Thursday, 30 September 2010

1990: September 29-October 5

tvweek_290990 ‘It’s a dream come true!’
Home And Away star Craig McLachlan (pictured) was hoping that his reduced profile on the series would make it easier to fit time in for his music career – but now it looks like the TV Week Gold Logie winner is going to be busier than ever.  The Seven Network is believed it be wanting McLachlan for an upcoming mini-series, The Battler, plus there are plans for a role in an upcoming movie, with the working title of Light Of Day, which producers hope can also secure the services of Mel Gibson.  “It’s a period piece, set at the turn of the century,” McLachlan told TV Week.  “Ever since I was a little guy film has always been the ultimate thing to aspire to.  It’s a dream come true.”

johnmangos The challenge is on!
Following his recent resignation from the Nine Network, former Coast To Coast co-host John Mangos (pictured) is believed to have been offered a role at the Ten Network to front a weekly current affairs program with former 60 Minutes reporter Ian Leslie.  The new show, which could slot in against 60 Minutes, comes after Leslie was forced to step aside from reading Ten’s Sydney evening news after poor ratings and a recurring throat virus.  He has also suffered a setback when the documentary unit he headed at Ten was wound up as a cost-cutting measure – plus he had suffered personal trauma with the death of his mother.  Mangos, a veteran of 14 years at the Nine Network, suddenly found himself being a “personality without a profile” after the axing of Coast To Coast and with no other network projects in the pipeline.  The last straw came when the former US correspondent for the Nine Network was asked to co-host the weekly NSW Lotto draw.

anthonyackroyd The year of living drearily!
Comedian Anthony Ackroyd, currently appearing in ABC’s The Big Gig, has spoken to TV Week about his early, and short-lived, career as a public servant in his home state of Tasmania.  “All the world’s biggest losers were there.  I’d have these half-hour toilet breaks just so I could get away from it all and read a good magazine.  They must have thought I was constantly constipated.  After exactly one year I went straight back to social security!”  Ackroyd is finding The Big Gig to be somewhat more rewarding with his two characters, Addam the advertising executive (pictured) and Shakespeare. “Addam’s the coke-snorting ad-head with the deep voice who considers himself a creative genius,” he told TV Week.  And the Shakespeare character is proving to be popular with female viewers.  “I did a lot of Shakespeare theatre and it’s nice to be putting that codpiece on again.  The girls go crazy over it… I suppose the sight of those pert buttocks is just too much for them,” he says.

Derryn Hinch
, who recently celebrated the 700th edition of Hinch At Seven, has decided to commit to the Seven Network for another two years.  Seven, he says, is the network at which he started and will end his television career.  Meanwhile, while he concedes that Sale Of The Century’s recent 10th anniversary specials gave his show a battering, he is pleased to see that another rival, Network Ten’s Neighbours, is showing signs of fading popularity.

richardhugget E Street star Richard Huggett (pictured) has had to draw on past real-life experience to help him play the part of bad boy Sonny Bennett.  “I never actually did anything bad,” he tells TV Week.  “I was arrested a couple of times for drunk and disorderly.”  On one occasion he ended up in a padded cell.  “They wanted my fingerprints and I wouldn’t give them.  I kept telling them that I hadn’t done anything wrong, so they couldn’t arrest me.   I was climbing up on the bars and acting like a monkey.  Anyway they didn’t like it, so they put me in a padded cell with one window.”

Former Home And Away star Nina Coburn has filmed a guest role in the Seven Network’s Hey Dad! – and it is expected that producers have bigger plans for the actress as a potential replacement for cast member Simone Buchanan who has filmed her last episode for the series.

grahamkennedy_4 John Laws says…
”When, in a few months, we count up the TV successes of 1990, one name will – once again – stand out: Graham Kennedy (pictured).  Graham’s return to TV in recent years has seen him perform a succession of ratings miracles.  He gave Clive Robertson a start and a thorough beating with his late-night news and giggle show on Nine, and when that ended, because he didn’t want to be involved any longer, he switched to his latest ratings-puller, Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Video Show.  It’s now one of Australia’s most popular programs – and I’m convinced that it’s the personal appeal of Graham Kennedy which has enabled it to command such a dominant position.”

Program Highlights (September 29-October 5):
Saturday:  HSV7
presents the last Saturday night AFL replay of the season with the Preliminary Final.  The finals schedule was forced to be extended a week due to an earlier drawn game, pushing the Grand Final to a rare October appearance.

Sunday:  HSV7 crosses to Mount Panorama, Bathurst, for the Tooheys 1000 – featuring 55 drivers from seven countries.  The telecast starts at 8am and continues through to Seven Nightly News at 6pm.  ABC presents live coverage of the VFA Grand Final in the afternoon.  Sunday night movies are The Living Daylights (HSV7), Arthur 2: On The Rocks (GTV9), Big (ATV10).

