Saturday, 31 July 2010

1990: July 28-August 3

tvweek_280790 ‘There’s no point in denying it any longer.’
TV Week
Gold Logie winner Craig McLachlan has announced his engagement to former Neighbours colleague Rachel Friend.  “We are very, very happy.  It’s obvious we are in love.  There’s no point in denying it any longer,” he told TV Week.  The marriage will be the first for Friend but the second for McLachlan, whose marriage to first wife Karen Williams ended amicably over a year ago.  The newly-engaged couple (pictured) first met as cast members on Neighbours and when McLachlan left the show to join rival series Home And Away, Friend soon followed him to Sydney.

Steve sued over newsreader role
Jennifer Keyte
might be enjoying success as the newsreader on Seven’s Tonight Live With Steve Vizard, but it seems she was not their first choice for the part.  Virginia Haussegger, a reporter and producer for the Melbourne edition of The 7.30 Report, was approached several months before the show was to launch and performed the newsreading role in the show’s pilot episodes.  Haussegger quit The 7.30 Report but was informed just prior to Tonight Live’s debut in January that she would not be required for the show.  Consequently, Haussegger sued the Seven Network and Steve Vizard’s production company and has since settled out of court with the network for an undisclosed sum, while returning to The 7.30 Report.  “Seven, Vizard and I have had our differences but fortunately it’s all over.  This has been a lesson in the politics of commercial television,” she told TV Week.

mrsmarsh Ta-ta to tartar!
After fifteen years of “tuff teef” and dunking chalk into glasses of blue water, the character of “Mrs Marsh” is to be phased out of Colgate-Palmolives’ ad campaign for toothpaste.  But while the role of Mrs Marsh has been very good for actress Barbara Farrell (pictured), it was also limiting her ability to find work.  “It was inhibiting, because the face was so firmly identified with the product,” she told TV Week.  And while the Mrs Marsh character was initially formed as a carbon copy of a US concept, as the campaign continued she was allowed to develop her own persona and had softened a little after research showed that mothers thought she was a little too authoritarian.  But one person who was not always thrilled with the fame of Mrs Marsh’s was Farrell’s husband.  “He objects to being called Mr Marsh.  He’s not pleased with that at all!”  

Cameron Daddo
has joined the cast of ABC’s GP as doctor who makes a fatal error in prescribing drugs to a patient without knowledge of the side-effects, and the results are tragic.  The 25-year-old, who recently completed work on the Seven Network telemovie Bony, is also about to start work on the mini-series Golden Fiddles for the Nine Network.

adrianaxenides Also starring in Golden Fiddles is Wheel Of Fortune hostess Adriana Xenides (pictured) in her first major role away from the popular game show.  The $5.1 million mini-series, a Canadian-Australian co-production being made by the South Australian Film Corporation, also stars Rachel Friend, David Reyne and John Bach

The Seven Network this week debuts its two-part mini-series, Flair, tracing the lives of two sisters involved in the ruthless world of high fashion.  The $4.5 million mini-series stars Andrew Clarke, Gary Day, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Rowena Wallace, Elaine Smith, David Reyne, Imogen Annesley and US actress Heather Thomas.  Also starring in the series is Irish-born actor James Healey who grew up in Australia before working in London and the US, where he starred as Joan Collins’ lover in Dynasty.   Healey is now back in the US, starring in the daytime soap Santa Barbara.

John Laws says…
”Is it really possibly that a combination such I am going to describe can actually win enough ratings to maintain a slot in prime time?  Here’s that combination:  A veteran actor who sleepwalks through his leading role, scripts so lacking in credibility you could drive an express train through the holes, and a cast of support actors so wooden you could hammer a nail into them and not draw blood.  This is Nine’s (American) Matlock series.”

geraldinedoogue Program Highlights (July 28-August 3):
Sunday:  ABC
presents The Party’s Over, a 90-minute documentary in the Hindsight series presented by Geraldine Doogue (pictured), looking at the story of the Communist Party of Australia, an organisation that had as many as 100,000 members over its 70-year lifespan before it was quietly wound up after the fall of Eastern Europe.  Sunday night movies are Invasion USA (HSV7), Nuts (GTV9) and Emerald City (ATV10).


doubledareMonday: Neighbours stars Kristian Schmid and Amelia Frid (pictured) battle the blue slime in a celebrity edition of children’s game show Double Dare (ATV10).

Tuesday:  Cameron Daddo joins the cast of GP (ABC) in tonight’s episode, Playing It By The Book.

Wednesday/Thursday:  HSV7 screens the two-part mini-series, Flair, where Tessa Clarke (Heather Thomas) returns to Australia intent on establishing her own design empire.  However her plans are crushed when a former employer wins a court claim on her designs and she flees to the Gold Coast where she falls for a handsome nightclub owner who drags her into a seedy world.

Friday:  With Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Videos clocking up ratings for GTV9, HSV7 tonight digs out an episode of Graham Kennedy’s World Of Comedy.  ATV10 screens the 1985 Australian movie Cool Change, starring Jon Blake, Lisa Armytage and David Bradshaw.

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

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Remembering Seven’s Epping era

atn7_demolish The Sunrise team earlier this week posted a picture via their Twitter feed showing the demolition (“using Gladiator props as wrecking balls?”) of the Seven Network’s former studios in Sydney.

The studios, in the suburb of Epping, were barely completed when the ribbon across the Studio B doors was cut on ATN7’s opening night – 2 December 1956.  And the opening night almost didn’t happen at all as a massive thunderstorm hit Sydney earlier that day, blacking out many suburbs – including Epping.  Power was restored just in time to allow the studio cameras the required 45 minutes to warm up before airtime.  VIPs arrived at the complex in torrential rain and had to make their way across mud tracks to get to the building.

atn7_epping In its early years the Epping complex hosted many Australian television firsts – the first ‘tonight’ show, Sydney Tonight with Keith Walshe, the first breakfast news show, Today with Ray Taylor, the first current affairs show, Seven On 7, and the first soap operas, Autumn Affair and The Story Of Peter Grey.  ATN7 was the first TV station in Australia to install videotape equipment in the late 1950s.  The station also partnered with Melbourne’s GTV9 to complete the first ever transmission between Sydney and Melbourne via a series of microwave links.

mavis Other shows to have emanated from Epping include Revue ‘61, Startime, Sing Sing Sing (The Johnny O’Keefe Show), Beauty And The Beast, Captain Fortune, Pick-A-Box, The Mavis Bramston Show (pictured), My Name’s McGooley What’s Yours?, Great Temptation, Sydney Today, Eleven AM, The Naked Vicar Show, Kingswood Country, Romper Room, Sounds, Cartoon Connection, Saturday Morning Live, Sportsworld, Terry Willesee Tonight, Wheel Of Fortune, Hey Dad!, Real Life, Sunrise and The Main Event.

paulhogan Some of TVs most famous names have also spent time at Epping.  Roger Climpson was ATN7’s principal newsreader for many years and also hosted This Is Your Life and Australia’s Most WantedMike Willesee, Graham Kennedy, Clive Robertson, Rex Mossop, Paul Hogan (pictured), Norman Gunston (Garry McDonald), Peter Luck, Bill Collins, Maggie Tabberer, Jana Wendt and Andrew Denton have also worked at the Epping studios.  And of course the many actors and actresses that passed through the various dramas to have come from Epping – series including Jonah, Motel, Catwalk, Class Of ‘74, Glenview High, A Country Practice, Sons And Daughters, Rafferty’s Rules, Home And Away, All Saints and Packed To The Rafters.

atn7_redfern ATN7 has now moved to new facilities at the Australian Technology Park (pictured) in the Sydney suburb of Redfern – while news production facilities, including Sunrise, Seven News, Today Tonight and The Morning Show, are based at Martin Place in the Sydney CBD.

