Monday, 31 May 2010

50 years of NZ TV

tvnz_kiwi While New Zealand television is not normally covered on this blog, we would like to extend congratulations across the Tasman on the occasion of 50 years of television in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s first TV station, AKTV2 Auckland, signed on at 7.30pm on 1 June 1960.  Transmission was initially limited to two nights a week but was extended to four nights the following month.

Although New Zealand television was funded by viewers’ licence fees, a limited amount of advertising was allowed to boost funds – but advertising was limited to only a couple of days a week.

Television extended to Christchurch (CHTV3) and Wellington (WNTV1) in 1961 and Dunedin (DNTV2) in 1962. 

tvnz_nzbc tvnz_50

All four channels, though owned by the national broadcaster NZBC, were basically operating in isolation of each other.  It was in 1969 that all four channels were first linked up via a temporary microwave link to allow simultaneous transmission of the moon landing – although viewers were still seeing images after the event, as New Zealand was yet to establish satellite-receiving facilities and had to rely on film sent over from Australia.

A satellite link was established in 1971, and in 1972 New Zealanders watched the Melbourne Cup live via satellite.  Nationally networked programming was launched in 1973.

Colour television began in New Zealand in November 1973 – over a year ahead of Australia – but it was not without its challenges.  Colour coverage of the 1974 Commonwealth Games from Auckland was limited only to swimming, track and field and boxing events as the network did not have enough facilities to allow colour broadcast of all events.

A restructure of the nation’s public broadcasting interests was implemented in 1975 – with NZBC split up into separate radio and television divisions, and the splitting up of the single television network into two competing networks – TV One and TV2 – giving New Zealanders a choice of TV channels for the first time.

By 1980, the two networks are brought back under the one organisation, TVNZ, but maintaining the two-channel structure.

TV3 The end of the 1980s marked the arrival of New Zealand’s first privately-owned commercial television network, TV3.  The new network, bringing an end to almost thirty years of the state-owned monopoly, collapsed into receivership shortly after going to air – not able to compete with the Auckland Commonwealth Games and a stockpile of first-run programming being thrown against it by the two-channel TVNZ giant.  TV3 is later bought out by the Canadian CanWest organisation, a company that also bought a share of Australia’s Network Ten as it too was recovering from financial decline.

CanWest also supplemented TV3 with a second network, TV4, in 1997.  The new network, providing youth-focused programming, is later reworked into a music and entertainment channel, C4.

Pay television entered the New Zealand market in the 1990s with Sky Television, and a new free-to-air commercial network, Prime Television, is formed as a joint venture between Australia’s Nine Network and regional network Prime.  Prime in New Zealand is now owned by Sky.

freeview_nz Digital television commenced transmission in New Zealand in 2007 with the broadcasters providing a joint initiative, Freeview.  All free-to-air networks are carried on Freeview, with the addition of extra channels such as TVNZ6 (family and NZ-based programming) and TVNZ7 (news) and niche-format channels covering various genres including indigenous, multicultural, religious, public affairs and community programming.

To commemorate 50 years of New Zealand television, and to coincide with a special to go to air on 1 June, TVNZ has produced a special website, Cheers To 50 Years, including archival footage, trivia and tributes to half a century of television.

Source: TVNZ, Wikipedia, Freeview

Sunday, 30 May 2010

1990: May 5-11

tvweek_050590 Love is on the air!
The frustrated relationship between nurse Lucy Gardiner (Georgie Parker) and Wandin Valley vet Matt Tyler (John Tarrant) takes a new turn when, in episodes to air this week, Tyler decides to propose marriage when presenting his “Valley Vet” radio show.  But, despite the engagement, marriage for the pair (pictured) is still a long way off.  “There are more twists and turns,” Parker told TV Week.