Monday:  ATV10 presents late-night coverage of the Uncle Toby’s Australian Indoor Tennis Championships, from the Sydney Entertainment Centre.  Late-night coverage continues each night to Thursday as well as two-hour coverage on Tuesday to Friday afternoon.

Tuesday:  A special edition of Beyond 2000 (HSV7) looks at the increasingly important role of science in sport, examining the pursuit of optimum human performance.  Olivia Hamnett guest stars in ABC’s GP.

Wednesday:  David Franklin, Leone Carmen and Adrian Lee guest star in The Flying Doctors (GTV9).

Friday:  ATV10 presents live prime-time coverage of the final night’s play of the Uncle Toby’s Australian Indoor Tennis Championships.  And on the eve of the 1990 AFL Grand Final, Drew Morphett hosts HSV7’s annual Football Marathon, starting at midnight and running through to 8am Saturday morning, featuring the Grand Finals of 1966, 1967, 1972, 1977 and 1989 as well as the greatest marks and goals from the past 25 years.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  29 September 1990.  Southdown Press.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Regional Victoria to go digital by May 2011

regionalvictoria The conversion of analogue to digital television continues with the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy announcing that all analogue television services in regional Victoria will be switched off by 5 May 2011.

The switch-off will affect local transmissions of ABC, SBS, Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Ten in the regional markets of Ballarat/Western Victoria, Bendigo/Central Victoria, Shepparton/Goulburn Valley, Gippsland/La Trobe Valley and Albury/Upper Murray.  The Mildura/Sunraysia region has already made the transition to digital-only transmission.

In the latest Digital Tracker survey, covering the period April to June this year, approximately 76 per cent of households in the regional Victoria market (excluding Mildura) have converted to digital and 95 per cent of households are aware of the pending switchover from analogue.

In converting transmission infrastructure to digital-only transmission, some smaller transmission sites, including Bonnie Doon and Howqua, will be switching off analogue services later this year, while the areas of Hopetoun, Lorne, Jeeralang/Yinnar South and Boolarra will switch off analogue in February 2011.

Households that will not be able to receive digital television via normal terrestrial transmission, or currently rely on self-funded analogue transmission facilities that will not be converting to digital, will be eligible for access to the satellite-based VAST service, providing access to programming from all networks including the new digital multi-channels.  VAST will also include a local news channel.

Households who need to switch to VAST may be eligible for government subsidies, and those on pensions, carers payments or other forms of income support may also qualify for assistance in converting to digital TV through the Household Assistance Scheme.

Regional Victoria is the third market in Australia scheduled for analogue switch-off, following from Mildura/Sunraysia in June this year, and Regional South Australia, scheduled for 15 December.

The Melbourne metropolitan area will lose analogue transmission by the end of 2013.

Information on the digital TV transition, including details on how to access the Satellite Subsidy Scheme or Household Assistance Scheme, can be found at the Digital Ready website or telephone the Digital Switchover Taskforce on 1800201013.

Source: DBCDE, Regional TV Marketing

1990: September 22-28

tvweek_220990 Cover: Tom Cruise

On the brink of madness!
In a chilling coincidence, actor Terry Serio was discussing with TV Week his latest role as a would-be mass murderer in GP just hours after five people were shot dead at a block of flats near TV Week’s Sydney offices.  “It doesn’t take much to push a person over the edge,” Serio told TV Week.  In GP, Serio plays the role of Jesse Watts, a man whose business has collapsed in the recession and is driving taxis just to make ends meet.  His moods get progressively worse.  He has a gun and has thoughts of using it.   He blames his problems on his wife (played by Saskia Post) who turns to Dr Robert Sharp (John McTernan) for help.

Emergency call to Matron
A Country Practice creator and producer James Davern has been having secret talks with former cast member Joan Sydney to try and lure her back into the series.  The talks were sparked by news that cast member Mary Regan, who replaced Sydney as the town’s hospital matron, is planning to leave the series.  But a spokesperson for the Seven Network said that talks were taking place but that Sydney has decided not to come back to the show.  “She wants to stick to theatre and film roles,” the spokesperson said.  Sydney’s most recent role was in the Melbourne Theatre Company production of This Old Man Comes Rolling Home, co-starring with Alex Papps, Roger Oakley, Anne Phelan and Beverly Phillips.