Source: Sunrise, Sydney Architecture, Forty Years Of Television: The Story Of ATN7.

Monday, 26 July 2010

MasterChef delivers a master win

masterchef When Network Ten announced in 2008 that it had purchased the MasterChef franchise to replace Big Brother as a major reality format, there were more than a few people that scoffed.  Who would want to watch a cooking competition in prime-time?  After all, the benchmark of cooking contests on Australian TV had been set with Ready Steady Cook – and it was well short of being a national phenomenon.

But Ten and the show’s producers, Fremantle Media, reworked MasterChef so that it bore little resemblance to its UK original.  When the show launched in Australia in April last year, it got off to a solid ratings start and as the series progressed it became a major player in the 7.00pm timeslot for Ten.  The show’s three judges, chefs George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan and food critic Matt Preston, went from being relative unknowns to instant celebrities – with Preston picking up a TV Week Logie for outstanding new talent earlier this year.

masterchef_julie_poh With the show’s popularity snowballing it was perhaps no real surprise that the season finale between Julie Goodwin and Poh Ling Yeow returned the highest ratings of any non-sporting telecast since OzTAM records began in 2001.  Winning the series led to Goodwin releasing a top-selling cookbook, Our Family Table, and appearing in a string of commercial endorsements as well as a regular segment on Today and a column in The Australian Women’s Weekly.  She has also about to launch a new show, Home Cooked, on the Nine Network.  Series runner-up Yeow also gained a high-profile role, hosting a weekly TV series, Poh’s Kitchen, on ABC1 and gaining a publishing deal with ABC Books.

So with the second series preparing to launch earlier this year, the rival Seven Network sought to rain on MasterChef’s parade and brought out their own cooking show – My Kitchen Rules, a so-called original format that was really just a mash-up of elements of MasterChef and a UK show, Come Dine With Me, added with the ‘State versus State’ component of its former My Restaurant Rules and pinching two celebrity chefs who had appeared as guests on MasterChef.

My Kitchen Rules never quite hit the same heights of MasterChef’s public support, but it didn’t do too badly, either, giving Seven some very good early evening ratings.  The problem is, though, that the show did little to spoil the public’s appetite for cooking shows and left them wanting more.

So when series two of MasterChef arrived earlier this year, it hit the ground running and immediately returned ratings that took some weeks to materialise in the first series. 

And, like the first series, the public’s fascination with all things MasterChef continued to grow as the series progressed, turning MasterChef into a confirmed $100 million product on the back of advertising, merchandise and cross-promotion activities.

Appearing six nights a week and hitting around two million viewers each night by the end of the series, Ten was looking at making history again with last weekend’s season finale.  So much had the show struck a chord with the general public that Sunday’s election debate between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had to be re-scheduled to avoid being unwatched up against the kitchen battle between South Australians Callum Hann and Adam Liaw.

masterchef_adamAnd, sure enough, history was made again.  When Liaw (pictured) was announced as the second series winner, an average of 5.2 million viewers (across five cities and major regional markets) were watching – a number that surpassed last year’s season finale and again ranked it as the most watched non-sports program since 2001.  The program, spread over two hours, gave Ten an overall share of 41.8 per cent of the Sunday night audience – well ahead of Seven (19.0%) and Nine (15.7%) – a figure that could secure Ten the entire week regardless of whatever results it receives over the rest of the week.

The public’s connection to MasterChef has ignited its fascination and knowledge of food – like Nine’s earlier series The Block sparked a passion for home renovation – and has resonated well with children, who will recite recipes that they saw on the show, and who will no doubt provide the perfect ratings springboard for when Junior MasterChef starts later in the year.

The immense popularity of MasterChef has again seen the Seven Network taking up more food-related formats in a bid to undermine the MasterChef phenomenon, or at least try to cash in on some of the show’s success.  As well as producing a second series of My Kitchen Rules the network has bought the format rights to produce a local version of the Japanese show Iron Chef (seen here on SBS1) and is also reported to be planning a local adaptation of Canadian series Conviction Kitchen.

In the meantime, here’s hoping that with the extra kilos that we might stack on thanks to the inspiration from MasterChef, that another series of The Biggest Loser will be around in the new year to inspire us to lose them!

Source:, TV Tonight

Saturday, 24 July 2010

1990: July 21-27

tvweek_210790 Hey Sister!
While 18-year-old Beth Buchanan prepares to move into TV’s most famous neighbourhood, her older sister, Simone, is looking forward to moving on from TV’s most famous Aussie family.  After more than five years in the role of Debbie Kelly, there are strong hints that Simone will not be renewing her contract with Hey Dad! beyond September.  And the younger Buchanan is now settling into her new role as Gemma Ramsay in Neighbours, although despite her youth she is already a veteran of the small screen – with stints in Hey Dad!, A Country Practice, Home And Away and the mini-series The Last Frontier.  And the two sisters (pictured) have inevitably copped comparisons to those other famous sisters, Kylie and Dannii Minogue.  “Please don’t compare us to them,” Simone tells TV Week.  “Everyone seems to be asking if we’re the next Kylie and Dannii – we’re not!”

leshill New kids on the beach
Home And Away is about to welcome two new foster children.  Karen and Blake Dean, played by Belinda Jarrett and Les Hill, come into Summer Bay as foster children to Alf and Ailsa Stewart (Ray Meagher and Judy Nunn) after the death of their mother from cancer.  “It’s a dream come true,” Jarrett told TV Week.  “I’m a huge Home And Away fan.  I usually wolf my dinner down so I don’t miss an episode.  It’s amazing to think I’m now a part of the all the goings-on taking place in Summer Bay.”  While Jarrett has had no prior television experience, Hill has had some appearances in the ABC medical drama GP.  “The thing I’m finding most daunting about working on Home And Away is the pace of the production,” he says.  “It’s fast but I’m enjoying the challenge.”

mauriefieldsvaljellay ‘In the morning we always wrap our arms around each other’
Val Jellay
talks about life after thirty years of marriage to Maurie Fields – a partnership that began in the days of vaudeville and later followed into television when the pair were a hit on the variety show Sunnyside Up, and they’ve rarely been out of work since – with both currently appearing as husband and wife in The Flying Doctors.  Despite the busy and demanding schedules that the industry can demand, the pair have rarely spent more than two days apart.  “We’ve never tired of each other,” Jellay tells TV Week.  “Maurie is easy to live with and has a placid nature.  When we’re doing a scene together, I can stare him in the eyes and the tears just come.  In the morning we always wrap our arms around each other, like it’s our first day.” 

