Sunday, 26 July 2009

Nine releases Go! schedule

go_channelDetails of the schedule for the first week of Nine’s new digital channel Go! has been published online on MediaSpy and TV Tonight.

The new channel is set to launch at 6.30pm on Sunday 9 August.

Go! will be an entertainment-themed channel with titles including Gossip Girl, Weeds, The Hills, Moonlight, Fringe, Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, Survivor, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eleventh Hour, Ellen and The Bachelor. Some of these shows have already been tried on Nine and withdrawn from the schedule but are more suitably themed for Go’s younger target audience.

Comedies include Big Bang Theory, The Nanny, Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me and classics including The Flintstones, Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie.

Overnight, Go! will feature music videos with The ARIA Music Show.

Other programs to feature on Go! include Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show, stripped five nights a week at 6.00pm, and Dance Your Ass Off which was pulled from Nine’s schedule after only one outing last week.

Nine Network chief David Gyngell is aiming for Go! to capture around a three per cent market share which would rank it higher than Network Ten’s digital channel One which launched in March.

Go! Prime-time schedule for week commencing 9 August:

Sunday 9 August: 6.30pm Wipeout, 7.30 The Big Bang Theory (4 episodes), 9.30 Aliens In America, 10pm The New Adventures Of Old Christine, 10.30 Movie: National Lampoon’s Vacation, 12.30am ARIA Music Show

Monday 10: 6pm Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show (AFHVS), 7pm Entertainment Tonight (ET), 7.30 TMZ, 8pm Seinfeld, 8.30 Dog The Bounty Hunter (2 episodes), 9.30 Neighbours At War (2 episodes), 10.30 Bad Lads Army, 11.30 Just Shoot Me, 12am Ellen, 1am ARIA

Tuesday 11: 6pm AFHVS, 7pm ET, 7.30 TMZ, 8pm Seinfeld, 8.30 Survivor: Gabon, 9.30 The Bachelor, 10.30 The Bachelorette, 11.30 Just Shoot Me, 12am Ellen, 1am ARIA

Wednesday 12: 6pm AFHVS, 7pm ET, 7.30 TMZ, 8pm Seinfeld, 8.30 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 9.30 Fringe, 10.30 Eleventh Hour, 11.30 Just Shoot Me, 12am Ellen, 1am ARIA

Thursday 13: 6pm AFHVS, 7pm ET, 7.30 TMZ, 8pm Seinfeld, 8.30 Gossip Girl, 9.30 Moonlight, 10.30 The Hills (2 episodes), 11.30 Just Shoot Me, 12am Ellen, 1am ARIA

Friday 14: 6pm AFHVS, 7pm ET, 7.30 TMZ, 8pm Seinfeld, 8.30 CSI Crime Scene Investigation, 9.30 CSI Miami, 10.30 CSI NY, 11.30 Just Shoot Me, 12am Ellen, 1am ARIA

Saturday 15: 6pm Seinfeld (3 episodes), 7.30 Dance Your Ass Off, 8.30 CSI Crime Scene Investigation, 9.30 CSI Miami, 10.30 CSI NY, 11.30 Movie: American Outlaws, 12.30am ARIA.

Some prime-time programs are also repeated the following day, classifications permitting.

Go! is also expected to be carried on the digital signals of regional affiliates WIN and NBN.

Hey Hey ready for revival

hhis Almost a decade after its demise, Hey Hey It’s Saturday is set to come back – at this stage in the form of two reunion specials to air on the Nine Network later this year.

If the specials rate well then it may trigger negotiations for a revived ongoing series.

Daryl Somers, who hosted HHIS for its entire 28 year run and in later years also produced the show, has been eager to see the program returned to screens and there have on-again off-again rumours about the show’s return for some years. 

There was also a possibility in recent years that Somers’ connection to Seven as host of Dancing With The Stars could have seen HHIS revived on that network.  In 2006, Somers staged a mini-reunion of HHIS cast members as part of the Melbourne-based Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

It is not known how many HHIS former cast members would be involved in the reunion specials or any future series.  The reunion specials are also not expected to air on Saturdays with reports that they may go to air on Tuesday in an attempt to dent the popularity of Seven’s factual titles and drama Packed To The Rafters and Ten’s new game show hit Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.