celebritywheeloffortune What a night… if only I could remember!
It should have been a day that he would never forget, but for Wheel Of Fortune host John Burgess it became a day he can hardly remember.  Just days before heading to Adelaide to tape the first four Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune shows, Burgess injured an ankle playing tennis, leading to an infection which, if left untreated, could have led to septicaemia.  Defying doctor’s orders, Burgess (pictured, with contestants Lorrae Desmond, David Hookes and Jeanne Little with hostess Adriana Xenides) flew from Perth to Adelaide to attend the taping but was so “spaced out” on medication that he barely remembers anything that happened while taping those four shows.  “So how I got there, I don’t know and how i did those television shows, I don’t know.  It must have been pure adrenalin.  I don’t remember a thing about the first show and very little about the second,” he told TV Week.  At least the pain of the injury was eased slightly by the news that Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune and its Saturday night partner, Celebrity Family Feud, have debuted to hit ratings, winning the battle against Hey Hey It’s Saturday in Sydney and Brisbane, and coming a close second in Melbourne.  But Celebrity Family Feud host Rob Brough is staying cautious.  “Hey Hey has been around a long time and we have only been a success for one night.  We can’t be compared to them yet,” he told TV Week.

estreet_0002 Two new characters have moved into Network Ten’s E Street.  Zac Spencer (Daniel Knight) and his sister Nikki (Melissa Tkautz) are dumped by their mother and left in the care of George and Martha Sullivan (Les Dayman and Cecily Polson) and are a couple of kids you’d never want to encounter.  “Nikki is everything I don’t want to be,” says Tkautz. “She smokes and she’s really the sort of girl most parents would be horrified to have their daughters associating with.”

Actor Marcus Graham is in line for a role in the new mini-series Tracks Of Glory, being produced by Perth-based Barron Films, which follows the story of black American world champion cyclist Major Taylor who comes to Australia at the turn of the century to revive national interest in the sport.

lochiedaddo Another Daddo is about to make his mark on television.  Lochie Daddo, 20, (pictured) has been hosting ABC’s Countdown Revolution for the past few weeks, following the abrupt departure of hosts Mark Little and Tania Lacy, and is tipped to win the job permanently.

John Laws says…
”The decision-makers at the ABC are becoming a little difficult to follow these days.  There seems to be a kind of uninspired confusion within the corridors of power about what exactly is going to happen to certain high-profile programs.  Or maybe it’s cleverly planned confusion.  For instance, is children’s educational TV really going to be axed, as suggested some weeks ago… or was that shock announcement a piece of sly politicking aimed solely at loosening the Federal Government’s purse strings?  Were we really to believe that the ABC’s weekend news bulletins would be nationalised, as suggested in one announcement?  Yes we were – but then we weren’t, because the “decision” was merely broadcast to gauge the reaction and the idea was hastily dumped when the anger of viewers in regional centres became apparent.”

Program Highlights (September 22-28):
Saturday:  HSV7
crosses to White City, Sydney for the semi-finals of the Davis Cup tennis between Australia and Argentina. 

Sunday:  ATV10 crosses to Sydney Football Stadium for the State Bank Big Game – Winfield Cup Grand Final.  After Ten Evening News with Mal Walden, Ted Egan presents ATV10’s new documentary series, This Land Australia, with the first episode featuring the grape-growers and wine-makers of Hahndorf and the Barossa Valley in South Australia.  Sunday night movies are Cocktail (HSV7), Short Circuit II (GTV9) and Avenging Force (ATV10).

Monday: Football’s “night of nights” as HSV7 presents live coverage of the Brownlow Medal count from Southern Cross Hotel in Melbourne, hosted by Bruce McAvaney.

Tuesday:  In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), Maxine Gray tries out a new device that acts as a second set of lungs, making scuba obsolete.

Wednesday: Former Matlock Police and The Sullivans star Paul Cronin guest stars in Nine’s The Flying Doctors.

Thursday:  Annie Jones guest stars in ABC’s new drama series, Embassy.  While in Skirts (HSV7), Tina’s (Antoinette Byron) involvement with a heroic, handicapped man dissolves into disaster.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  22 September 1990.  Southdown Press.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Veronica Overton-Low

veronicaoverton The WA TV History blog reports that Veronica Overton-Low, a former TV presenter in Perth and Adelaide, has died suddenly from a heart attack.

Overton, 66, was an actress and had performed at Perth channel TVW7 before securing a job at rival channel STW9 not long after it launched in the mid 1960s.  She was initially hired for administrative tasks as well as appearing on The Channel Niners Club and Christmas pantomimes, presenting the weather report, reading voice-over announcements and appearing on the weekly religious interview program Seek The Truth – all for a very modest wage.

She also made regular appearances at promotional events for STW and later appeared on daytime programs as well as The Jeff Newman Show and became a producer for The Breakfast Show.

After leaving STW9 in 1970, Overton went to Adelaide’s SAS10 to host the morning show Earlybirds with Fat Cat.

With husband John Low (now deceased), Overton ran a talent agency for radio and television.