Actor Kim Gyngell, best known as Col’n Carpenter, is set to shatter the image of the “lovable dag” with his role in the new movie, Heaven Tonight, in which he co-stars with John Waters, Rebecca Gilling and Guy Pearce.  Gyngell plays Baz Shultz, a former rock star whose life has been affected by drugs. 

bouncer Neighbours’ producers aren’t saying much, but it seems that the show is set to have its most celebrated wedding since Scott and Charlene (Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue), with ‘Bouncer’ and ‘Rosie’ set to become television’s first canine couple.

Half A World Away is a lavish mini-series being produced for ABC for airing next year.  The series is based on the 1934 Great Air Race, in which millionaire “Mac” Robinson put up a fortune in prize money for the fastest plane from London to Melbourne.  The series has an impressive cast including Caroline Goodall, Gosia Dobrowska, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Gary Day, Johnathan Hyde and American actors Barry Bostwick and Helen Slater.

John Laws says…
”Recent audience research figures suggest that comedy and games shows are continuing to win satisfying ratings for all networks.  I guess it’s a sign of our rather desperate financial times that viewers are more and more seeking light relief to escape the pain and problems of everyday life.  There are a number of highly successful shows around right now, and it’s pleasing that local comedies like Hey Dad! are attracting the sort of healthy ratings that make worth while all the effort that goes into them.”

Program Highlights (July 21-27):
Saturday:  ABC
presents highlights of the first day’s competition from the 1990 Goodwill Games, being held in Seattle, USA.  ABC will present an hour of highlights in the early evening on each day of competition as well as a further hour later in the night.

Sunday:  Sunday night movies are Overboard (HSV7) and Bull Durham (ATV10).  GTV9 presents the first of a two-part mini-series, Dress Gray, and ABC debuts mini-series Mussolini And I, featuring Bob Hoskins, Anthony Hopkins and Susan Sarandon.

Monday:  Mark Mitchell launches his new comedy series, The Big Time (ATV10), featuring his family in real-life situations while he dreams he is a late-night TV show host.

Tuesday: In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), reporter Amanda Keller visits the US where there has been some success with a vaccine used to treat a similar disease as AIDS.  ATV10 presents a one-hour special edition of Candid Camera On Australia with Tony Murphy.  This week’s GP episode, The Very Long Goodbye, tells the story of a patient with a brain tumour, told he has six months to live, going on a last wild binge – then discovers that the diagnosis was wrong.  The episode guest stars George Spartels.

nonihazlehurst_0001 Wednesday:  Noni Hazlehurst (pictured), Deidre Rubenstein and Tony Barry star in the documentary-drama Breaking Through (ABC), focusing on the real-life case of Cathy Ann Matthews and her frightening and painful childhood.  The physical, emotional and sexual abuse perpetrated by her father was so distressing that she shut it out of her conscious mind for over 40 years.  Hazlehurst also appears in the mini-series The Shiralee, starring Bryan Brown, Rebecca Smart, which begins a re-run on HSV7.

Thursday:  In E Street (ATV10), the wedding between Abby (Chelsea Brown) and Ernie (Vic Rooney) does not go off without a hitch.  Bob (Tony Martin) has a plan to patch things up with Elly (Penny Cook) once and for all.

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

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

ABC News 24 programming unveiled

abcnews24_0001 The initial program schedule for ABC’s news channel, ABC News 24, has been unveiled just a few days before the channel’s launch.

The new channel, broadcasting on high-definition channel 24, kicks off at 7.30pm AEST this Thursday. The launch special will air in simulcast with ABC1 at 7.30pm (local time).

The prime-time schedule for the first five days of ABC News 24 looks like this (all times in AEST):

Thursday 22:
ABC News 24 Launch: ABC News Special (repeated 12.05am Friday 23 June on ABC24), 8.30 The Drum. A spin-off from ABC’s news opinion website The Drum, 9pm The World. International news, 10pm ABC News, 10.30 Newsline With Jim Middleton (from the Australia Network), 11pm ABC News, 11.28 One Plus One

Friday 23:
ABC News, 6.05 The Drum, 6.45 The Quarters, 7pm ABC News, 7.32 One Plus One (rpt), 8pm ABC News, 8.32 Australian Story (rpt), 9pm The World, 10pm Four Corners (rpt), 10.46 Media Watch (rpt), 11pm ABC News, 11.30 Foreign Correspondent (rpt)

Saturday 24:
ABC News, 6.32 Australian Story (rpt), 7pm ABC News, 7.32 7.30 Select (rpt), 8pm Documentary: Terror In The Skies, 8.54 The 7.30 Report (rpt), 9pm The World,
9.32 Foreign Correspondent (rpt), 10pm ABC News, 10.32 Dynasties (rpt), 11pm ABC News, 11.32 Message Stick (rpt)

Sunday 25:
ABC News, 6.32 Foreign Correspondent (rpt), 7pm ABC News, 7.32 One Plus One (rpt), 8.02 Insiders (rpt), 9.02 The World, 9.33 Asia Pacific Focus (rpt), 10pm ABC News, 10.32 7.30 Select (rpt), 11pm ABC News, 11.32 Family Fortunes (rpt). (Note: The Sunday schedule is now likely to be affected by live coverage of the federal election debate, scheduled for 6.30pm)

Monday 26:
ABC News, 6.05 The Drum, 6.45 The Quarters, 7pm ABC News, 7.32 Catalyst (rpt), 8pm ABC News, 8.32 Lateline Business, 9pm The World, 10pm ABC News, 10.30 Newsline, 11pm ABC News, 11.28 The 7.30 Report (rpt)

Two-minute news updates either on the hour or on the half-hour feature throughout the day and evening.

abcnews24 Mornings will include ABC News Breakfast (simulcast with ABC2 in EST states) and overnights will include news and current affairs programming from BBC.

ABC News 24 will also include time-shifted schedules for regular ABC programs including Midday Report, Landline, Stateline, At The Movies, Talking Heads, Message Stick, Compass and Q&A.

More detailed program listings are online at Yahoo7 and YourTV, while complete guides for the first week of ABC News 24 can be downloaded from TV Tonight and What’s On The Tube.

