looking to re-brand its two TV networks in a similar fashion to what overseas broadcasters like BBC or TVNZ have done for decades by branding them in numerical order. For instance, BBC's channels are branded simply BBC One, BBC2, BBC Three, etc but all have the corporate BBC logo in common.

The digital channel ABC2 has been branded as such since its inception in 2005, but the change of the main ABC channel (available on analogue and standard-definition digital) should it become something like ABC1 is quite significant as it differentiates the channel from its often colloquial reference of "Channel 2" (due to its broadcast frequency in the larger capital cities) and marks a departure from its standard "ABC" identification which it has carried for the last fifty-one years.

The change also leaves the door open for subsequent channels to be branded ABC3 and so on.

ABC is now broadcasting digital TV to 97% of Australia's population* and the next few years will begin to see analogue transmissions being phased out, so now is a good time to give its channels a facelift - and by changing its TV channel identities to complement each other rather than have them branded independently, as happens now, will ultimately boost the awareness of the pending conversion to digital.

*ABC annual report 2006-07

Pictures: ABC, TVAustralia

Sunday, 20 January 2008

ABC remembers Mary Hardy

Mary Hardy was the Queen of Melbourne television and radio in the 1960s and 1970s - through regular appearances on In Melbourne Tonight, co-hosting the long-running variety show The Penthouse Club, and presenting a popular afternoon show on radio 3AW. Her popularity was acknowledged with several TV Week Logie awards for most popular Victorian personality in the 1970s.

With a quick wit and ability to work without a script, she was a trailblazer for female talent in Australia - but like a lot of entertainers, there was sadness behind the scenes as she had her own battles with depression.


Hardy, who died in 1985, is the subject of the first in a three-part documentary series on well-known Australian artists. The documentary explores her life and legacy through the eyes of her peers and successors - including John-Michael Howson, Wendy Harmer, Tania Lacy, Garry Stewart and grand-niece Marieke Hardy.

The program also features recently discovered footage of some of Hardy's earliest work.

Artscape: IOU Mary Hardy. Tuesday 12 February, 10.00pm. ABC

1978: January 21-27

Cover Story: Marcia - The hard road to the hits:
Queen of Pop Marcia Hines has taken her show on a tour around Australia, with 86 concerts performed in as many towns and cities over fourteen weeks - claiming to be the biggest tour ever undertaken in Australia. In this double-page article, Hines' manager Peter Rix recalls the highlights of the tour.

Mike Preston for new Grundy game:
Former In Melbourne Tonight and The Celebrity Game host Mike Preston is returning to TV to host a new game show The Better Sex. The new show, to be produced at STW9 Perth by the Grundy Organisation, will also feature former Miss World Ann Sidney. Sydney-based Preston will commute to Perth once a month for taping of the new show. Grundys are also producing another Perth-based game show Family Feud from the studios of TVW7 which has now been sold for screening on GTV9 Melbourne and TCN9 Sydney.


Chopper Squad
's overseas success:

Chopper Squad
, the new big budget series from the Grundy Organisation and the 0-10 Network, has been sold to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines prior to its debut in Australia. The series, set around a rescue team who use a helicopter to rescue people in trouble, is being filmed around Sydney's northern beaches and is expected to debut on 0-10 in March.


TV's Success Story: The Soaps:

Since Number 96 began with a bang in 1972, the soap opera has become a viable program format in Australia. Despite Number 96 and its Melbourne counterpart The Box both being axed in 1977, there are signs that the soap genre is going to be around for a long time to come - with four series - Cop Shop, The Restless Years, The Sullivans, The Young Doctors - now in production.


Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor

"Why did ABC ruin December 16, 17 and 18 by putting cricket on all day? Besides the fact that cricket is one of the most boring and slow-moving games known, a whole day's cricket could easily be put into an hour of highlights." J.Taylor, NSW


"The memory of Number 96 remains, and with scriptwriters of this standard Australia can hold its own with the rest of the world." G.Pattended, SA.