The original Hey Hey It’s Saturday began in October 1971 as a Saturday morning program on GTV9 Melbourne, featuring Cartoon Corner host Somers and Collingwood footballer Peter McKenna.  The program’s original format was Saturday morning cartoons linked with studio segments. 

McKenna left the program and was replaced with Ossie Ostrich, a puppet operated by Ernie Carroll, a writer and performer on some of GTV9’s earlier children’s and variety shows.

The HHIS team then later included radio announcer John Blackman as the show’s rarely-seen booth announcer who would provide voices for some of the show’s famous characters including Charlie Who, the Angel, Mrs MacGillicuddy and Fred Fly.

darylossie The popularity of the show triggered a couple of album releases – Hey Hey It’s Daryl And Ossie and Keep Smiling With Daryl And Ossie – and the phasing out of the cartoon segments in the show, focusing more on live studio segments. 

HHIS appeared to be over after 1977 when the team moved across to the rival 0-10 Network to present a prime-time game show, The Daryl And Ossie Show, in 1978.  The game show lasted eight weeks and HHIS was re-instated at Nine early in 1979 with a new addition to the team, children’s TV presenter Jacki MacDonald who had been hosting Nine’s replacement Saturday morning show in the meantime.

In February 1984, HHIS became Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night, airing in the 9.30pm timeslot and providing an entertaining option to the usual Saturday night TV fare.

mollymeldrum_hhis In June 1985 the show moved to the earlier timeslot of 6.30pm and had removed the ‘Night’ from the show’s title.  HHIS continued to add new team members, including Wilbur Wilde, Red Symons, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum (pictured) and others including Shane Bourne, Maurie Fields and cartoonist Andrew Fyfe.  Dominating the two-hour early-evening block on a Saturday night it became difficult for other networks to rival its popularity.

Jacki MacDonald left the show in 1988 and was later replaced by two-time TV Week Gold Logie winner Denise Drysdale, who in turn was later replaced by Jo-Beth Taylor, Penne Dennison and Livinia Nixon.  Ernie Carroll, who has recently turned 80, retired from the show in 1994.

Just months after winning the TV Week Logie for Most Popular Light Entertainment Program, HHIS was cancelled late in 1999.  The Nine Network, and later Seven, would continue to show clip packages of some of the show’s most requested or most remembered segments, including many acts that performed in the show’s mock talent quest segment, Red Faces.

The return of HHIS, even in a ‘reunion’ form, appears to be an attempt by Nine to revamp one of its most popular entertainment brands of the ‘80s and ‘90s, a time when the network was the undisputed top-rating network, as its prime-time schedule is now struggling to keep up with the Seven Network and occasionally Network Ten.

Source: Herald Sun, TV Tonight

Monday, 20 July 2009

TVS extends digital plea

tvs Sydney community TV channel TVS has campaigned the Prime Minister for access to the digital television platform.

The DVD campaign, fronted by TVS presenter Joy Hruby and fans of her long-running program Joy’s World, makes the plea: "We just want TVS to be given the same opportunity as the others.  All the other channels have been given digital spectrum except ours."

TVS chief Laurie Patton said that despite the Government’s campaign strategy to move viewers across to digital TV, “Community Television remains marooned on analogue."

"Every time another household does as the Government asks and buys a new digital TV or a digital set top box they potentially lose the ability to watch their Community channel,"

"Community TV programming is targeted at audience groups that are under-served by the other free-to-air channels.  The sector provides access for special interest groups, multicultural communities and social networks that are not well catered for by the mainstream media."

The plea to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd comes after Melbourne’s C31 asked the PM for a ‘fair go’ in allowing the community broadcasters equal access to digital television spectrum as its commercial and national counterparts.

Source: TVS

Sunday, 19 July 2009

1979: July 21-27

tvtimes_210779 TV’s bravest star
Being confined to a wheelchair has had little effect on the enthusiasm of actress Louise Philip.  Since her car accident, in late 1972 while on a break from the long-running series Bellbird, Philip has been paralysed from the waist down.  In a recent national magazine poll, Philip was ranked third as one of the most admired women in Australia.  As well as starring in TV series Cop Shop, Philip (pictured, with co-stars Terry Norris and Greg Ross) also runs a card shop in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley.  But such is her popularity in the series that when it appeared likely that she would leave the program, the fan mail begging her to stay was so overwhelming that her contract was renewed for a longer period than anyone else in the series.