Monday, 19 July 2010

1990: July 14-20

tvweek_140790 ‘By the time my son is a teenager I’ll be in a sewing circle’
A Current Affair host Jana Wendt (picture), mother of two-and-a-half-year-old Daniel, says that if he was to get a younger brother or sister then she would reconsider her role on television.  “I think two children is a very large number if you want to keep working,” she told TV Week.  And the ACA host admits it is quite a juggling act as TV’s first lady on camera, while being mum at home.  “I think my son is conducting a campaign to stop me reading newspapers, which could jeopardise my job!  That’s a struggle in the mornings – the struggle against listening to the radio, which you must do, and watching Here’s Humphrey.  Sometimes both happen at the same time, which leads to both of us being confused.  It works itself out.”  And while Daniel things it’s pretty cool recognising his mum on TV now, she is asked will he feel the same when he is a teenager.  “I don’t think that 13 years from now I’ll be in the business.  By the time he’s a teenager I will be in a sewing circle.  Yes, absolutely,” she says. 

janeturner Fast lane Jane!
When Jane Turner isn’t raising laughs on Fast Forward, she is juggling two other very different roles.  First, there is looking after her young son, Rupert – and then her other role is as the diplomat’s wife and the various official social engagements that come with that job.  Turner and her husband John Denton met at Melbourne University, courted in Russia, married in Melbourne, had an 18-month “honeymoon” in Canberra and then moved to Bangladesh, where Denton is deputy head of the Australian High Commission in Dacca.  The talented Turner came back to Melbourne to start on Fast Forward, and her husband will be following later in the year.  “He’s always very supportive and encouraging,” she told TV Week.  “We’re both so satisfied with our careers.  You have to take the opportunities when they come and play it by ear.  But it can be a drag.  We miss each other, but it’s always been this way.  One day we’ll compromise.”  When she isn’t working on Fast Forward, Turner joins her husband overseas to mix with the elite on the diplomatic cocktail circuit.  And after creating such Fast Forward characters such as the tongue-in-cheek Inga Harlot (pictured) and Doctor Van Noodle Rooter (“they’re loosely based on Scandinavians I met in Moscow.”), Turner is considering creating a Bangladeshi character.  “Let’s see how they react to that!,” she says.

tanialacymarklittle ‘We felt like we were selling out’
Countdown Revolution’s Tania Lacy has spoken out after she and co-host Mark Little were sacked from the show for being anarchic.  It’s a bizarre situation for the pair, considering it was for that particular quality they were hired to do the show in the first place.  Lacy, a familiar face from ABC’s The Factory, said there had been a lot of problems leading up to the taping of the episode where she and Little staged an on-air strike.  “It was a fight for our credibility,” she told TV Week.  “We regard ourselves as credible performers and that is the heart of the issue.  We were originally asked to present a revolutionary, comedic and anarchic pop program.  We really believed in that concept, but suddenly some very ugly factors came into it.  We felt like we were selling out, that we were puppets for the producers and record companies.  Mark and I were not employed to sell records.  We were also told to cool it with the clowning around and they also stopped us from saying what we believed in.  We felt so strongly about it we thought the audience should know how we’re feeling.”  The pair arrived for the Friday night taping carrying some quickly-made placards, reading ‘TV is a lie’ and ‘TV lip service’, which were handed out to audience members.  The pair were later notified of their dismissal by fax.  Actors Equity have taken up the case and Lacy and Little are hopeful they will be able to sit down with ABC management and deal with the issue face to face.  The show’s former producer, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, says that while he wasn’t involved in the show by this stage, he defended the broadcaster’s actions:  “Any performer knows you don’t air your grievances on camera.  And that no one performer is bigger than the show itself.  Any artist who abuses members of the production team in front of an audience, or tears up their script and refuses point blank to listen to the show’s director, or tries to encourage members of the audience or other performers to interfere with the production of the program – all over matters of either self-indulgence or ego – is definitely asking for trouble.”

The Flying Doctors star Alex Papps is set to kill his boy-next-door image with a role in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of This Old Man Comes Rolling Home.  “It’s a play about a family living in Redfern in the Fifties.  My character is one of the sons of the family who doesn’t work… he’s a real layabout.  He seduces a young English girl, so I get to play ‘Mr Bastard’ this time around.  He’s a lecherous type,” he told TV Week.

peterandre As a judge on Nine’s New Faces program, Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum was so impressed with the performance of 17-year-old Queenslander Peter Andre (pictured, centre, with Meldrum and host Daryl Somers) that he immediately signed him up to his record label, Melodian Records.  “Peter impressed us all and he has a unique voice that can be developed,” Meldrum told TV Week.

Darryl Cotton and Marty Monster found themselves unemployed when the Ten Network axed the long-running children’s program The Early Bird Show (which was known as Club 10 at the time of its axing).  But now the pair have a new profile as presenters of a Sunday morning radio show on Melbourne radio station TTFM.  “We’ve picked up the ratings by 200 per cent since we began three months ago.  It’s a radio version of The Early Bird Show and it’s great fun,” Cotton told TV Week.

John Laws says…
”The recent repeat screening of ABC’s Bush Tucker Man series, first shown in 1988, scored excellent ratings.  And no wonder.  It was just as engrossing the second time around as it was the first.  Which leads me to ask why is it taking so long for ABC to bring us a new series of the Bush Tucker Man?”

rowenawallace Program Highlights (July 14-20):
Sunday:  SBS
presents a new series of Anne’s International Kitchen, featuring Anne Luciano.  Rowena Wallace (pictured), Richard Moir and Justin Rozniak star in The Big Wish, the third in the More Winners children’s series on ABC.  GTV9 presents the debut of Unknown Australia, the five-part documentary series from Brisbane-based newsreader Dean Felton.  After a six-month hiatus, The Comedy Company returns to ATV10 with a new format and some new faces.  Sunday night movies are Without A Clue (HSV7) and Frantic (GTV9).  ATV10 debuts the two-part mini-series Murderers Among Us – The Simon Wiesenthal Story.   ABC’s Sunday Stereo Special is the Australian Ballet’s production of Spartacus, recorded in Melbourne with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Ormsby Wilkins.

bertnewton_1989 Monday:  Sale Of The Century (GTV9) presents the first in the week-long Celebrity Challenge, commemorating the show’s tenth anniversary.  Taking part in the challenge are high-profile contestants including Bert Newton (pictured), Andrew Gaze, Simon O’Donnell, Peta Toppano, Gough Whitlam, Lisa Curry, Cameron Daddo, George Negus and Jennifer Byrne.

Tuesday:  In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), Iain Finlay reveals a new technique for viewing 3D television without the need for special glasses, while Simon Reeve travels to Gothenburg, Sweden, to report on an electronic newspaper for the blind.  SBS launches a new weekly sports program, The Sports Machine, hosted by Les Murray and a team of reporters looking at the playing fields, dressing rooms and board rooms of sporting clubs around Australia.

Wednesday:  ABC’s Documentary Unit presents a controversial new film, The Devil You Know, examining the popular myth surrounding two drugs – heroin and alcohol.

Thursday:  ABC’s The First Australians series presents a documentary on Arnhem Land rock group Yothu Yindi on their tour of North America with Midnight Oil.