"Why are viewers of Sydney Channel 7 subjected to the blabberings of Rex Mossop? Why is he asked to comment on a multitude of sports about which he cannot hope to have had sufficient experience - to appreciate the finer points of, say, cricket or motor racing?" S.Ritchie, NSW


What's On: January 21-27

Another weekend of cricket with the World Series Cricket (GTV9) and Gillette Cup (ATV0).

Sunday afternoons see a game show All Star Sweepstakes on ATV0 featuring host John Newman and panelists Tim Evans, Ron Blaskett, Gerry Gee and Chelsea Brown. Earlier in the day HSV7's This Week Has Seven Days celebrate the 21st anniversary of TV clowns Zig and Zag. Coincidentally(?), Seven's movie that night is a suspense thriller called Zigzag.

GTV9's Sunday night movie is They Shoot Horses Don't They?, ATV0 presents The Nelson Affair and ABC's Elizabeth R continues. All are re-runs as the new ratings year is still some weeks away.


January 26 is Australia Day, but you'd not know it to see the TV listings for the day. In fact, after the news and current affairs programs are out of the way the only Australian-made programming in the evening consists of a 10-minute Australia Day Message (ABC), Survival With Johnny Farnham (ABC), The Sullivans (GTV9), Blankety Blanks (ATV0) and a late-night documentary series Australians At War (ATV0).


Source: TV Times, 21 January 1978 (Melbourne edition). ABC/ACP

Saturday, 19 January 2008

TelevisionAU Website Update 19-Jan-08

http://www.televisionau.com

FLASHBACK #44:
English-born comedian Ugly Dave Gray was a regular on GTV9's In Melbourne Tonight in the 1960s, and was a host of the program in 1970. He later turned to acting, appearing as nightclub owner Bunny Howard in The Young Doctors in 1976, before taking a position on the celebrity panel of top-rating game show Blankety Blanks in 1977. Gray then hosted his own game show Celebrity Tattletales in 1980, and returned to TV again in 1984 to host the Seven Network's Play Your Cards Right, pictured left with co-host Kerrie Friend. (Picture: TV Week, 29 September 1984)

NEW ARTICLE: HOME AND AWAY
Seven's evening soap, set in the fictional beachside town of Summer Bay, has become an international success story, and now celebrates its 20th anniversary.

TELEVISIONAU - THE HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION
http://www.televisionau.com/

More of Mal Walden's YouTube moments!

Network Ten's Melbourne newsreader Mal Walden is becoming something of a YouTube regular with some recent well ad-libbed spots on Ten News:




Plus a vintage clip from the vaults of Channel Seven from the early '80s:



YouTube videos: Moe, Autopenguin, Upweyguy

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Ten and Foxtel off to the Commonwealth Games

The Ten Network and pay-TV operator Foxtel have announced that they have secured the exclusive Australian rights to televise the 2010 Commonwealth Games from Delhi, India.

The deal gives both Ten and Foxtel access to live coverage of all events. Both Ten and Foxtel will have rights to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies - but only Ten will televise these live.

It is only the second time ever that Ten has televised the Commonwealth Games, with the first being the 1994 Commonwealth Games from Victoria, Canada. In 2006, Foxtel provided a multi-channel coverage of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games - supplementing the Nine Network's free-to-air coverage.

The 2010 Games will be the first to be host-broadcast produced in high definition.

Foxtel also holds exclusive new media rights which includes mobile and internet coverage. Ten and Foxtel will also on sell the radio coverage rights.

The announcement of the 2010 Commonwealth Games telecast partners comes after the Nine Network and Foxtel announced a joint venture to televise the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The Seven Network and SBS will televise this year's Olympic Games from Beijing, China.