Kelly rides again for TV
Former Crawfords producer Ian Jones admits that he has no idea who will play Ned Kelly in his upcoming mini-series The Last Outlaw.  Jones and Bronwyn Binns are preparing the series for the Seven Network.  Writing and pre-production is under way but Jones doesn’t want to comment on when production will start. 

prisoner_lizzie At last, Sheila steals the show
Sheila Florance has fought against the odds, suffering personal tragedy and plugging away in showbusiness for 45 years but was never a star.  But now, since appearing in the 0-10 Network’s Prisoner, she is constantly recognised by people in the street, but doesn’t give any complaint of her past misery.  “You can’t afford to let things get you down or you go under.  I’ve always thought that way.”  Working in London during the war, with two babies and another on the way, Florance learned that her English husband had been killed.  While living in the Yorkshire countryside, she met her second husband, a Polish fighter pilot, Jan.   Having suffered severe injuries during the war, Jan was on crutches when the pair married in the early-1950s.  His health has deteriorated to the point where he is now a permanent invalid, but the pair battle on.  Florance has also had two of her four children pass away, one son died in England and a daughter died later after the family had come to Australia.  But for now, Florance is enjoying her new role as ‘lovable old rascal’ Lizzie Birdsworth (pictured) in Prisoner: “I think Lizzie is a gorgeous character. The public seem to like her, too, and when I watch the show I find she makes me laugh as well.  I know that sounds peculiar as I play the part, but it’s true.  When I watch Lizzie, I see nothing of myself at all – just a funny old lady.  Lizzie and I are so completely different.”

NBN Newcastle: That’s Australia all over!
Mr and Mrs Typical Australia are alive and well and living in Newcastle, NSW.  The region, described once by former PM Sir Robert Menzies as “a microcosm of Australia,” is recognised by TV advertisers as the number one test market for new products and campaigns.  So what Newcastle buys today Australia may well be buying tomorrow.  As the only local commercial TV station in the region, NBN3 is the major outlet for advertisers wanting to reach this captive market of around 500,000 viewers throughout Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.  The channel is watched by approximately 60 per cent of viewing audience, many of who also have access to watching TV channels from Sydney, and in the 1977-78 financial year achieved a profit of $1.3 million.  General manager George Brown isn’t modest in discussing the success of the channel: “We are successful simply because we present 130 hours of good TV each week.  We buy the best possible programs from any place at any time.  We do things here before the rest of the Australian TV industry.”  NBN3 also produces about 20 hours of local content each week, including breakfast and children’s shows, including a local version of Romper Room, a local one-hour news bulletin each weeknight (believed to be the first one-hour news bulletin in Australia), a weekly performing arts program and a two-hour Sunday sports show.  The channel also produces the program Variety Italian Style which is shown nationally through the 0-10 Network.  Program manager John Kidd said that NBN also conducts regular surveys with a panel of 1000 local viewers to determine how a program is performing: “Our viewers are very interested in news and current affairs.  We were staggered, for instance, to see how well 60 Minutes did after only a short time on air.  By and large, successful Sydney programs are successful in Newcastle, but if a program is dying you will see it in Newcastle first.  We pulled out of Number 96 and The Box before Sydney because we thought those programs were dying.”  NBN3 is also proud of its commitment to the local community, with considerable amounts of airtime given to promoting local community causes and charities. 

While taping a drowning scene for the pilot episode of Paradise Village for the Seven Network, actress Suzy Gashler got caught in an undertow and had to be rescued by real lifesavers.  Once recovered, she re-did the scene – in shallower water.

Actress Deborah Coulls has spoken out about the circumstances surrounding her sudden exit from The Restless Years, last year: “So much was written about me that was distorted.  I came out of as a big-headed starlet who had been sacked for playing up.  Nothing was further from the truth.  The simple truth was that for one publicity call I overslept and was half an hour late.  The day after the incident I was carpeted.  In retrospect, though, it was obvious I was used as an object lesson for the rest of the cast.”  Coulls is now starring as a flight attendant in the new Seven Network series Skyways.

Prisoner actor Jim Smillie is providing the voices for the characters of Swag the Emu and Professor Wombat for a new indigenous children’s program, The Bush Bunch, currently being considered for purchase by the networks.  If it goes ahead the series is expected to cost around $40,000 an episode.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”How much longer do we have to have Tony Barber on Family Feud?  A few people I have spoken to feel the same way, finding him at times quite childish, bordering in being conceited.” A. Eveele, NSW.