Skippy bounces back
The legendary children’s series Skippy The Bush Kangaroo is about to make a comeback in a new series for the Nine Network.  Nine’s drama chief Alan Bateman says that the new Skippy will be more in tune with the modern-day concerns for the environment.  “Skippy in this generation is going to be very environmentally aware.  The storylines will focus on genuine environmental issues such as preserving our native forests, land degradation and protecting endangered species,” Bateman told TV Week.

atownlikedallas Soapie saga stumbles on!
While Nine’s evening soap Family And Friends is struggling to find an audience a far less likely ‘drama’ is giving the network a ratings spike.  A Town Like Dallas, created as a send-up of daytime soaps and, in particular, the Seven Network’s daytime drama The Power The Passion, is a weekly segment on Midday With Ray Martin and has become a hit with viewers.  The mock soap opera, featuring in the show’s last quarter hour each Friday, has clocked up 50 episodes with guest stars including John Mangos, Don Burke, Glenn Shorrock, Geoff Harvey, Queenie Ashton, Angry Anderson, Yahoo Serious and US actors Emma Samms and Thaao Penghlis appearing alongside segment regulars Gretel Killeen, David Argue, Ross Daniels and Shane Bourne and the show’s host, Ray Martin.  Within a few weeks of its launch, A Town Like Dallas was getting ratings of 17, a huge ratings figure for a daytime timeslot, and The Power The Passion was rating two.

Kate’s a class act!
It’s hard work being a child on a TV series – that’s the verdict from 11-year-old Kate Ritchie who has played orphan Sally Keating in Home And Away for the last three years.  “Sometimes I wish I could just be at school,” she says.  “It’s very hard work, but I do enjoy being on Home And Away very much.  I’m so fortunate to be doing what I do.”  Ritchie names Tracy Mann and Nicole Kidman as her favourite actors.  “I worked with Tracy on the mini-series Cyclone Tracy.  I was the little girl who got sucked out of the bathroom!”  But despite her years in showbusiness, Ritchie is thinking of other pursuits for the future.  “I want to be an architect.  I also hope to keep acting.”

peterobrienelainesmith Briefly…
Former Neighbours co-stars Peter O’Brien and Elaine Smith have called an end to their four-year relationship.  The split is said to be amicable, caused largely by the actors working apart – with O’Brien spending a lot of time in the UK and Smith commuting back and forth.

After a “disappointingly quiet” couple of years, actor Andrew Clarke is returning to TV in a guest appearance on the US series Mission: Impossible, being filmed in Australia.  Clarke is also currently working on a children’s series, The Girl From Tomorrow, for the Nine Network.

The somewhat touchy topic of hair loss is being tackled on Seven’s comedy series Hey Dad! – with Simon Kelly (Chris Mayer) contemplating a bald future after sister Debbie (Simone Buchanan) plays a prank to make him think he is losing his hair.

tracymann John Laws says…
”At time of writing, my viewing of Skirts (starring Tracy Mann, pictured) has been limited to the opening two-hour telemovie – but it was more than enough to convince me that the Simpson Le Mesurier production house has come up with the most significant Australian TV drama series in years.  All it needs is to avoid slipping into the Cop Shop “soapie” mould and it can become a long-distance runner in the ratings game.”

Program Highlights (May 5-11):
Saturday:  HSV7
presents the 1959 four-hour movie epic, Ben Hur, starring Charlton Heston.
  Sunday night movies are Once Upon A Texas Train (HSV7), The Holcroft Covenant (GTV9) and Colors (ATV10).  ABC presents the debut of a new documentary series, Hindsights, hosted by Geraldine Doogue and Chris Masters.  And SBS presents its annual telecast of the Eurovision Song Contest, this year being held in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, with 22 countries competing for the right to host the event next year.
Monday:  In A Country Practice (HSV7), Bob Hatfield (Gordon Piper) fights for his life after a bee sting.  And Luke (Matt Day) and Shirley (Lorrae Desmond) visit Father Moore’s refuge in Sydney.
Tuesday:  Andrew Clarke and Patrick Ward are guest stars in this week’s episode of Mission: Impossible (GTV9).
Wednesday:  ABC presents a one-hour special, Tales Of Helpmann, a profile of Sir Robert Helpmann, one of the theatre world’s most controversial, outspoken and flamboyant identities.  ATV10 presents a late-night delayed telecast of the Rugby League State Of Origin from the Sydney Football Stadium.
Thursday:  SBS makes an early-morning (4.00am) cross to Sweden for the final of the European Cup Winners Cup.  For those that are not early-risers, SBS repeats the match at 10.25pm.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.      
5 May 1990. Southdown Press.