She also maintained a love of the theatre and directed and appeared in a number of local productions for the Roleystone Theatre Company, recently appearing in its production of My Fair Lady.

Source: WA TV History, WA TV History

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Johnny Young for ARIA Hall of Fame

johnnyyoungJohnny Young, the 60s pop star who created a generation of stars with the long-running Young Talent Time, is to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame as recognition of his contribution to the Australian recording industry.

Born in the Netherlands but raised in Perth, Young was a chart-topper with songs including Cara-Lyn and Step Back and wrote several hits that went on to become ‘60s anthems, including Smiley and The Real Thing.  He also hosted a pop music program, Club 7Teen, for Perth’s TVW7

In the late ‘60s, he featured on Melbourne-based pop music programs Go!! and Happening before starting Young Talent Time – a talent quest and variety series cast with junior performers.  Young’s adaptation of the Beatles song All My Loving served as the closing signature tune for Young Talent Time.

Under Young’s guidance, Young Talent Time created stars from child performers like Jamie Redfern, Tina Arena, Jane Scali, Sally Boyden, Debbie Byrne, Phillip Gould, Karen Knowles and Dannii Minogue.  The show won TV Week Logie awards for Best Variety/Music Program in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976 and in 1982 won a special Logie for sustained excellence in television.  His chain of talent schools, started in the late ‘70s, continue to operate across Australia today.

In 1990, Young was inducted in the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame.

Young, 65, is now back in Perth presenting the breakfast program on radio station 6IX and is still performing.

The ARIA Awards’ Hall of Fame presentation is to be held on 27 October, hosted by Julia Zemiro. Also to be inducted this year are John Williamson, The Models, The Loved Ones and The Church.

Source: Daily Telegraph, Wikipedia, Johnny Young Talent School, Australian Television Information Archive

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Eleven says ‘hello’

While the Nine Network’s new digital channel, GEM, has stumbled at the first hurdle and failed to make its planned debut yesterday, Network Ten has started its promotion for its new digital channel, 11, which is due to launch in 2011.

The new channel already has a website and is ready to communicate with its target audience, 13 to 29 year olds, via Facebook and Twitter

Ten is certainly presenting a confident approach in 11 and promoting it with the intention of getting the audience enthused about the new channel – something that Nine failed to do with GEM.

11_newchannel Spearheading 11’s prime-time line-up will be The Simpsons and Neighbours, joining other series including Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Supernatural, Dollhouse, Smallville, Melrose Place, 90210, Futurama, Sex And The City, The Office and The Cleveland Show.  The network has also put out the call to aspiring Australian producers to pitch innovative program ideas for the new channel.

11 is expected to be launched early in 2011 via Network Ten stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.  It is not known yet if or when the new channel will be broadcast by regional affiliates Southern Cross Ten, Darwin Digital Television, Ten Mildura and Tasmanian Digital Television.

Source: TV Tonight, 11

Kerry O’Brien signing off from The 7.30 Report

kerryobrien After fifteen years as host of ABC’s The 7.30 Report, Kerry O’Brien (pictured) has decided it is time to move on.

In a statement issued yesterday, O’Brien said:

"Quite simply it’s time for a new chapter.  I’ve been in the pressure cooker of daily current affairs hosting and interviewing for 21 straight years including six years at Lateline, and it’s been something of a marathon.”

"It has been an absolute privilege to work with some of the most talented and dedicated professionals in the business, and I leave with confidence that the 7.30 Report will be at the heart of ABC News and Current Affairs coverage for years to come.”

"This has been a great year for the program, and it’s good to leave on a high note.”

O’Brien, who took over as host of The 7.30 Report when the state-based editions were replaced with a national edition in 1996, is planning to leave the program at the end of the year and take on a new role at the national broadcaster in 2011, though details of such have not been announced.

ABC general manager Mark Scott paid tribute to O’Brien’s contribution to the broadcaster, which included six years as host of Lateline before taking on the role of hosting The 7.30 Report:

“As the ABC approaches its 80th year, few journalists have played such an important role, for such a long time, with such integrity and distinction, as Kerry O'Brien.  On behalf of all of his colleagues, I want to thank Kerry for his tireless commitment to the best in ABC journalism through his leadership at The 7.30 Report.”

Some of O’Brien’s political interviews on The 7.30 Report have created headlines, particularly during election campaigns – this year eliciting an admission from opposition leader Tony Abbott that not everything he says on the campaign trail is “gospel truth”, and earlier this year copped an outburst from former prime minister Kevin Rudd after being questioned over the failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit.

This year O’Brien also scored an interview with US president Barack Obama.

In a career that dates back to 1966, O’Brien has also worked on ABC current affairs programs This Day Tonight and Four Corners, has served as a North American correspondent for the Seven Network and presented current affairs programs Public Eye and Face To Face for Network Ten.  He has also been host of many election nights, State and Federal, for ABC.