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

Sunday, 18 July 2010

1990: July 7-13

tvweek_070790 Cover: Sharyn Hodgson, Julian McMahon (Home And Away)

The Ten Network’s long-awaited return of The Comedy Company is about to hit screens as the ratings underdog up against Nine’s 60 Minutes.  “I don’t think it will be that hard to make up lost ground on 60 Minutes,” producer Ian McFadyen told TV Week.  The revamped comedy hour promises not to be “more of the same” according to McFadyen.  A number of new cast members have been added to the show – including Geoff Paine (Neighbours), Tracy Harvey (The Gillies Report), Melanie Salomon (E Street) and stage performers Alix Longman and Bernadette Robinson – alongside familiar names Maryanne Fahey, Peter Rowsthorn, Russell Gilbert and Mark Mitchell.  Meanwhile, Mitchell’s own comedy series, Larger Than Life, is to be replaced by a new series called The Big Time, featuring Mitchell and wife Di and sons Rhys and Lewis.

denisedrysdale_3 New doors open for ‘Ding Dong’
The Nine Network’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday celebrates its 20th anniversary next year but there is speculation that former co-host Jacki MacDonald, and not Denise Drysdale (pictured), will be there for the milestone.  “I heard a rumour that Jacki is coming back,” Drysdale told TV Week.  “If they asked me back, I’d be there, but that’s not up to me.  It’s in the laps of the gods.”  Meanwhile, Drysdale has hired Glenn Wheatley as her manager.  Wheatley has signed a two-year deal with Ronson Australia for Drysdale to promote its products in store appearances and television commercials.  She is also keen to pursue a dream role in a TV sitcom.  “I have a concept and I’m working with a scriptwriter now,” she says.  “We’ve written only bits and pieces so far but I’d like to see a pilot by the end of the year.”  Meanwhile, Drysdale has spoken out about the reported rift between her and Hey Hey It’s Saturday host Daryl Somers.  “Yes, it hurt and I think it’s detrimental to the show.  Even if it’s true, the viewing audience don’t want to know if there’s a problem.  I won’t speak out about it.  What can I say?  People make up their own minds.  I am loud.  Jacki wasn’t a loud person, so I think it was hard for everyone else.  I been lucky to be here a year.  I was lucky Jacki wanted to have a baby.  I would still have had In Melbourne Today (with Ernie Sigley) but I wouldn’t have had all these doors that have opened now.”

jenniferkeyte Jennifer Keyte’s a working girl!
The Seven Network’s Melbourne-based newsreader Jennifer Keyte (pictured) has admitted that reading the channel’s main 6.00pm news bulletin and appearing on the late-night show Tonight Live With Steve Vizard has taken its toll on her personal life.  “My only social time is on weekends,” she told TV Week.  “It’s the only opportunity I have to catch up with my friends.  By the time I get home after Tonight Live, take the make-up off and have a cup of Milo, I hit the sack very easily.”  But Keyte is not complaining about the long hours that both TV roles are demanding.  “I’m very happy with the way things are going.  When I started on Tonight Live, I made sure everyone was aware of my priority – the 6.00pm news.  With any news, credibility must be maintained and if that didn’t happen I’d have to reassess my involvement with the show.  But I think the two shows enhance each other.”

Actress Sarah Chadwick has made a sudden decision to leave the popular ABC drama GP.  “GP is my first big role since leaving NIDA,” she told TV Week.  “Consequently I’ve had little chance to do anything else.  I just feel that now, after a year, it’s time to move on.”  Chadwick’s character, Dr Catherine Mitchell, will be written out of the show but does leave the door open for her to return.  Meanwhile, Cameron Daddo has signed up for a brief ongoing role in the show.

Home And Away star Nana Coburn (the daughter of co-star Norman Coburn) has taped her last scenes for the show and is about to head off to Fiji to begin filming on a new international project, the sequel to the hit movie The Blue Lagoon.

Two of Australia’s best known actors, NeighboursAnne Charleston and The Flying DoctorsAndrew McFarlane, are among the stars to appear on stage in the Victorian Arts Centre’s production of Love Letters.  Also starring in the production are Terry Norris and wife Julia Blake, Lewis Fiander and Peta Toppano.

sbs_1985 John Laws says…
”Well, advertising has arrived on SBS, thanks to the World Cup.  And, no, the earth didn’t move.  The nation’s morals were not placed in peril.  Television standards were not lowered.  Of course not.  SBS’ initial foray into “corporate advertising” was very nicely done.  Nothing over the top and nothing that interfered with the station’s excellent coverage of the international soccerfest.”

Program Highlights (July 7-13):
  The final stages of the World Cup starting at 3.30am with the playoff for third and fourth place, live on SBS and ABC regionals.  HSV7’s Sunday afternoon AFL features Sydney Swans versus Carlton, and ATV10 crosses to Sydney for rugby league with the State Bank Big GameGary Sweet, Bruno Lawrence and Penne Hackforth-Jones star in Boy Soldiers, the second in the More Winners series of children’s dramas on ABC.  Sunday night movies are Under Siege (HSV7), Vibes (GTV9) and Back To The Future (ATV10).

Monday:  The final of the World Cup is telecast from 3.30am on SBS and ABC regionals, with SBS repeating the match at 7.00pm.  At 2.30pm, ATV10 starts a re-run of its popular 1980s drama Carson’s Law, set in Melbourne in the 1920s and starring Lorraine Bayly.  That night, ATV10 begins a re-run of the four-part mini-series, The Dirtwater Dynasty, starring Hugo Weaving.

Tuesday:  In A Country Practice (HSV7), Terence (Shane Porteous) operates on Lucy (Georgie Parker) and confirms her worst fears.  In GP (ABC), Dr Catherine Mitchell (Sarah Chadwick) faces the tragedy of losing her baby.

Thursday:  A bushfire breaks out in The Flying Doctors (GTV9), and Coopers Crossing is threatened.  Dr Ratcliffe (Brett Climo) and Dr Standish (Robert Grubb) find themselves battling the fire.

Friday:  Dennis Cometti, Sandy Roberts and Ross Glendinning head HSV7’s coverage of AFL, West Coast Eagles versus St Kilda, live from Subiaco.

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

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Game over for Wimbledon

wwos Nine’s Wide World Of Sports just got a little bit smaller with news today that the network plans to end its long-term association with the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Nine has cited falling viewer support for the event in recent years as the reason for the move and as a result has decided it would rather spend the $15 million in licensing and broadcasting the world’s premier tennis event each year on boosting its bid for the rights to cover AFL football when the current arrangement expires at the end of the 2011 season.

Nine’s bid for AFL is set to include more live coverage – something that the current incumbents Seven and Ten are less likely to do – and support for a high-profile Monday night fixture.

Wimbledon was first telecast in Australia on ABC in the late 1960s, with limited coverage of finals matches and highlights packages, at a time when satellite telecasts to Australia were still in their infancy. 

Nine’s broadcasting of Wimbledon dates back to 1977, forming part of Kerry Packer’s strategy of building up the network’s schedule with major television and sporting events.  Packer also used to head to Wimbledon where he had an elaborate marquee set up to wine and dine with friends and business partners.

The opportunity may exist for another network to pick up the Wimbledon rights.  The event would be a perfect fit for Ten’s sports channel, One HD, but the network may be reluctant to commit to any bid for the rights pending the review of the anti-siphoning legislation which currently prevents key sporting events being televised exclusively on digital television.