1990: April 28-May 4

tvweek_280490 Cover: Linda Hartley and ‘Bouncer’ (Neighbours)

‘It started as an innocent relationship…’
Former Neighbours star Rachel Friend has spoken publicly for the first time about her relationship with former co-star Craig McLachlan.  The TV Week Logie award-winning actress said the relationship started very innocently.  “Going to the pictures, that sort of thing.  People picked up on that, but there was nothing to pick up on.  Since then, I can’t deny there is more to it.  We are very happy together.”  Since leaving Neighbours, Friend has been in the UK to film Mission: Top Secret for Grundy Productions and has now moved to Sydney to be with McLachlan, who is now starring in Home And Away.

It’s a deal… no joke!
Media Arts
, the production company run by Ian McFadyen and Maryanne Fahey, has signed a lucrative deal with Crawfords AustraliaTerry Ohlsson, chief executive of Crawfords, has said that a new comedy project is being devised by the partnership and is under consideration from one of the networks.  Meanwhile, Media Arts – producers of The Comedy Company – are set to go ahead with another series, Let The Blood Run Free, a sitcom set in a hospital, starring Jean Kittson, Peter Rowsthorn, Lynda Gibson and Brian Nankervis.  There is also speculation that The Comedy Company, that went into extended hiatus at the close of 1989, could be back on air soon in a new series.

mauriefieldsvaljellay Doctors warn Maurie: ‘Take it easy!’
Hey Hey It’s Saturday and The Flying Doctors star Maurie Fields has been told by doctors to take it easy after a recent health scare.  Fields, who suffered a mild heart attack last year, took ill following a working holiday in Hawaii with wife Val Jellay.  “Maurie was having a bit of trouble breathing but he thought it was the humidity and jetlag,” Jellay told TV Week.  “But it was because he was a bit overweight and there was fluid on his lungs.  He has since taken off 9 and a half kilograms and he’s on a very strict diet, but he’s fine.”  The couple (pictured), who performed their famous vaudeville routine while in Hawaii, also used the trip to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Home And Away star Rebekah Elmaloglou has spoken of some of the unwanted attention gained from starring in a popular soapie.  “In the early days it was easy for people to get my phone number with a name like Elmaloglou!  We had people ringing all the time.  I didn’t mind saying hello and having a bit of a chat, but then older boys – men – started ringing.  We had one really bad, sexually abusive call.”

richardhugget E Street’s new bad boy, Sonny Bennet (Richard Huggett, pictured) is moving into the neighbourhood after five years in prison – but the character does bear something of a resemblance to E Street’s former bad boy, Wheels (Marcus Graham).  Despite the similarities, Hugget is not worried that the producers may be using his character to resurrect Wheels.  “There is no need.  Sonny is a good character,” he tells TV Week.

stevevizard Steve Vizard (pictured) reflects on the first few months of his new late-night show, Tonight Live.  “It’s actually like having a big toy,” he says.  “Someone lets you into a studio and says, ‘Well, here it is.  Here’s all the cameramen and all the facilities, now you make a show.’  And we can do anything we like.  We have to con them into giving us OB (outside broadcast) vans occasionally.  But, if we want, we can do the show from a pizza shop or a submarine or even from my place.”  Tonight Live has given Seven some pleasing late-night ratings, helping the network win its first ratings survey in two years.

John Laws says…
”One program that has had a significant impact in the past year is ABC’s Media Watch – The Last Word.  It’s an impressive 15 minutes of television because it pulls no punches in making a point.  Presenter Stuart Littlemore adopts a slightly supercilious and a schoolmastery approach, but perhaps this is exactly what’s required when you are skinning alive your mates in the media.”

Program Highlights (April 28-May 4):
Saturday:  HSV7
crosses live to Carrara, Queensland, for Brisbane Bears versus Melbourne in AFL.  Later in the evening, ABC crosses to Wembley to a live telecast of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup Final.
Sunday:  Sunday night movies are Challenger (HSV7), Police Academy V: Assignment Miami Beach (GTV9) and House On Carroll Street (ATV10).
Tuesday:  SBS presents the 1977 UK special, Twenty-One, the third chapter in the 7 Up documentary series which has interviewed its subjects every seven years from the time they are 7 years old.  SBS follows this up on Wednesday night with the latest instalment in the series, 28 Up.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.     
28 April 1990. Southdown Press.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

C31 switches on digital transmission

C31_Melb Melbourne community TV station C31 tomorrow flicks the switch on its new digital transmission.

A two-week test transmission begins at 9.00am tomorrow with the official digital launch on 11 June.