ABC’s director of news Kate Torney has said that a replacement host for The 7.30 Report is to be announced in due course.  Some of the names speculated as possible successors to O’Brien include Chris Uhlmann, Tony Jones, Leigh Sales and Virginia Trioli.

Source: The Age, ABC, Celebrity Speakers, The Australian

GEM’s last minute scratching

GEM_logo Viewers expecting to see the debut of the Nine Network’s new digital channel GEM at midday yesterday (Friday) were left underwhelmed when the channel failed to appear.

When Nine originally announced GEM almost two weeks ago, it was always clear that the channel was to officially launch this Sunday but, in a move designed to take some of gloss away from new rival 7mate which launches today, the channel was to start screening programs from midday yesterday.

Instead, digital channel 90 (and channel 80 in regionals) continued as the high-definition simulcast of the main Nine Network channel.

The failure of GEM’s appearance is apparently due to “technical issues” although Nine’s lack of pre-launch promotion for the channel probably ensured that not many viewers were aware of its pending debut anyway.  This lack of any pre-launch promotion, or any advice to viewers that GEM is replacing Nine’s HD simulcast, plus yesterday’s non-appearance all add fuel to speculation that the channel appears to be little more than a rushed-to-air effort to catch up to Seven’s 7mate and following Ten’s announcement of its new entertainment channel, 11.

Nine has now re-scheduled GEM to debut at 6.00am Sunday – meaning that their attempt to spoil Seven’s launch of 7mate has failed.  Although whether viewers actually care who was first by the sake of a day or two is largely irrelevant as this attempted one-upmanship is really just about network egos and is just another chapter in the unending battle between Seven and Nine.

But assuming there are no further delays, GEM’s schedule for Sunday is as follows:

6am Movie: Kim
8.30 Movie: Spring And Port Wine
10.30 Movie: Thousands Cheer
1.05pm Movie: Life With Father
3.35 Movie: The Jazz Singer
6pm The New Adventures Of Old Christine
6.30 Wife Swap USA
7.30 Random Acts Of Kindness (new episode)
8.30 Movie: The Bodyguard
11.10 The New Adventures Of Old Christine (rpt from 6pm)
11.40pm Wife Swap USA (rpt from 6.30pm)

GEM will be available via the Nine Network (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth) on digital channel 90 and via regional networks WIN (Queensland, Southern NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania) and NBN (Northern NSW, Gold Coast) on digital channel 80, and from next month GEM and its counterpart GO! will be available on the Nine Network’s Darwin station.  A high-definition tuner, PVR or set-top-box will be required to view GEM.

GEM will also be available to Foxtel cable subscribers.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Southern Cross rolls out more channels

scmedia Regional broadcaster Southern Cross Media has announced the launch of new digital channels for Darwin, Tasmania and Spencer Gulf/Broken Hill markets.

Southern Cross Television will be providing the Seven Network’s new digital channel, 7mate, in Darwin (on digital channel 70) and Tasmania (digital channel 60) from 24 October.  The channel launches on the Seven Network stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Regional QLD this Saturday.

Viewers will need a high-definition capable digital tuner, PVR or set top box to access 7mate.

The company has also announced that it will be providing a relay channel of the Nine Network to viewers in the Spencer Gulf/Broken Hill region from 31 October.  Southern Cross is the only commercial TV broadcaster in that region and currently provides two channels – GTS/BKN (with Seven Network programming) and Southern Cross Ten – with provision for special event programming (such as sports) from the Nine Network.  Both GTS/BKN and Southern Cross Ten are broadcast in analogue and digital.

The new Nine relay will be broadcast exclusively in digital.

Regional South Australia, including Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill, is scheduled to lose all analogue television transmission on 15 December.  After the analogue shutdown the potential may exist for Southern Cross Media to gain access to additional broadcast spectrum which would allow it to start to relay the commercial networks’ digital multi-channels.

Source: TV Tonight, Freeview

Monday, 20 September 2010

Derryn Hinch diagnosed with cancer

derrynhinch Melbourne radio host and former TV presenter Derryn Hinch (pictured) has told listeners of his 3AW drive-time program that he has been diagnosed with liver cancer and is to undergo “major surgery very soon”.

Hinch, 66, said he will be told later this week when the surgery is to go ahead and that he expects to be off-air from the station for a month.

He told listeners that he is feeling positive and determined to beat the illness:

"I am not down, I'm not depressed, I don't feel sorry for myself.  I'm as passionate as ever about the causes that I'm fighting for and maybe even more so."

"I intend to beat it.  I know everyone says that but I do truly believe this is not the end; it's the beginning of something.”