Source: Herald Sun
Picture: What’s On The Tube

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

ABC News 24 to launch 22 July

abcnews24 ABC has finally announced the launch date for its new 24-hour news channel, ABC News 24.

The new channel, broadcasting Australia-wide on digital channel 24, will launch at 7.30pm (AEST) on Thursday 22 July.

In an email to ABC staff, General Manager Mark Scott acknowledged the effort in getting the channel to air and looked forward to a new era in news broadcasting:

"It has been a remarkable effort to get us to this point and my thanks go to all concerned."

"We are keen to get on air and provide what I am sure will be outstanding coverage of the 2010 federal election campaign on News 24.”

"A 24/7 news channel is a significant challenge and doubtlessly we will face intense scrutiny from our competitors, but we are looking to make a strong start and to get better every day.

"I know our audiences are going to appreciate having the great work of ABC journalists in Australia and around the world available free of charge, at all times - on television, online and on mobile."

abcnews24_0001Launching the channel will be ABC News 24 Launch – ABC News Special which will be on ABC1 at 7.30pm and on ABC News 24 at the same time in the eastern states.  The channel will broadcast from new custom-built studios in the broadcaster’s Ultimo headquarters in Sydney.

ABC News 24 will be broadcast live across Australia, regardless of timezone and will be instantly available through all ABC digital TV transmitters which currently cover around 97.7 per cent of the Australian population. 

Viewers will need a high-definition digital TV or set-top-box to access the channel.  Those with existing digital TVs or tuners may need to complete a re-scan to pick up the new channel. 

The new channel will also be available on Foxtel channel 202, Austar channel 24 and will be streamed live from ABC News Online, ABC iView and also via an iPhone application.

ABC News 24 will also be facing some fierce opposition, both on and off screen.  Since the channel was first announced back in January, News Limited (who is a joint venture partner in Sky News Australia with the Seven and Nine networks) has criticised the national broadcaster and through its newspapers, such as The Australian, has questioned and attacked the ABC’s ability to provide a 24-hour news channel and its appropriateness in doing so as a taxpayer-funded venture.

ABC and Sky News Australia will also soon be competing for the Government’s multi-million dollar contract to operate the international television service, Australia Network, on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the next five years.  The network, which broadcasts to 44 countries, is currently being operated by ABC.  

Source: ABC, ABC News

Monday, 12 July 2010

Prime shuts down regional studios

primenews Prime Television, the regional Seven Network affiliate servicing New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and Western Australia, is reported to be closing down two of its studio facilities as it faces the cost of digital conversion.

The Australian reports that Prime is set to close down its studios in the NSW towns of Orange and Wagga Wagga and will move ahead with plans to centralise local news production for those towns in Canberra.

The Orange-based station is the former base of regional station CBN8 which commenced operation in 1962 as one of the first regional stations in New South Wales.  The Wagga Wagga studio is the former regional station RVN2 which began broadcasting in 1964.

Both CBN8 and RVN2 were incorporated into the Prime Television network in the 1980s in the lead-up to the process of aggregation, the process used to expand choice to regional viewers in the eastern states.

Prime’s Tamworth studios, the former local station NEN9, is also said to be shutting down.

Prime will maintain some news staff in the affected towns but the stories will be compiled and half-hour news bulletins produced from Canberra.

TV Tonight reports that Prime’s Albury studios, the base of its Victorian network, has been upgraded to digital at a cost of less than $100,000.  Prime’s Albury studios currently produce a half-hour bulletin for the Albury-Wodonga region, while producing only brief news updates for other regions across the state.

It is unknown if Prime intends to make any changes to its production structure for its Western Australian operation, GWN, which covers the entire state outside of Perth from studios in Bunbury.

The move by Prime in NSW represents the continuing decline in regional television production since the advent of aggregation and the national conversion to digital transmission – but Prime are not alone in centralising regional production.  Prime’s main competitor, WIN, has centralised local production to one or two sites in each of the eastern states, and Southern Cross Ten operates a central production facility in Canberra for its regional network that spans the eastern seaboard from Cairns to Warrnambool.

Regional networks such as Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Ten do face significant costs in upgrading studio and transmission facilities to digital to cover smaller audiences over much wider areas when compared to capital city networks – and it does appear that not much of the $250 million licence fee rebate handed out by the Government to the commercial TV sector has made its way to the regional operators.

The pressure is also on regional networks to complete the transition to digital infrastructure as regional areas will lead the shutdown of analogue services as it progresses around Australia. 

Source: The Australian, TV Tonight

Sunday, 11 July 2010

1990: June 30-July 6

tvweek_300690 Cover: Warren Beatty, Madonna (Dick Tracy)

Cancer scare!
A Country Practice star Georgie Parker is set to tackle her toughest storyline to date with upcoming episodes featuring a dramatic cancer scare for her character Lucy Gardiner.  The scare prompts Lucy to call off her planned wedding to Matt Tyler (John Tarrant) and she plans to leave Wandin Valley to go home to her mother.  “She’s an absolute mess of emotions,” Parker told TV Week.  “It was actually very hard because I’m a very logical person and I couldn’t understand this totally illogical behaviour.”


Knock the rock!
ginarileyWhen Fast Forward’s Gina Riley heard Sinead O’Connor’s ballad Nothing Compares 2 U, she loved it.  But that didn’t stop her sending up the bald singer in a Fast Forward skit (pictured).  Since joining the cast of the Seven Network comedy series, Riley has performed parodies of other pop stars including Dannii Minogue, Madonna, Paula Abdul and Stevie Nicks.  “The great thing about rock ‘n roll is that everyone takes themselves so seriously, so it is perfect to send up,” Riley told TV Week.  “The sketches are not meant to be offensive.  I love most of the songs I do.”  Riley attributes the success of her sketches to the excellent work of make-up artist Barb Cousins.  So confident of Cousin’s abilities, Riley is thinking of taking off a male performer – although she did once attempt to do John Farnham’s You’re The Voice.  “And boy, they hated it,” she said.  “It was a bit like ‘you leave him alone!’.  People enjoy it if you sound a bit like the original song but, if not, it just sounds like you’re being bitchy.  It is hard to get that male timbre into your voice, but I’m sure it will come along soon.”

judynunn_0001 Murder at the Logies
Home And Away star Judy Nunn (pictured) has been busy during her spare moments on the set of the Seven Network series.  For the past year she has been working on what she hopes will be a best-selling novel and, possibly, a mini-series.  Having already written four children’s novels, The Glitter Game is Nunn’s first attempt at writing adult literature and promises all the ingredients of a best-seller.  “Sex, murder and intrigue – The Glitter Game has got it all,” Nunn tells TV Week.  The novel is a behind-the-scenes look at the Australian television industry, with the fast-paced story culminating in a murder at the TV Week Logie Awards.  But Nunn stresses that the story is entirely fiction.  “It’s inevitable people are going to want to play guessing games – but the novel is all tongue-in-cheek,” she says.  It is not the first time the actress has tackled the television industry – viewers will recall Nunn played the role of a bisexual reporter in the 1970s drama The Box, a series based on the workings of a television station. 

rowenawallace Briefly…
Rowena Wallace
(pictured), Rebecca Smart, Gary Sweet, Robert Grubb, Bruno Lawrence, Maggie Dence and Penne Hackforth-Jones are just some of the famous stars to feature in More Winners, a series of children’s dramas about to appear on ABC as a follow-up from the original Winners series (screened on Network Ten).