Source: Ten, Foxtel

Monday, 14 January 2008

The new Nine




Today saw the launch of the new-look Nine Network with its iconic balls (or discs as they now appear to be) re-instated. The new logo has also extended across all areas of network presentation and also marked a minor redesign of its news portfolio. The logo made a quiet debut just after midnight this morning, although some station promotions featuring the new imagery had filtered through the day before.

The logo made a proper 'debut' in time for Today at 6.00am, and just prior to tonight's National Nine News at 6.00pm was the station's one-minute all-star promotion telling us "We ♥ TV".





The new-look to Nine signals the network's aggressive push to get back to #1 in the ratings, after Seven won last year's battle.

Curiously, however, is that the balls, dots, or whatever you want to call them, has not been embraced across the whole country. In particular, Nine's largest regional affiliate WIN has opted not to 'dot' its logo - and has even enacted the same policy to its capital city stations NWS9 Adelaide and STW9 Perth - but still using a lot of the 'dot'-themed presentation that Nine has fed to them, hence failing to give WIN any clear separate identification from the Nine Network. The logo scenario for the WIN stations may be a sign that not all has been forgiven by WIN boss Bruce Gordon after last year's very public spat with Nine over affiliation fees.



Nine's northern NSW regional partner NBN has adopted the dotted logo - not surprising given that NBN is now owned by Nine's parent company PBL Media.

Related article: The balls are back in town
Pictures: Media Spy Archive
YouTube video: galoresoftware, w00fa

Saturday, 12 January 2008

1978: January 14-20

Cover: Cop Shop's Restless Mum
Actress Rowena Wallace is feeling that she's becoming typecast after a succession of roles which the 30-year-old has played a "homely wife" figure - a perception not helped by her naturally silver hair ("a hereditary thing") and that one of her earlier roles in the mini-series Power Without Glory had her play an aging role. Image problems aside, Rowena is happy in her new role in Seven's Cop Shop opposite actor George Mallaby (pictured with Rowena on the TV Times cover), although playing a housewife with a teenage daughter is a far cry from her trail-blazing teenage role in You Can't See Round Corners a decade earlier.

Sparring partners' birthday toast:
The 0-10 Network's daytime talent show Pot Of Gold has reached its 600th episode, celebrated by host Tommy Hanlon Jnr and resident judge Bernard King. The pair had an uneasy on-air partnership - Hanlon insisting King's vicious criticisms of contestants were too harsh, but King felt Hanlon was too soft on them. Over its 600 episodes, 4300 acts have appeared.

John finally cops the job:
Sydney-based actor John Orcsik has finally scored a role in a Crawford Productions series. The former Number 96 actor had auditioned for roles in Bluey and Homicide, and for the original casting of Cop Shop, and had missed each time - but now had been chosen by Crawfords to appear in a new Cop Shop role to fill the gap left behind by departing actor Tony Bonner.

The Sullivans' Greek connection:
Greek-born actress Chantal Contouri has just made her debut appearance in the World War II series The Sullivans, as a widow who becomes involved with some of the Australian soldiers fighting in Greece. The 27-year-old actress had made a recent trip to Greece and with husband Peter Walker had restored a peasant cottage into a home where the pair plan to spend time each year.

Max-In-The-Box bounces back:
Following the demise of the soap opera The Box, actor Barrie Barkla moved to Perth in the hope of distancing himself from his character from the series, TV executive Max Knight. But for Barkla, who has established himself at Perth's STW9 with on-air and backstage roles, it was harder to move on from the character than he had expected - especially given that The Box still had a considerable time to run still in Perth.

Viewpoint - Letters to the Editor:
"My complaint is not about the quality of Australian TV so much as the misrepresentation of Australians. There is no reflection on the mixture of races in Australia. I would like to see Italian or Indian teachers in the Grundy programs set in schools - for example, Glenview High." M.S., NSW

"I am evidently (and as usual) in the very small minority, but I remain completely amazed that a really hilarious show like Celebrity Squares should be replaced with a sort of B-class quiz effort called Blankety Blanks...." R.H.G., WA

"I thank Crawford Productions and the Seven Network for Cop Shop. It is not just another police series. It is a more realistic series, showing the pressure on police and their families." F.M., NSW.