“We are fans of Cop Shop and are hoping that when George Mallaby leaves, he will return soon.  We will miss him.” N & L Leoni, QLD.

“In my area we are unfortunate enough to only receive ABC and local CWN6.  During the week I must admit we do get some good programs, but this entails staying up late or missing them because we have to get up early for work.  But Friday, Saturday and Sunday when we like to have some entertainment and don’t mind staying up a little later we have very poor shows, particularly Saturdays and Sundays.” H. Slattery, NSW.

What’s On (July 21-27):
ABC’s Saturday Special is Rolf Harris In Concert, taped at the Perth Entertainment Centre and featuring Rolf Harris with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

ABC presents the final instalment of multicultural television programs from the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) on Sunday morning.

On Sunday afternoon GTV9 presents a replay of last Friday night’s Miss Universe 1979 pageant, held in Perth.

matlockpolice ATV0 begins a Monday night screening of police drama Matlock Police (pictured), featuring episodes from towards the end of the show’s run which had never previously screened though they were made three years earlier.

Marcia Hines, Jon English and The Little River Band are guest performers on The Paul Hogan Show, screening Wednesday night on GTV9.  Later in the week, the final episode of Marcia Hines’ series, Marcia’s Music (ABC, Friday) features guest performer Doug Parkinson.

Sunday night movies: Monty Python And The Holy Grail (HSV7), The Alf Garnett Saga (GTV9), Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 21 July 1979.  ABC/ACP

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Nine’s ready to Go!

go_channel After months of rumour and speculation, Nine Network chief David Gyngell has finally confirmed the name and launch date for its new digital channel – Go!

The new channel will launch on 9 August, promising a line-up of youth-oriented programming in a bold tackle against youth-focused Network Ten and pay-TV channel Fox8.

The new channel will feature US titles including Gossip Girl and The Wire as well as familiar titles including Survivor, Fringe, The Hills, Weeds, The Bachelor, Kitchen Nightmares and comedies Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld.

The new US series Vampire Diaries is also headed for Go!

Gyngell has told media that Go! is a winner for viewers:

“This multi-channel is a natural evolution for Nine and for free-to-air television.  And that's the key word - FREE. It means that within weeks our viewers will have access free of charge to a second channel offering quality and a great deal of first-run content through its schedule.

“It's a win for our audience because it offers more diversity and substantially wider viewing choices than ever before, at no cost.”

Regional Nine Network affiliate WIN is also set to carry Go!, though it is unclear if the Nine-owned regional broadcaster NBN, serving Northern NSW and the Gold Coast, will also follow suit.

The August launch of Go! now brings the number of Freeview channels (in metropolitan areas, at least) to thirteen – which includes each network’s primary standard definition channel plus HD simulcast channels broadcast by Nine, Seven, ABC and SBS.  Unique channels on the Freeview/digital TV platform are One HD, ABC2 and SBSTWO

A third ABC channel, aimed at children, is to launch later this year.

Meanwhile, the Seven Network – the one network that reportedly pushed for multi-channelling by commercial networks on the digital platform  - continues to stay silent about its digital plans.

Source: NineMSN

Saturday, 11 July 2009

1979: July 14-20

tvtimes_140779 Prisoner’s key women
TV Times talks to three of the stars of the popular new series Prisoner about their roles and what the show means to them.

Elspeth Ballantyne, who plays prison warder Meg Jackson, said that Prisoner has proven that women can handle a show on their own.  “Prisoner is a very good series.  It has a lot of dramatic qualities.  It moves quickly and has good storylines provided by some top writers. I have made some good friends while working on the series, such as Fiona Spence.  The cast members are a terrific group of women who are very professional.  I’m also amazed that there hasn’t been any bitchiness.”  But mother-of-two Ballantyne will not allow her children – Matthew, 9, and Tobias, 7 – to watch the program: “It’s an adult show and they are in bed when it’s on at 8.30pm.”