Former Wombat host Jill Ray and her husband Michael Black have announced the birth of their first child, Joel, born in Brisbane last month.  Ray, a TV Week Logie Award winner in Queensland, has left the Seven Network for motherhood although she will be continuing her role as co-host on the breakfast show on Brisbane radio station 4KQ.

A Current Affair reporter Martin King has a reputation of being the hard-nosed “foot in the door” reporter, but he says that having presented more than 300 stories for ACA and its predecessor, Willesee, only about 15 to 20 have been walk-ins.  “But they’re the ones people remember most,” he says.

johnlaws John Laws says…
”It’s easy to despair of Network Ten.  Bereft of much ratings-winning material and languishing behind Nine and Seven in the ratings, it at least has a surefire attention-grabber with its rugby league telecasts.  But what happens?  Ten botches it.  When the season began, Ten’s Friday Night League was live at 7.30pm, which should have been great.  The preponderance of commercial breaks – often at crucial moments during a game – led to complaints from viewers.  Lots of them.  Ten’s reaction was to halt the live coverage and switch to a delayed telecast at 8.30pm, a cure considered by most keen football fans as worse than the original disease.  As I see it, the only reason for switching to 8.30pm, and robbing viewers of the “as it happens” excitement, is to enable Ten to more easily slot in as many ads as they can.  Sure, Ten has to get in its commercials.  That’s what free enterprise TV is all about.  But all they needed to do was do it properly.”

Program Highlights (June 30-July 6):
Saturday:  SBS
(and ABC regionals) present coverage overnight of the quarter finals in the World Cup, live from Italy.

Sunday:  ABC presents the debut of More Winners, a series of children’s dramas .  The first instalment, His Master’s Ghost, stars Jonathan Hardy, Simon Grey, Erica Kennedy, Cathy Godbold and Scott Major.  Sunday night movies are Witness (HSV7), Little Nikita (GTV9) and Thief (ATV10).  There are two more World Cup quarter finals live on SBS (and ABC regionals) after midnight.

Monday:  GTV9 starts its second week of coverage of tennis from Wimbledon, with coverage starting at 10.35pm and continuing to 4.30am each night.

Tuesday:  ABC presents The Big Gig Rejigged, a highlights package of comedy series The Big Gig with Wendy Harmer.

Wednesday/Thursday:  SBS (and ABC regionals) present early-morning coverage of the World Cup semi-finals at 3.30am on both days.  SBS also supplements its World Cup coverage during the week with prime-time screenings of the films documenting the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups.

 Friday:  HSV7’s Friday night AFL features Richmond versus the Brisbane Bears.

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

Thursday, 8 July 2010

ABC previews News 24

abc_2001 The launch of ABC’s long-awaited 24-hour news channel, ABC News 24, is getting closer.

While no official announcement of a launch date has been made by ABC, earlier this week MediaSpy reported that an ABC insider had advised that the channel could be on the air as early as this Wednesday or next.  The channel’s launch, originally rumoured for early July, was said to have been postponed after concerns were raised over the broadcaster’s reporting of the recent political leadership challenge.

The coverage of the political upheaval highlighted some of the technical hitches in ABC’s transition to a new centralised playout facility, MediaHub, being set up as a joint venture between ABC and regional network WIN and which will co-ordinate the on-air presentation for the channels of both broadcasters, including ABC News 24.

Meanwhile, a preview of the new channel is now online on ABC’s YouTube channel and is now being rolled out across Australia on digital channel 24, the future home of ABC News 24.

ABC News 24 will feature a mix of live, continuous news reporting plus exclusive programming and time-shifted news and current affairs programming from ABC’s existing channels.

Some of the presenters to appear on ABC News 24 include ABC newsreaders Juanita Phillips and Jeremy Fernandez, 7.30 Report political editor Chris Uhlmann, ABC News Breakfast co-hosts Virginia Trioli and Joe O’Brien, former foreign correspondents Scott Bevan and Jane Hutcheon and Lateline Business host Ali Moore.  The channel will draw on the resources of 800 journalists based in over 60 locations throughout Australia and from a dozen international bureaux.

The channel will be based in a new purpose-built studio inside ABC’s Ultimo headquarters in Sydney.

Source: ABC News 24, Media Watch

Monday, 5 July 2010

1990: June 23-29

tvweek_230690 Together again!
Home And Away star Nicolle Dickson is to be reunited with her former on-air partner Alex Papps on the English stage.  Papps, now starring in The Flying Doctors, and Dickson, who has just married fiance James Bell (pictured, with Dickson and Papps), will co-star in the production of Cinderella to be staged at the De Montford Theatre, Leicester, over the Christmas break.

‘The Hurricane’ roars back in!
The “Burrigan Hurricane” is on her way back into Wandin Valley!  Matron Hilda Arrowsmith (June Salter) is returning to the popular A Country Practice.  “Yes, she’s about to wreak havoc once again!” says Salter.  “Once every 12 months I get called in to upset the applecart and try and lure someone away from Wandin Valley to join me at Burrigan Hospital.  The victims this time are the new matron, Ann Brennan (Mary Regan) and Dr Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous).”  And with the doctor bedridden due an injured foot, he is an easy target for the fiery matron who also has a keen eye for him.  Dr Elliott decides that as he wants to get information from her, he gives the impression that he feels the same way about her.  The scenes between the two were said to have the crew roaring with laughter. 

bertnewton_1989 Bert’s back… on Sale!
After a five-year absence, Bert Newton (pictured) is returning to the Nine Network as a guest contestant on Sale Of The Century as part of the show’s tenth anniversary.  The week-long Celebrity Challenge will also feature celebrities, politicians and sports stars including Cameron Daddo, Peta Toppano, George Negus, Lisa Curry-Kenny, Simon O’Donnell, Andrew Gaze, Gough Whitlam and Don Chipp.  “We’ve been talking about doing a ‘celebrity Sale’ since 1981 so it’s very exciting to see it happen,” host Tony Barber told TV Week

Steve Vizard
is planning to send his Tonight Live show on a trip to the UK, with a week of shows to be hosted from London in September.  Vizard is keen to have the show “travel” from its Melbourne base more often, with more regular trips to Sydney in the pipeline.

Wheel Of Fortune host John Burgess has said there is pain behind his on-screen smiles, due to arthritis and injuries caused by a tennis career as a teenager.  “I’ve had problems for a few years,” he tells TV Week.  “It’s a legacy of playing tennis seven days a week for 12 hours from when I was nine to 19.”  And while flying his weekly commute from Perth to Adelaide does his injuries no help at all, he insists that the show must go on and the show’s popularity helps numb the pain.  “The show has been number one for the past two years,” he says.