The launch of digital transmission for C31 is the result of a lengthy battle to gain broadcasting spectrum while the national and commercial broadcasters were handed broadcasting spectrum free of charge.

C31 was granted funding of $660,000 from the Federal Government and $350,000 from the State Government to assist its transition to digital.  The station also ran a subscriberthon to raise additional funds to support the digital switch.

C31’s digital launch follows Sydney’s TVS and Perth’s new WTV onto the digital platform, while Brisbane’s QCTV31 is expected to commence digital transmission next month.

Monday, 24 May 2010

1990: April 21-27

tvweek_210490 Tragedy shatters Summer Bay
Which original cast member of Home And Away has quit the series and is to written out for good?  That is the question facing fans of the popular Seven Network series as a car accident in Summer Bay tragically kills one of the characters – but with four characters in the car, who will die?

Alyce rides into romance
Sale Of The Century co-host Alyce Platt has started a six-week stint in the Nine Network’s soap Family And Friends.  “It feels very different being back in a drama.  It’s like I’ve picked up where Sons And Daughters left off, although this is a different character,” she told TV Week.  She plays the character of Stephanie Collins, a social worker with a deep secret who takes off to the country to deal with her mystery.  It is there that she meets Damien Chandler (Simon Westaway) and tries to turn around his aggressive manner, leading to romance.

pixieanne Away with the Pixies… again!
The Seven Network this week launches a new series of sketch comedy show Fast Forward, and Magda Szubanski will be on board to reprise her trademark characters Pixie-Anne Wheatley (pictured) and beautician Chenille.  “I enjoy doing Pixie.  It puts me in a good mood,” Szubanski told TV Week.  “You set up the smile and, before you know it, you’re in a good mood.  In some ways, I think Chenille may have a slightly longer life.  Because Pixie is such a big character, she could really start to … you after a while!”

Six exit in series shake-up
Despite falling ratings, the Nine Network is sticking with Family And Friends.  The network is planning a major revamp for the series, with six characters to be written out and negotiations under way to sign up some high-profile names.  Planned to be leaving the show are Renato Bartolomei, Robert Forza, Anna-Maria Monticelli, Sean Myers, Simon Westaway and Justine Clarke.  Clarke was only ever intended to have a brief stint in the series, but the departure of the others will essentially end the ongoing Rossi/Chandler feud storyline. 

Former The Factory co-host Andrew Daddo may have been overlooked for a presenting role on Countdown Revolution, but is now set to host a new documentary series for ABC, Made By Design.

taylerkane A former Australian model, Tayler Kane (pictured), has won a role in the new UK soap opera Families.  The new $6 million series, to be produced by Grenada Television, will be filmed on location in both the UK and Australia.  Kane will play the role of Andrew Stephens, the eldest son of Diane Stephens (Briony Behets).  Families is to debut on UK network ITV later this month.  The series has yet to be sold to an Australian network.

Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Jane Fleming hasn’t given up on her sporting career but has begun to make her mark into the media – as a reporter for the Nine Network’s Wide World Of Sports and co-host of the breakfast show on Canberra radio station FM104.7

darylsomers_fidgeon John Laws says…
”I’m delighted that Daryl Somers (pictured, as illustrated by Robert Fidgeon) and New Faces are back on Nine.  There was a lot of talk late last year that the show was headed for chopping block.  If that had happened, it would have been a crying shame.  I very much like the program and everything that it stands for.  It is a genuine search for fresh Australian entertainment and it’s one of the very few areas of television where talented unknowns can have a crack at shooting for the big break in their careers.”