"As somebody once said, ‘That's life.' "

derrynhinch_0001 With a background in print and radio journalism in New Zealand, Australia and the US, Hinch made the move to television in the early ‘80s as the host of the Seven Network’s Willesee At Seven and daytime panel show Beauty And The Beast.  In 1987 he had been signed up by media tycoon Christopher Skase to front the revived Seven Network’s current affairs coverage, with Hinch At Seven running for four years on Seven and then a further two years (as Hinch) on Network Ten.  While at Ten, Hinch scored the first Australian interview with the fugitive Skase in Majorca.

At the end of 1993 he was announced as the successor to Ray Martin as host of Nine’s Midday, a role that lasted a year.

Since 2003 Hinch has presented drive-time on radio station 3AW, syndicated across Victoria, after several years at former talkback station 3AK.  He has also appeared in Dancing With The Stars and had a cameo role, as himself, in Underbelly.

In 2006 he suffered near-death with liver disease, septicaemia, kidney malfunction and immune system failure.

Earlier this year he celebrated fifty years in the media.

Source: The Age, Hinch, 3AW

Sunday, 19 September 2010

GEM: Friday and Saturday

GEM_logo_0001 Nine’s new digital channel, GEM, is to be officially launched next Sunday, 26 September, but just to get the edge over the launch of 7mate the channel starts programming this Friday, 24 September from 12.00pm:

Friday 24:
12pm Movie: Singin’ In The Rain
2pm Movie: Gypsy
5pm The Ellen DeGeneres Show (rpt from Nine)
6pm The New Adventures Of Old Christine
6.30 Friends
7pm The Zoo
7.30 Getaway (rpt from Nine)
8.30 Movie: Jindabyne
11pm Movie: Critic’s Choice

getaway Saturday 25:
1am Friends (rpt from 6.30pm)
1.30 Getaway (rpt from 7.30pm)
2.30 Movie: Jindabyne (rpt from 8.30pm)
4.50 Dangerman
5.50 GEM Presents
6am Movie: The Bridal Path
8am Movie: Critic’s Choice (rpt from 11pm)
10am Movie: The Yearling
12.45pm Movie: Northwest Passage
3.20pm Movie: The Madwoman Of Chaillot
6pm The New Adventures Of Old Christine
6.30 Deadly Surf
7pm Animal Emergency
7.30 Special: Every Heart Beats True – The Jim Stynes Story (rpt from Nine)
8.30 Movie: Evil Angels
11pm Movie: Gypsy (rpt from Friday)

(Programs and times are for the Melbourne market, other areas or time-zones check local guides)

GEM – replacing the existing 9HD channel – will be available via the Nine Network (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth) on digital channel 90 and via NBN (Northern NSW, Gold Coast) and WIN (Southern NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland) on digital channel 80.  GEM will be available on the Nine Network’s Darwin channel from next month.  Viewers will need a high-definition tuner or set top box to be able to access the channel.

GEM is also available on Foxtel for cable subscribers only on Channel 209 from 24 September.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

ACA interviews Reg Grundy

reggrundy It is not often that this site actively promotes A Current Affair but will make an exception for this coming Monday’s edition as host Tracy Grimshaw interviews legendary television producer Reg Grundy (pictured) and wife, actress and author Joy Chambers at their home in Bermuda.

Grundy first appeared on TV in 1959 as the host and producer of an afternoon game show, Wheel Of Fortune, which had made the move from radio to Sydney’s TCN9.  He then went on to produce more game shows during the 1960s before branching out into TV dramas and movies in the 1970s.  The list of Grundy productions read like a timeline in the history of Australian television, including Ampol Stamp Quiz, I’ve Got A Secret (where he met his future wife), Temptation, Moneymakers, Class Of ‘74, Pot Of Gold, Family Feud, Blankety Blanks, The Celebrity Game, The Young Doctors, Chopper Squad, The Restless Years, Sale Of The Century, Prisoner, Sons And Daughters, Perfect Match, It’s A Knockout, Neighbours, Secret Valley, Wheel Of Fortune, Australia’s Most Wanted, Richmond Hill, Embassy and The Price Is Right

Wife Chambers, a winner of two TV Week Logie awards for most popular female personality in Queensland in the late 1960s before becoming Mrs Grundy, went on to appear in a number of Grundy productions including The Restless Years, The Celebrity Game and Neighbours (most recently appearing in the lead-up to the show’s celebrated 6000th episode).  She is also an accomplished author in her own right.

prisoner_1 As well as many Grundy dramas selling internationally – most notably Prisoner (pictured), The Young Doctors, Neighbours and Sons And Daughters – he also successfully franchised various game show and drama formats overseas, producing international versions of Sale Of The Century, Prisoner and The Restless Years.  He also produced a game show, Scrabble, for US network NBC.