The Sunday night ratings battle steps up a notch this week with the series return of ABC’s That’s Dancin’.  Due to its popularity last year the series has been extended this year from 13 to 21 episodes and there are plans to expand the format with a book and video to be launched.  There are also negotiations with a US network to create a local version there.

John Laws says…
Kerry O’Brien’s Lateline on ABC has, after several months on-air, moulded itself into a slick, intelligent piece of late-night current affairs viewing.  It has, though, a couple of major problems.  Probably the most important is that it will never achieve any significant ratings.  Why?  Because it is pitched up against two heavyweight contenders on the rival commercials channels of Seven and Nine.  So it’s a tough task for Kerry O’Brien to weight in against Steve Vizard (Seven) and Clive Robertson (Nine) and attract any sizeable ratings for ABC.”

Program Highlights (June 23-29):
Saturday:  HSV7
crosses to Brisbane for AFL between Brisbane Bears and Essendon.  ABC’s late night movie is the acclaimed Citizen Kane.

thatsdancin Sunday:  ABC presents the series return of That’s Dancin’, hosted by Paul Newman and Maureen Delacy with guest judge Rhonda Burchmore, as competitors aim for the title of 1990 Australian Television Dance Champions.  Sunday night movies are The Color Purple (GTV9) and Eyewitness (ATV10).  HSV7 presents the debut of mini-series From The Dead Of Night.  HSV7 then ends the night with an 80-minute special, Classic Hits, in simulcast with Melbourne’s new FM station, TTFM 101.1, which had launched the night before.

Monday:  GTV9 starts its annual two weeks’ coverage of Wimbledon, starting each night at 10.30pm and continuing through to 4.30am.

Tuesday:  HSV7 crosses to the WACA for the live telecast of AFL State Of Origin between WA and Victoria.  Sandy Roberts, Dennis Cometti and Bernie Quinlan head the coverage. 

Thursday:  In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), Andrew Carroll looks at a possible solution to save the Leaning Tower of Pisa from falling over.

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

Sunday, 4 July 2010

1990: June 16-22

tvweek_160690 Cover: Josephine Mitchell, Craig McLachlan (Home And Away)

Wog out of work!
The Seven Network’s hit comedy Acropolis Now is now entering production of its third series but it will be without one of its key cast members.  Simon Palomares, who plays Ricky, has decided not to appear in the third series and will focus on a behind the scenes role.  “I think it got to the point where there were a few reasons for leaving,” he told TV Week.  “The main reason is that I’ve been doing ethnic humour longer than any of the three of us.  I think I’ve said as much as I can say on the subject.  There are a lot of other issues I want to get into.”  Palomares is preparing a pilot for a new comedy-adventure series and is planning a one-man show to go on stage later in the year.

rebeccagibney Rebecca careers on
Actress Rebecca Gibney hasn’t looked back since she left the Nine Network’s The Flying Doctors last year.  As soon as she left the show, Gibney took on the role of Guinea (pictured) in ABC’s Come In Spinner and has just completed a new mini-series, Ring Of Scorpio, for Nine.  She is now about to start in a new sitcom for Nine.  Rhythm And Blues will feature Gibney alongside Jon English, whose character is a ‘60s rock star who hasn’t come to terms with the ‘90s.  “I’ve never done comedy before,” she told TV Week.  “When I shot the pilot I was terrified because I’d never worked in front of a live audience before.  That was very daunting.”  The new series is set to debut later in the year.

andrewdaddo New York, here I come!
Andrew Daddo
(pictured), former co-host of ABC’s The Factory, has landed a job with the US cable network, MTV.  Daddo caught the eye of MTV producers when the network screened an episode of The Factory, as part of the channel’s regular screenings of music shows from around the world.  “They do it to borrow ideas, which is the norm, and apparently someone walked past and my fat head caught in their eye.  They rang MTV in Sydney to find my agent’s number and asked me to send over a showreel.  A week later I was on a plane to New York,” he told TV Week.  The plum job is a far cry from Daddo being overlooked as a host for ABC’s new Countdown Revolution when it was formed last year, instead he was offered only a minor role on the new show which he left after only six weeks on-air.  “I have no bad feelings for ABC.  It was just one of those things.  In fact, seeing what Countdown is now, maybe they did me a favour,” he says.

Actress Katy Brinson (pictured) played a barrister in the Seven Network’s Rafferty’s Rules.  Now she is taking on a far different role in Seven’s new series Skirts, playing the role of an alcoholic writer who beats her daughter. 

Former Neighbours star Rachel Friend is to star in a comedy pilot being made for Network Ten.  The new series, Lipstick Dreams, is based on a theatre production that recently had a successful run in Sydney and features four women who work on a beauty parlour in a country town.

Neighbours star Linda Hartley, who is about to tape her final scenes for the Network Ten series, is shortly heading off to the UK to star in the touring stage production of Prisoner and has also scored a pantomime role in the UK.  She will appear in the production of Mother Goose, joining former Neighbours castmate Kristian Schmid.

letsdolunch John Laws says…
”If the legendary Monty Python team were still around today they could find plenty of material to ridicule in the ABC’s new series Let’s Do Lunch.  My own impression was that the whole idea for the program had been dreamed up at a long, boozy lunch.  Usually, in the sober light of the following morning, such alcohol-inspired ideas are seen for exactly what they are.  Not, apparently, in the case of Let’s Do Lunch.  Whatever its origins, its entire theme is predicated around two people gorging themselves with food and booze, at lunch.  Along the way, we are treated to the self-indulgence of ths host, Maurice Murphy (pictured), who roams around clutching a video camera taking pictures of himself.  At which, I suppose, we are all supposed to laugh uproariously.”

Program Highlights (June 16-22):
World Cup:  SBS
continues its daily coverage of the FIFA World Cup from Italy, with live coverage of matches screened overnight and replays the following afternoon, followed by a 90-minute highlights package at 7.00pm.  ABC takes on SBS’ overnight match coverage for regional viewers who don’t have access to SBS and also presents a nightly one-hour highlights package on all ABC stations.

Saturday:  Legal drama Rafferty’s Rules returns with new episodes screening on HSV7.

Sunday:  In the lead up to the return of dance competition That’s Dancin’, ABC screens a replay of the 1989 series grand final, presented by Paul Newman and Maureen Delacy.  Sunday night movies are In The Line Of Duty: The FBI Murders (HSV7) and For Love Alone (ATV10).  GTV9 screens the first part of mini-series Passion And Paradise, with the second and final part screening the following night.

Tuesday:  In ABC’s medical drama GP, Cathy (Sarah Chadwick) finds out she is pregnant but her relationship with Jack (John O’Hare) hits rocky ground when his initial reaction to the news is less than enthusiastic.

Thursday: In The Flying Doctors (GTV9), a troubled young man finally his past to rest when a seven-year-old car wreck is found, and the mystery of his parents’ disappearance is solved. 

Friday:  In Neighbours (ATV10), Paul (Stefan Dennis) is shocked to discover the identity of Caroline’s (Gillian Blakeney) mystery date.

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