Patsy King, who plays prison governor Erica Davidson, has had a varied background in radio and television – including appearing in the children’s programs Play School and Adventure Island and in the long-running drama Bellbird.  King was also on tour around northern Australia in the play Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll:  “There were seven of us in the cast and we were chauffeur-driven up the Birdsville Track, playing at every little town we came to.  Then we had a couple of rest days, which we spent by a river infested with snakes and crocodiles, and spiders as big as your hand.  What a rest that turned out to be.”  Her new role in Prisoner is hard work, but hopes that the series goes on for a long time:  “I’m enjoying playing Erica because she is different and the character is really developing now.  I can see a lot more aspects to her.”

Fiona Spence, who plays prison warden Vera Bennett, had spent the last few years travelling and studying drama at the University Of New South Wales.  After a guest role in Glenview High and some TV commercials, the role of Ms Bennett is Spence’s first major role:  “I’m happy with Vera.  She’s very dramatic and in some ways like myself.  She is very unpopular with the public and the more they hate her, the better it is for me.  Then I know the character is working.”  Eventually, Spence hopes to go into theatre:  “I’ve never done professional stage work, only university plays.  Then I’d like to try films.  I’m not really fussy about what I do.  However, I can’t sing or dance, so I don’t want to be in a musical.  Drama is what I’m best at.”

700 million will see Miss Universe crowned
A worldwide audience of an estimated 700 million will see Miss Universe 1979 when it is held in Perth this week.  The two-hour ceremony, from Perth’s Entertainment Centre, has been years in the planning and will be beamed to 50 countries.  Viewers around the world will see the event live but Australians will see it on a delayed telecast as the ceremony is timed to start at 9.00am, Perth time, this Friday.

simontownsend Current affairs for kids
Children are to get their own daily current affairs program along the lines of Willesee At Seven and This Day Tonight.  The new program, yet to be titled, is being produced for the 0-10 Network by former Willesee At Seven reporter and producer Simon Townsend (pictured) and has been approved by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal for screening with a ‘C’ classification.  The pilot for the program was produced by Townsend in 1977 on a grant from the Nine Network.  Nine decided not to proceed with the program and even though Nine funded the pilot, it remained Townsend’s property.  Only days after the pilot was given the ‘C’ classification, Townsend received a call from the 0-10 Network.  No screening date for the program has been set as yet.

Actor Peter Cousens has been announced as host of ABC’s new children’s environmental series Earthwatch.  Cousens will be joined by a forum of four to six children, and the program will include singing and dancing, news clips and a current affairs segment. 

The winner of last year’s series of The Inventors, David Little, will be a guest when the show returns this week for its tenth year.  Little’s invention, a solar tracker/heater, is now ready for world distribution and Little is now hoping for a financial return of several millions of dollars.

gwenplumb Viewers of The Young Doctors may see a slimmer Ada Simmonds (Gwen Plumb, pictured) next year.  The actress has accepted a challenge to lose 6 kg or give $1000 to the next Appealathon, due for early next year, on Perth’s STW9.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”Whatever happened to the good old Saturday night B-grade horror movies?  They were bad but I still miss them.” G. Barnard, NSW.

“I couldn’t believe it when I read, in the Sunday papers, about all those people who rang up channels ATN7 and TCN9 about TEN10’s screening of Last Tango In Paris.  If these people bought some meat from their butcher and, upon coming home, found it was off, would they then go to their nearest chemist and complain about it?”  M. Powell, NSW.

“I am only 15 years old and even I know it is very rude to say people 100 years old.  Also, Mrs Doolan (Viewpoint, 16 June 1979), can’t you find something a little better to pick on than a commercial?  Which, by the way, I, and I am sure many others, find amusing.” D. Hassell, QLD.

What’s On (July 14-20):
ATV0 crosses to Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday afternoon for live coverage of Grand National Day, with races called by Clem Dimsey.

This Week Has Seven Days (HSV7, Saturday) features an interview with Peter Mayle, author of Where Did I Come From

ABC programs The Inventors and A Big Country both return with new episodes this week. 

kerryarmstrong In Prisoner (ATV0, Tuesday and Wednesday), Lyn (Kerry Armstrong, pictured) is released from Wentworth Detention Centre and is met by an unexpected welcoming party.  Joyce (Judy Nunn) makes Monica (Lesley Baker) an offer she finds hard to refuse.

On Friday night, GTV9 presents a delayed coverage of the 1979 Miss Universe pageant, held at Perth’s Entertainment Centre earlier that day.  The event is hosted by American personalities Helen O’Connell and Bob BarkerDonny Osmond will be a guest performer, and judges include Carol Lynley, Lana Cantrell, LeVar Burton and Ita Buttrose.