Program Highlights (April 21-27):
Sunday:  HSV7
’s Sunday afternoon AFL covers Sydney Swans versus St Kilda and a highlights package of North Melbourne versus Geelong.  The only Sunday night movie this week is Big Business (HSV7), while GTV9 presents the premiere of two-part mini-series The Great Escape II: The Untold Story and ATV10 debuts mini-series Heart Of The High Country.  In the lead-up to ANZAC Day, ABC presents a one-hour special, The Boys Who Came Home, featuring recollections from Gallipoli veterans.
Tuesday:  In GP (ABC), Dr Cathy Mitchell (Sarah Chadwick) looks after a young paraplegic with serious doubts about his sex life.
Wednesday – ANZAC Day:  ABC is the only network to provide coverage of ANZAC Day proceedings, including 75th Anniversary ANZAC Day March through the streets of Melbourne and a live telecast of the Dawn Service from Gallopoli.  In the afternoon, HSV7 presents a two-hour special, For Valor, and ATV10 repeats a three-hour special, Australians At War 1914-1918, narrated by Tim Elliot.  At 4.45pm, ABC crosses back to Gallipoli for The International Service and the forum discussion on Couchman, at 10.15pm, focuses on the many young Australians making the pilgrimage to the shores of Gallipoli to pay homage to the men who died there 75 years earlier.
stevevizard Thursday:  Comedy series Fast Forward returns for a second season, including cast members Steve Vizard (pictured), Michael Veitch, Margaret Downey, Magda Szubanski, Ernie Dingo, Jane Turner and Peter Moon.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.     
21 April 1990. Southdown Press.

Online revival for classic TV fare

hhis_2 NineMSN’s catch-up TV website, FIXPlay, is set to expand its program offerings to include a back catalogue of classic TV titles – including family favourites like Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Skippy The Bush Kangaroo and Thunderbirds.

The website, launched only six weeks ago, is reported to have already clocked up its one millionth visitor with the site’s most popular program being the Nine Network series Underbelly 3: The Golden Mile.  Other popular programs on the video-on-demand website include Sea Patrol, the US sci-fi series V and former Nine series McLeod’s Daughters.

The Seven Network has its own online TV site, Plus7, and ABC has iView, but FIXPlay claims to be the first to offer a back catalogue of classic programming.

Source: Herald Sun

Saturday, 22 May 2010

TV turns 50 in Tasmania

TVT6_openingnight_2 Monday 23 May 1960 marked the official opening of Tasmania’s first TV station, TVT6 in Hobart – marking the culmination of over a decade of planning which started when the station was formed in 1950 in a board room at Hobart radio station 7HO.

The launch of TVT6 meant that every Australian state now had at least one television station – marking the completion of the second stage of the introduction of television in Australia.

The station’s opening night schedule started with a test pattern at 7.00pm followed by the Official Opening by Tasmanian governor Lord Rowallan (pictured) at 7.30pm and a news bulletin read by news editor Gordon Leed.

The Mercury newspaper documented part of Lord Rowallan’s speech on the night:

“I ask you not to be afraid of this new medium, but use it aright.  Do not abuse it, but use it with discrimination and you will find that it will have an interest not only for yourselves in broadening your lives in the Commonwealth and in geography, but it will be productive of a continuous stimulus to your children to learn more and understand more of the great world outside.”

“Good luck to the station.  May it have an excellent future from your own point of view as well as the point of view of the people of Tasmania, who are going to enjoy many hours of viewing and listening.”

American programs made up the rest of the opening night’s line-upDennis The Menace at 8.00pm, I Love Lucy at 8.30pm, Maverick at 9.00pm, and The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theatre at 10.00pm completed the night’s programs.

TVT6_openingnight The opening night’s proceedings were based at TVT6’s headquarters in the suburb of New Town and were viewed by thousands of viewers around Hobart and surrounding areas, often with large groups of people viewing through shop windows on a cold Hobart winter night.  More than 350 guests, including prominent Tasmanian government and business identities (including Lady Rowallan, pictured) and representatives of mainland television stations HSV7, GTV9 and NWS9, were in attendance at a special reception at Wrest Point Hotel and viewed the event on TV screens positioned around the hotel’s spacious dining rooms.

TVT6 also sent out a greeting to its counterparts at ABC, which was due to open its Hobart station – ABT2 – in two weeks’ time.  The station also acknowledged the assistance of existing television stations on the mainland – in particular Perth television station TVW7 which had commenced transmission only seven months earlier.

TVT6 also received messages of congratulations and best wishes from overseas stars including Lucille Ball, Raymond Burr (who, as Perry Mason, said “I promise never to lose a case in Hobart.  Much success in your new endeavour.”) and Perry Como.





TVT6 continued as Hobart and Southern Tasmania’s only commercial TV station for over 30 years – and it would be another 25 years before Hobart got a third television station, SBS, in 1986.  TVT6 also increased its signal through Southern Tasmania with the installation of translator stations TVT8 (Bicheno, Queenstown/Zeehan, Strahan) and TVT10 (Rosebery).