He sold Grundy Television Productions to UK-based Pearson International in the mid-1990s – it has since been incorporated into the global Fremantle Media group.

Grundy was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards’ Hall of Fame in 1993 and received Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008. 

reggrundyjoychambers Despite his many years in television, Grundy has remained a very private figure and has very rarely allowed to be interviewed and the appearance on A Current Affair came as the expense of Sunday Night and 60 Minutes which had both also tried to secure an interview.

The interview is said to coincide with the release of his autobiography.

A Current Affair.  Monday 20 September, 6.30pm.  Nine*

Source: The Daily Telegraph (via The Spy Report), Sydney Morning Herald.


* Melbourne.  Other areas, check local guides.

7mate: Opening Night

7mateThe opening night’s schedule for Seven’s new high-definition channel, 7mate, which launches next Saturday, 25 September:

6pm That ‘70s Show
6.30 Gene Simmons Family Jewels
7pm How I Met Your Mother
7.30 Scrubs
8pm My Name Is Earl
8.30 Punk’d
9pm Family Guy
9.30 Movie: Anchorman

Although 7mate actually makes its debut from 12.15pm next Saturday afternoon with the high-definition simulcast of the AFL Grand Final.

(Programs and times are for the Melbourne market, other areas or time-zones check local guides)

tvremote 7mate will be available via a high-definition tuner or set top box, and can be found on digital channel 73 via the Seven Network (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Regional QLD) or digital channel 63 via Prime Television (Regional NSW, Regional Victoria, ACT, Gold Coast).

Friday, 17 September 2010

Regional update on digital channel roll-out

GEM_logo_0001 The Nine Network’s two major regional affiliates, WIN and NBN, have both announced that they will launch Nine’s new digital channel, GEM, in their respective regional markets on the same day as in the capital cities.

GEM, providing an entertainment-based line-up aimed at female viewers aged 35+, will be available in WIN’s and NBN’s respective digital coverage areas (excluding South Australia and Western Australia) on high-definition digital channel 80.  The new channel will be officially launched on Sunday 26 September.  WIN’s Perth and Adelaide channels, STW9 and NWS9, will also broadcast GEM from the same day on high-definition digital channel 90.

Viewers of the Nine Network’s Darwin channel will be able to view both channels GO! and GEM from early October, following upgrades to the channel’s transmission infrastructure.

7mate Meanwhile, Tasmanian viewers may soon learn that they will be getting the Seven and Ten networks’ new digital channels, 7mate and 11Southern Cross Media, representing both Southern Cross Television and Tasmanian Digital Television, has previously said that they were not committing to carrying the new channels in the short term. 

It now appears that Southern Cross will be relaying the male-focused 7mate channel from mid-October, after the Commonwealth Games, while TDT could be carrying the new channel 11 from when it launches on the mainland in the new year.  There is no indication yet, however, whether Southern Cross Ten in regional NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT will be carrying 11.

11 Southern Cross has had to consider significant investment and upgrade of its Canberra-based broadcast facility to allow it to provide the new channels, at a time when the broadcaster’s parent company has had to wear a $82.7 million loss from the last financial year.  Most of this loss was attributed to an American subsidiary which has been sold off, but the pressure is obviously on the Australian business to off-set the losses as much as possible.

Meanwhile, Prime Television in NSW, Victoria, ACT and the Gold Coast is expected to carry 7mate from when it launches in the capital cities next Saturday, 25 September.

Source: The Mercury, Freeview, Ninemsn

Mal Walden back at 6.30

malwalden_0001 After twenty three years, newsreader Mal Walden (pictured) is heading back to the 6.30 timeslot as the presenter of Ten News’ new Melbourne-based news bulletin to launch next year.

Walden, with over 40 years in Melbourne television, is a firm favourite with Melbourne viewers – never more evident than back in 1987 when a tearful Walden announced to viewers of Seven National News that he had just been sacked by the station’s new management.  Ratings for Seven National News plummeted to zeros and ones after Walden’s dismissal and when he arrived in a minor role at Eyewitness News a month later, ratings for that bulletin hit record highs.  He has been part of Ten’s Melbourne news team ever since, taking over the role of chief newsreader from David Johnston when he left Ten to go to Seven at the end of 1995.

georgedonikian Replacing Walden’s spot in the traditional 5.00pm bulletin is George Donikian (pictured), probably still best known to many as the original SBS newsreader and now the principal newsreader for Adelaide’s Ten News, which is currently based in the Melbourne studio.  Donikian has been the relief newsreader for Walden for some years now and has also read the Saturday evening Ten News bulletins during the AFL season.

A major component of Network Ten’s ratings push for 2011 is its expanded news coverage which will comprise the usual 5.00pm news hour in each city, followed by a national 6.00pm news-based program (with a presenter yet to be announced) and then a locally-based news in each state at 6.30pm leading into The 7PM Project.