ABC presents live coverage of the 1979 British Golf Championship from Royal Lytham, St Anne’s Lancashire, England.  Telecast starts on Friday night at 9.25pm and continues for six hours.

Sunday night movies: The Great Waldo Pepper (HSV7), The Dove (GTV9), Freebie And The Bean (ATV0).  ABC presents the first episode of Ride On Stranger, a four-part series set in Australia in the 1930s starring Liddy Clark, Noni Hazlehurst, Henri Szeps, Barbara Wyndon, Bunney Brooke and Michael Aitkens.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 14 July 1979.  ABC/ACP

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Seven to check out from All Saints

allsaints The Australian is reporting that, while the Seven Network has not made any official statement, the long-running series All Saints will not be renewed for 2010.

The medical drama, launched in February 1998 as a starring vehicle for Georgie Parker, still commands strong audience figures but is a costly production taking into account the location shoots and medical rescue themes.

The series’ ratings are also pale in comparison to Seven’s newer ratings hit Packed To The Rafters.

The series has given work to some of Australia’s most well-known actors and writers over the years. But only one cast member, Judith McGrath (pictured, with co-star John Howard), has survived the show’s entire 12-year run as Yvonne ‘Von’ Ryan.

  • UPDATE @ 9.7.2009: The Seven Network has confirmed that All Saints will cease production next month.  By that time, the series will have clocked up 493 episodes – making it one of the longest-running weekly dramas in Australian television, behind Homicide and Blue Heelers which are both equal on 510 episodes each.

Source: The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald

Saturday, 4 July 2009

1979: July 7-13

tvtimes_070779 Skyways taxis for take-off
The Seven Network’s long-awaited airport drama series, Skyways, debuts this week in Sydney and Melbourne. With on-location filming conducted at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, the series is based on a fictional airport, Pacific International, and features its own airlines, Federal Airlines and Trans Asia. Producer Hector Crawford has described it as “strong drama, with a humorous touch; not exaggerated, but with a very honest approach to life.” HSV7 general manager Ron Casey said the series has a higher risk factor than most other programs: “The logistics of the program caused major problems. Our technical people had to solve many unexpected hitches. For instance, our equipment was seriously affected by the airport radar, and our schedules were put back about six week until our technicians solved the problem.” Producer Jock Blair said the program portrays a balanced view of life at an airport: “We are aware of the public sense of fear associated with flying, but I think the way we show safety measures and the quite incredible safety training of the flight crews will mean audiences will get a balanced picture of the everyday workings of an airport.” Skyways’ cast includes Bruce Barry, Deborah Coulls and Bartholomew John (pictured).

And now… TV drama for Kennedy?
The guessing game over Graham Kennedy’s return to television continues, following recent reports that he was to appear in a new comedy series for the Seven Network, and there have also been rumours of hosting variety shows for the Nine and Seven networks or hosting a nightly current affairs show for ATN7 Sydney. Kennedy’s manager, Harry M Miller, responds to some of the rumours: There have been no discussions with Nine at all about a return to the network. Kennedy has had an approach from Mike Willesee about hosting the Sydney-based Willesee At Six, but nothing further has developed. Kennedy is not doing the comedy role, but may appear in a drama series. Kennedy is also considering offers for movie roles, including one based on David Williamson’s play The Club.

tvnews_280658 21 years of TV Times!
TV Times
celebrates its 21st birthday this week. The magazine initially started as Sydney-based TV News in June 1958 and was re-launched as TV News-Times in August 1959. The title was shortened to TV Times in November 1959. The first issue (pictured) reported on Jack Davey’s move from ATN7 to TCN9 in Sydney and remarking that he was planning a series along the lines of I Love Lucy. Actress Gwen Plumb was the star of an ABC series What’s In The Picture? and Ross Higgins was compering ABC’s Children’s TV Club.