During the 1980s TVT6 had fallen under common ownership with the Northern Tasmanian station, TNT9, and both stations were branded on-air as TAS TV, and for several years maintained a standard schedule across both channels, covering most of the entire State.  In 1988, TNT9 was sold off to Tricom Corporation, the company which later formed the Southern Cross Network, leading to TNT9 splitting from the TAS TV partnership.

TVT6 also won a number of TV Week Logie awards – when State-based categories were included – for its presenters and programs, including Graeme Smith, Trevor Sutton, Bert Taylor, Tom Payne, Ron Christie, Robyn Martin, KTV and Tasmania Today.

On 30 April 1994, TVT6 (TAS TV) and TNT9 (Southern Cross Network) took part in the statewide aggregation of their respective signals – giving Tasmanian viewers a choice of two commercial channels for the first time.  TAS TV, which had ties to Victorian regional network VIC TV, became an affiliate of the Nine Network, while Southern Cross struck up joint affiliation to both Seven and Ten networks.

In October 1994, TAS TV and VIC TV were sold to NSW-based regional network WIN Corporation, which already owned Nine Network regional affiliates in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.  As a result the TAS TV and VIC TV identities were replaced with the WIN branding.

win_1989 WIN_2008_2

WIN and Southern Cross Television later became joint venture owners in the Tasmanian-based digital channel, TDT, which commenced transmission on 1 January 2004.

WIN still has an amount of local production based in Hobart, specifically the nightly WIN News, read by Anna McMahon, a Tasmanian who worked in her early career at TAS TV and for many years on the mainland for the Ten and Nine networks and recently returned to Tasmania to join WIN.

Source: The Mercury, 23 May 1960 and 24 May 1960.  Australian Television Information Archive, Australian TV Archive.

Kylie jokes about Neighbours return

kylieminogue_1987 Could Ramsay Street’s most famous daughter be talking of a return to the neighbourhood?

Kylie Minogue, who turns 42 next week, has joked to UK newspaper The Sun about reprising her 1980s Neighbours character, tomboyish Charlene Robinson:

"The other day I thought how much fun it would be to do it after years of saying never.  I've decided how it would work.  Charlene would screech up the drive in her souped-up Mini which she's been working on all the time.  I don't watch the show any more, but it could be fun to do that. It could be hilarious.''

Minogue joined Neighbours as a 17-year-old in April 1986.  Her prior TV appearances had included guest roles in series including The Sullivans and Skyways and more prominent roles in children’s shows Fame And Misfortune and The Henderson Kids.  The pairing of Minogue’s character with Jason Donovan’s Scott Robinson gave the Ten Network soap its biggest drawcard, creating the show’s first ‘super couple’ and earned massive ratings when the two characters tied the knot in July 1987.

Minogue left the series in 1988, after winning a TV Week Gold Logie, to pursue her then fledgling recording career, with Charlene last seen driving out of Ramsay Street to head off to a new life in Brisbane. 

kylieminogue_Kandk Of course, the pop princess is known to have returned to her Aussie acting roots before – in 2004 she appeared in Kath And Kim as a grown-up Epponee-Rae Craig, an appearance that was seen as a light-hearted throwback to her former Neighbours character.  After the Kath And Kim appearance (pictured) she was also reported to have expressed disappointment that she was not offered an opportunity to appear in Neighbours for its 20th anniversary in 2005, but producers claimed that any efforts to approach her management about setting up a cameo appearance fell on deaf ears.

Perhaps, with the show hitting 25 years this year, it could be an opportune time to make amends?

Source: Herald Sun, Perfect Blend

Thursday, 20 May 2010

New regional channels on the way

watchtv2 The expansion of digital television across the country will get an extra boost with the licencing and launch of digital-only channels in remote and regional Australia.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it has licenced a digital-only commercial television service to Central Television Pty Ltd to serve the Remote Central and Eastern Australia market, including the Mount Isa licence area.

Central Television Pty Ltd is a joint venture between the market’s existing commercial broadcasters, Imparja Television and Regional Television Pty Ltd (Southern Cross Television).  Imparja currently provides a Nine Network schedule to the region, while Southern Cross is a Seven Network affiliate.

The new channel has twelve months to commence broadcasting.