What's On (Melbourne):
More cricket on GTV9 with World Series Cricket, but also there's cricket action on ATV0 with Tasmania versus South Australia in the Gillette Cup.

On weekday afternoons, with non-ratings still dictating the schedules, GTV9 presents re-runs of police drama Division 4, while ATV0 presents a magazine program Shoulder To Shoulder with journalist Mickie de Stoop. In the mornings, ATV0 starts the day at 7.00am with The Early Bird Show, GTV9 has the Holiday Fun Show in the same timeslot, and ABC has Sesame Street at 8.00am. HSV7 doesn't commence weekday transmission until 10.00am with Miss Patricia on Romper Room starting the broadcast day.

David Johnston and Honor Walters present the children's magazine program This Week Has Seven Days on HSV7. Among this week's topics are toffee making, macrame, safety when canoeing and resident vet Dr Tim looks at water dragons.

Sunday night movies are Honky Tonk (HSV7), The Chairman (GTV9) and Crooks And Coronets (ATV0).

Source: TV Times, 14 January 1978. ABC/ACP

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Clinton Grybas


Television and radio presenter Clinton Grybas has died today. He was 32.

A well-regarded sporting commentator, Grybas started in radio as a sports commentator for ABC radio in the mid-1990s - covering sports such as NBL, AFL and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

He later moved to commercial radio, as a member of Melbourne 3AW's sporting line-up, covering a range of sports but particularly AFL and also co-hosted Sports Today, and also appeared on Foxtel as an AFL commentator and presenter of the interview program White Line Fever.

The cause of his death is not yet known. He would have turned 33 next month.

Source: Herald Sun
Picture:
MyTalk.com.au

1978: January 7-13

Cover Story: TV's Sportsman of the Year
TV Times previews the presentation of the 1977 Sportsman Of The Year - to be screened on ABC on Saturday 7 January. Among the favourites to take out the title are Dennis Lillee (cricket), Bart Cummings (racing), Graham Marsh (golf), Evonne Cawley (tennis) and Rocky Mattioli (boxing).

Countdown spectacular for Adelaide:
ABC's Countdown is preparing a lavish outside broadcast to be presented from the Adelaide Festival of Arts in March. ABC claims it will be the biggest televised pop program ever made in Australia. Producer Rob Weekes told TV Times that the only name so far confirmed for the event is South Australian Premier Don Dunstan: "he'll be taking part, not performing". The special presentation is being regarded as the next stage in Countdown's "development as a major influence on Australian music."

My top 10 shows of 1977:
Columnist FC Kennedy reviews the year 1977, naming Countdown, The Mike Walsh Show, Four Corners and news coverage of the Granville train disaster as among TV's highlights, and with Australian TV drama at a low-point, it was a British series When The Boat Comes In that was his favourite of 1977.


Letters To The Editor:

"I would like to complain about the lack of suitable TV shows for 12-year-olds and others around this age. We are too old for Bugs Bunny and too young to understand or want to watch science fiction" - Michelle, NSW

"Come on Perth channels, how about some "new" programs over here before we get too far behind the East Coast. Channel 7 said they were waiting for colour to start before they'd show Boney. We have had colour for three years!" - D.S., WA


"I'd just like to thank those Channel 9 people in Sydney who brought the fabulous Star Trek back on to our TV sets. I hope we'll be able to see all 76 episodes." E.P., NSW


What's On:

Being summer, sport dominates much of the week's programming with Kerry Packer's innovative World Series Cricket on GTV9
, Test Cricket on ABC and the Tasmanian Open Tennis on HSV7.