Saga of a show called Carrots
From 1 July new rules were in place for the broadcast of programming aimed specifically aimed at children between 4.00pm and 5.00pm weekdays. Programs have to be approved by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal to receive the new children’s ‘C’ classification in order to be shown in that timeslot. Networks are angry as some of them were already developing new children’s programs before the Tribunal, as late as May, had issued guidelines on what would be approved. The Seven Network had spent $250,000 on a new series, Carrots, that was to air weekdays at 4.30pm and has failed to obtain the ‘C’ classification at the last minute. Seven claims that its program was based on the recommendations in the Self-Regulation for Broadcasters report, which at the time was the only guideline available to broadcasters. Producer Julian Jovers defended the program: “It has a cast of good actors, it’s fully scripted, has a permanent set and budget. We’re spending an excess of $20,000 a week producing four episodes.” The program had been screened to groups of children from varying backgrounds to assess their responses and they had largely responded positively, though some changes were made based on feedback. Earlier this year, episodes had been submitted to the Tribunal for comment. The tribunal did not respond until 11 June when it advised ATN7 that Carrots, and eight other programs that had been submitted by networks, had been rejected.

Actress Kate Shiel has won the female lead role in the new ABC series Timelapse, starring opposite Robert Coleby and John Meillon.

Lorraine Bayly is enjoying the sights of Los Angeles and has not given any indication as to a return date to The Sullivans.

raymartin78 Reporter Ray Martin (pictured) says there is absolutely “no difference” between being a reporter for ABC’s Four Corners and the Nine Network’s new 60 Minutes – although he has noted that, since leaving ABC as its New York correspondent, the fan mail is now coming from much younger viewers rather than “old ladies.”

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
”I am 15 years old, and for the first time in history I found a teenage show that didn’t star starry-eyed little goodie-goodies. I refer, of course, to James At 16.” M. Wolfshaar, QLD.

“I thoroughly enjoyed both Roots and Roots: The Next Generations. I cried. It was very moving. I hope they keep the family name going on and the story behind it. Good on you, Alex Haley.” G. Williams, NSW.

“I have been a fan of Doctor Who ever since I can remember, but lately Blake’s Seven became the highlight of my week’s viewing. Thanks again ABC for taking the brave step that at present the commercial stations are not taking – showing a sci-fi program in adult viewing time.” R. Sallis, VIC.

What’s On (July 7-13):
This Week Has Seven Days (HSV7, Saturday) looks at the recycling of plastic wastes being used in school art classes. Other topics covered today include kidney disease, a visit to Japan by two Australian students and looking at the career of a religious leader.

ABC’s Saturday Special is Peter Regan’s Musical World, featuring Brian May and the Melbourne ABC Showband.

Guest stars on HSV7’s Saturday Night Live include Little Pattie, Delilah, Bartholomew John, Angela Ayers and Dita Cobb.

In the debut episode of Skyways (HSV7, Monday) there is a commotion at Pacific International Airport when an attractive East German girl defects. Then, in sinister circumstances she disappears from the airport. Acting airport manager Paul MacFarlane (Tony Bonner) loses his promotion because of the trouble.

ATV0’s game show $10,000 Winner’s Circle, hosted by Sandy Scott, is bumped from its 7.00pm weekday timeslot to the less-appealing 3.30pm timeslot.

Sunday night movies: Sleuth (HSV7), The Partisan (GTV9), The Front Page (ATV0). ABC screens the landmark British mini-series Edward And Mrs Simpson, tracing the controversial love story between King Edward VIII and an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, which ultimately led to the King abdicating the throne. The mini-series starts on Sunday night and continues through to Thursday.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 7 July 1979. ABC/ACP

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Jeff Newman calls it a day

jeffnewman West Australian personality Jeff Newman has decided to retire from Perth’s TVW7 – over forty years after joining the channel and just a few months shy of TVW’s fiftieth birthday celebration.

A former radio announcer, Newman started in television at STW9 in the mid-‘60s before joining TVW7 in 1967.  A presenter of various programs including quiz shows It’s Academic and Letterbox and local variety shows including Perth’s New Faces and Reach For The Stars, Newman joined TVW7’s news department in 1982 and for the last eight years has been Seven News’ weather presenter.  In 2001, It’s Academic was revived with Newman again as host.

Newman has also been actively involved in TVW7’s annual Telethon since it started in 1968 and in 1994 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to Telethon and the Variety Club of Western Australia, which he founded. 

Newman has also won five TV Week Logie awards for Most Popular Personality in Western Australia.

It is reported that Newman will appear at one more Telethon, to be held in October just as TVW7 celebrates its 50th birthday.

Source: WA Today, Perth Now, TVW7, WA TV History