Meanwhile, ACMA has also announced a launch date for the digital-only television service to cover Regional Western Australia.  The new channel, announced almost a year ago, is a joint venture between existing broadcasters GWN (owned by Prime) and WIN and is set to commence rolling out across the state from 10 June.

The new channel will coincide with the rollout of digital simulcasts of the existing WIN and GWN services.

Source: ACMA, ACMA

Monday, 10 May 2010

TelevisionAU Update 10-May-10

johnwood_catwalk NEW FLASHBACK #54:
The behind-the-scenes workings of a fashion magazine formed the basis of the Seven Network's 1972 drama Catwalk, a 13-part spin-off of the former ABC series Dynasty.  Heading the cast was British actor John Forgeham as the magazine's fiery-tempered editor.  The cast line-up also included John Wood (pictured), Cecily Polson, Cornelia Frances and June Salter - the latter best known for her comic performances but in Catwalk takes on the role of a bitchy journalist and editor's assistant.  Picture: TV Week, 19 February 1972

1989 (Family Double Dare debuts)
1989 (SBS screens the five-hour film epic, The Mahabharata)
1999 (Final Hey Hey It’s Saturday)

1961 (Official Opening GLV10 Gippsland)

TEN10_Roots Sydney:
1977 (US mini-series Roots debuts)

1983 (Network 0-28 extends to Canberra)

1968 (Motel debuts in Brisbane)


1960 (Official Opening TVT6 Hobart)
1962 (Official Opening TNT9 Launceston)


Friday, 7 May 2010

ABW2 Perth turns 50

abw2 ABC’s Perth TV station, ABW2, turns 50 years old today, 7 May.

ABW2, the national broadcaster’s fifth TV station, conducted its first test transmissions from 19 April 1960 and had its opening night on Saturday 7 May 1960.  The opening night’s proceedings included fifteen minutes of speeches from dignitaries, including ABC Chairman Sir Richard Boyer, before the Postmaster-General CW Davidson officially opened the channel at 7.00pm.  More than 300 invited guests witnessed the opening night from ABW’s new Rosehill studios in Adelaide Terrace, Perth.

James Fisher read ABW2’s first news bulletin.  The rest of the evening featured Tales Of Wells Fargo and The Phil Silvers Show then British series Portraits Of Power and Boyd QC.  A sports review followed and then the night concluded with the prize winning documentary Up With Guba, the story of the development of New Guinea, before transmission closed at 10.35pm.

Some of ABW2’s early on-camera stars included Ian Beatty, Geoff Walker, Earl Reeve, Jim Fitzmaurice, John Treffry, Clive Hale (who later became a national ABC presenter) and presentation announcer Diana Ward, who won the first TV Week Logie award for Western Australia in 1962.  Later names included Greg Pearce, Anne Conti, Peter Holland, Geraldine Mellett and Susannah Carr.

abw2camera abw2_rooftop
ABW2 was based at Adelaide Terrace until 2005 when ABC moved radio and television operations into new premises at Fielder Street, East Perth.  The 600 square metre studio located at the new site ranks it almost equal to ABC’s studio facilities in Sydney and Melbourne.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, ABW2 is inviting all current and former staff members to afternoon tea – as a homage to the ‘tea ladies’ that served at the station up until the early ‘80s – at the East Perth studios on Sunday 16 May from 2.00pm.  Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to the event ($25.00) are invited to contact

A more detailed account of the history of ABW2 can be found at WA TV History.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Murray Nicoll

murraynicoll Award winning journalist Murray Nicoll has died after a battle with leukaemia.

With a career spanning 45 years, including print, radio and television news, Nicoll, 66, won a Walkley Award for his coverage during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires where he described to listeners of radio 5DN, Adelaide, the devastation of watching his own home burn down.  The report was broadcast around the world.

Nicoll has worked for ABC Radio and for Melbourne radio station 3AW.  For the last five years he has worked at Seven News in Adelaide.

Seven News chief Terry Plane paid tribute to Nicoll:

"The further he went into journalism, the more of a story teller he became.  Murray's had a remarkable career in journalism across radio, print and television and I think everyone here at Seven feels privileged to have spent the last five years of his career with him."

Murray Nicoll is survived by wife Frankie and daughters Tia and Peta.

Source: ABC, Adelaide Now

The 52nd TV Week Logie Awards

raymeagher Home And Away actor Ray Meagher (pictured) has been awarded the TV Week Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television.  Despite Meagher’s lengthy career, including 22 years on Home And Away, it is his first Logie award.