New soaps The Restless Years and Cop Shop both now settled into two one-hour episodes a week. For its summer break, Countdown presents a series of specials covering the top 100 records of 1977.

GTV9 presents a 'summer edition' of National Nine News each weeknight at 9.30pm, as well as the usual 6.30pm bulletin.

Sunday night movies are Alex In Wonderland (HSV7), Tony Rome (GTV9) and First To Fight (ATV0) with a re-run of the British mini-series Elizabeth R on ABV2.

Source: TV Times, 7 January 1978. ABC/ACP

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Imparja turns 20

Today - 2 January - marks the twentieth anniversary of Imparja Television, Australia's only indigenous-owned commercial TV station.

The path to launch day was less than a smooth ride. When the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (the predecessor to today's ACMA) invited potential licencees to apply to operate the remote commercial television service (RCTS) for the Northern Territory and South Australia in 1984, there were eight applicants.

The field ultimately boiled down to two - the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA - owner of Imparja) and Television Capricornia (a company formed by Territory Television, the licencee of Darwin's NTD8).

After two rounds of licence hearings, CAAMA was found to be the most suitable operator of the licence, but Television Capricornia appealed the decision - and lost. Television Capricornia then took their case to the Federal Court, but by the time the case was to be heard, Territory Television had been bought out by Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL), owners of the east coast Nine Network. PBL made a last minute decision to drop the appeal, and CAAMA was allocated the licence.

Imparja's first programming, Australia versus Sri Lanka in the Test Cricket, appeared on 2 January 1988. For the first time, viewers in Alice Springs and other remote communities in Northern Territory and South Australia were given an alternative to watching the national broadcaster ABC. Imparja was broadcast via terrestrial transmission in larger remote centres, but the signal was also available to direct-to-home satellite receivers within Imparja's satellite footprint - a result of the new domestic satellite AUSSAT which had launched three years earlier.

Imparja was officially launched on 15 January 1988, providing a mix of typical commercial network programming (sourced from all three capital city networks) interspersed with Imparja's own indigenous-themed programming such as children's programs and local news.

By 1999, Imparja had expanded its coverage to include Mount Isa in Queensland, and the South East and North East satellite footprints - extending its signal to remote communities in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania not covered by existing terrestrial television signals - in competition with the Queensland-based satellite service aligned to the Ten Network that in turn had expanded into Imparja's own coverage area.

The Queensland-based service, operated by Telecasters Australia (now part of the Macquarie Media Group), was then re-aligned to the Seven Network, leaving Imparja with a dual Nine and Ten network feed.

From July 2007, the new national indigenous television service NITV has been carried as a second channel on Imparja's satellite platform.

Imparja has continued to provide its own independent news service and in December 2007 announced plans to expand its news and current affairs portfolio to include more coverage from across its coverage area - an area of 4.5 million square kilometres.

Source: Imparja, Australian TV Archive, CAAMA Report (1987)

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to you all! (well, I think there's me and about one other person that checks this blog - so that makes at least two of us!!)

So while the TV networks will be busy telling us what's coming up or what's coming back in 2008, we're going to take a different slant on the New Year activity by telling you what was promised by the four networks at the beginning of 1978 - thirty years ago.

This information comes from TV Times magazine, and "1978" will be an ongoing theme as this year progresses to check on what was happening in Australian TV at the corresponding period in that year.

In a stark contrast to more recent times, ABC promised a range of new Australian drama in 1978 included the thriller Run From The Morning starring Michael Aitkens and Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Twenty Good Years with a cast including Harold Hopkins, Anne Pendlebury, Leila Hayes, Sandy Gore and John Diedrich, and Truckies featuring John Wood and guest appearances by Lois Ramsey and singer Colleen Hewett.

The drama line-up also included Catspaw, a seven-part series set in the air force featuring Peter Sumner, Ken James and Rowena Wallace, a four-part series Loss Of Innocence starring John Fitzgerald, Monica Maughan and Alwyn Kurts, and a children's series The Nargun And The Stars.

Marcia Hines was coming back to host another series of Marcia Hines' Music, with guest performers including Jon English, Mark Holden, Johnny Farnham, Linda George and Colleen Hewett. More light entertainment was also promised with the talent quest series Quest 78. ABC was also presenting a new series of In The Wild With Harry Butler and The Inventors and the debut of an Australian version of the British quiz Mastermind. Also returning for another year was Countdown and the nightly current affairs program This Day Tonight.

Overseas programs coming to ABC in 1978 included the US sitcom Soap, the historical series I Claudius and the International Pro-Celebrity Golf hosted by Bing Crosby.
ABC would also cover the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

The headline act of Seven's new line-up for 1978 was the historical saga Against The Wind, starring Jon English.

Seven's local drama line-up also included Cop Shop, which had debuted late in 1977 in the lead up to the 1978 ratings battle, and the schoolroom soap Glenview High.

The new year also promised another eight episodes of the sketch comedy The Naked Vicar Show, an Australian version of Father Dear Father, and a new children's series Bailey's Bird.

Seven also had plenty of new overseas product in 1978 including US highway police drama CHiPs, mini-series The Holocaust, comedy Tabitha (featuring the grown-up character of the series Bewitched), and mini-series Man From Atlantis. Seven had also scored the British comedy Are You Being Served? which had previously screened on ABC.


Australian Rules football (VFL) was again on Seven in 1978, and returning for another year was the current affairs program Willesee At Seven and, in Melbourne, the variety program The Penthouse Club.

Imported shows also dominated Nine's list of new shows for 1978 including The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and the mini-series Washington: Behind Closed Doors. Nine also had local dramas The Young Doctors and The Sullivans continuing for another year, and joining them is five Australian tele-movies including Say You Want Me, A Good Thing Going, The Touch Of Love and Harvest Of Hate.

Nine was also promising new Australian specials from comedian Dave Allen as well as returning favourites New Faces, The Don Lane Show, The Paul Hogan Show, Ask The Leylands and The Mike Walsh Show. A new children's show Nine Will Fix It offered viewers the chance to ask for wishes to be granted.

A Current Affair
with Michael Schildberger was set to return for another year but with less emphasis on politics - following what Schildberger had described as a "dirty election" the year before - and more on stories of personal interest. Also joining the show's line-up is Sydney radio host Mike Gibson and Melbourne announcer ("and comedian") Pete Smith.


The game show Family Feud with Tony Barber, actually a production of TVW7 in Perth, was also promised to expand its audience in 1978 with TCN9 Sydney and GTV9 Melbourne taking the program for the first time. Nine also announced plans for a new game show The Better Sex with host Mike Preston and former Miss World Ann Sidney to be produced at STW9 in Perth.

Nine also to televise the TV Week Logie Awards in March.


The 0-10 Network offered little new Australian content in 1978 despite losing two of its prime-time shows, Number 96 and The Box, the previous year. A new 26-part series Chopper Squad follows a Sydney beach rescue team and had already been sold overseas prior to its Australian debut.

The soap opera The Restless Years, which had debuted in December 1977, continues through 1978, and returning Australian shows included Young Talent Time, Pot Of Gold, Blankety Blanks with Graham Kennedy, and game show $30,000 Treasure Hunt.

Children's shows on 0-10 include What In The World, Junior Jury, The Early Bird Show and Marie's Multi-coloured Magic Machine. Late nights included the Philips Soccer League and the variety show Peter Couchman Tonight.

New US titles for 0-10 in the new year included The New Adventures Of Wonder Woman, comedy series Second City TV, The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams and Operation Petticoat, based on the movie of the same name. Among the US titles returning in 1978 are MASH, The Waltons, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files and Alice.

Source: TV Times, 4 February 1978. Published by ABC, distributed by Australian Consolidated Press.