Home And Away also won an award for actor Luke Mitchell as Most Popular New Male Talent.  And Seven’s other drama Packed To The Rafters also swept up several awards last night – Most Popular Drama Series, Most Popular Actress (Rebecca Gibney) and Most Popular Actor (Hugh Sheridan).

Seven also won Most Outstanding News Coverage for Seven News’ coverage of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria and Most Outstanding Sports Coverage for the V8 Supercars: Supercheap Auto Bathurst.  Better Homes And Gardens won Most Popular Lifestyle Show.

masterchef The Ten Network was well rewarded last night with two Logies for its hit show Masterchef Australia (pictured) – including Matt Preston winning the Graham Kennedy Award for Outstanding New Talent – and Talkin’ ‘bout Your Generation winning three Logies, including Shaun Micallef for Most Popular Presenter.  The 7PM Project also scored a win with Carrie Bickmore winning Most Popular New Female Talent, and Bondi Rescue won Most Popular Factual Program.

The Nine Network didn’t score all that well at last night – winning only one award for The Footy Show (NRL) as Most Popular Sports Program.

ABC won awards for Most Outstanding Children’s Program (My Place, ABC3) and for its Four Corners report, Code Of SilenceSBS’ drama series East West 101 won two Logies – Most Outstanding Drama and Most Outstanding Actor (Don Hany) – and the telemovie Saved won Most Outstanding Actress for Claudia Karvan.

donlane_3 The tribute to those in the industry that have passed away in the last 12 months included a performance by PJ Lane, son of Don Lane (pictured), who was joined on stage by several performers from the earlier days of IMT and The Don Lane Show, including Philip Brady, Toni Lamond, Patti Newton, John Michael Howson and Geoff Harvey.

Bert Newton, hosting the awards solo for the first time since 1993, did an admirable job for what has become one of the toughest gigs in television – keeping up the tradition of topical humour as well as a candid interview with guest k.d. Lang.  Restoring Newton to the hosting role could be regarded as a safe option after the last few years’ instability in the Logies hosting, but he did well to restore some of the Logies’ sense of occasion.

briannaylor_2 Newton also presented an excellent introduction to the Hall of Fame presentation, with former Melbourne newsreader Brian Naylor (pictured) posthumously inducted in the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame in an outstanding tribute including speeches by Naylor’s former colleagues Mal Walden, Peter Hitchener and Peter Mitchell.

Musical performances came from Gabriella Cilmi, k.d. Lang, John Mayer (who seemed rather disinterested in being at the awards) and the Rogue Traders.

Last night’s four-hour presentation at Melbourne’s Crown Casino earned an average of 1.4 million viewers for the Nine Network across the five cities – a decline on last year’s awards which were watched by 1.58 million viewers and the Red Carpet arrivals which scored 1.7 million viewers.  The Logies were beaten in the ratings last night by Nine News, Masterchef Australia and Seven News – though none of those had a four-hour run time and the Logies did not wind up until after 11.30pm.

Nine also won the night’s ratings convincingly with a 32.8 per cent share, well ahead of Seven (25.4%), Ten (19.1%), ABC1 (9.9%) and SBS1 (3.4%), with digital channels GO! (4.5%), 7TWO (2.5%), ONE (1.4%), ABC2 (0.7%), ABC3 (0.2%) and SBS2 (0.1%).

logie_2010 GOLD LOGIE:
Ray Meagher, Home And Away

Hugh Sheridan, Packed to the Rafters
Rebecca Gibney, Packed to the Rafters
Shaun Micallef, Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation

Packed to the Rafters, Seven
MasterChef Australia, Ten
Luke Mitchell, Home And Away
Carrie Bickmore, The 7PM Project
Better Homes and Gardens, Seven
Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation, Ten
The Footy Show NRL, Nine
Bondi Rescue, Ten


Don Hany, East West 101
Claudia Karvan, Saved
East West 101, SBS1
Victorian Bushfires, Seven News
Code of Silence, Four Corners, ABC1
Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation, Ten
V8 Supercars: Supercheap Auto Bathurst, Seven
My Place, ABC3
Law And Disorder, SBS1

Matt Preston, MasterChef Australia

Brian Naylor