Network Ten has been rolling out its announcements for its newsreader appointments for each city as its 2011 launch has been working around the country: 

TVQ10 Brisbane: 5.00pm Bill McDonald and Georgie Lewis; 6.30pm Bill McDonald

sandrasully TEN10 Sydney: 5.00pm Bill Woods and Deborah Knight; 6.30pm Sandra Sully (pictured)

ATV10 Melbourne: 5.00pm George Donikian and Helen Kapalos; 6.30pm Mal Walden

ADS10 Adelaide: 5.00pm Belinda Heggen; 6.30pm Rebecca Morse

NEW10 Perth: 5.00pm and 6.30pm – Narelda Jacobs

Having Walden reading Ten’s 6.30pm bulletin will certainly give the new bulletin a well-needed kick-start in the ratings in Melbourne as it establishes itself up against the well-entrenched national shows on offer by Seven and Nine in that timeslot.

This expanded news coverage in the early evenings will see Ten’s early evening stalwarts The Simpsons and Neighbours moved to the new digital channel 11 when it launches in the new year.

And just to show that Mal Walden likes to read the news at 6.30, here is a newsbreak from Seven National News back in 1984 where he reminded us no less than four times in the space of one minute that the news is indeed at 6.30pm:

ten_2008 Network Ten is certainly generating a lot of media buzz with its 2011 announcements – as well as the expanded news portfolio and the launch of digital channel 11 the network is also preparing to launch a new reality series, The Renovators, and a new prison drama as well as local versions of overseas shows Undercover Boss, Don’t Stop Believing and Class Of.  Popular shows from this year including Talkin’ ‘bout Your Generation, Modern Family and MasterChef are also set to continue in 2011 and the new Melbourne-based drama Offspring has been given the green light for a second series.  The network certainly looks to be putting on a more aggressive front against Seven and Nine than in previous years, confidently setting some new agendas and taking some bold risks rather than being held back by conservatism.

Source: Media Spy
You Tube: panalouis

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ten goes back behind bars

prisoner_debut Prisoner was a surprise ratings hit when it debuted on the otherwise-ailing 0-10 Network in February 1979.  The never-before-seen tale of life inside a women’s prison was groundbreaking drama and also presented a milestone in featuring a predominantly female cast (including Peta Toppano, pictured).

The series ran for eight years and 692 episodes, winning a swag of TV Week Logie awards, and was one of the few Australian dramas to get a cult following in the US before it went on to a similar following in Europe and the United Kingdom.  The series was later re-worked for the US market as Dangerous Women.

Such was the sustained popularity of Prisoner twenty years after its demise that all 692 episodes were released on DVD – the largest such DVD release in Australia.  Fans from around the world still come to Australia to pay homage to the series and some of the stars from the show (such as Maggie Kirkpatrick, who played Joan ‘the Freak’ Ferguson, pictured below) are still household names today.

Despite foiled plans to produce a spin-off series in the 1990s, the Ten Network is now set to reconnect to the prison theme with a new series unveiled at its recent 2011 launch.

prisoner_thefreak Inside Out promises to tell the story of a woman who lands in prison after being wrongly accused and sets out for revenge.

Ian Bradley, a co-producer from Prisoner, is working on the new project which Ten hopes will spin-off into an ongoing series.

Ten’s programming chief David Mott told the Herald Sun:

“We’re very excited about it.  We’ve looked at Prisoner for some time now and wondered whether it’s time to revive the style of that show.”

A couple of years ago there were tentative plans by Ten to re-work another former series, The Young Doctors, to a new generation of viewers but this was soon abandoned.

Network Ten will be anxious for Inside Out to succeed now that it has announced plans to ship Neighbours off to its new digital channel, 11, where it may end up being excluded from counting towards the network’s required quota of local drama content.

Ten also announced at the 2011 launch that it has renewed its new Melbourne-based drama Offspring for another series following strong ratings results since its launch last month.

Source: Herald Sun, 15 September 2010.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Nine’s GEM balances gender ledger

GEM_logo_0001 The Nine Network has announced its new digital channel – GEM – targetting females aged 35+.

The new channel, which will broadcast in high-definition and replace the existing high-definition simulcast of the main Nine channel, is expected to debut on Friday 24 September – just a day before the launch of Seven’s new male-focused channel, 7mate. The channel will have its official launch on Sunday 26 September.

Programming details for GEM, an acronym for “General Entertainment and Movies”, are fairly scant at present (Updated: More details in Nine press release, below) but it is reported to include programs like Secret Millionaire, The Big C, Weeds and Wife Swap as well as re-purposed news and current affairs content and a commitment to maintaining some of Nine’s sports content in high-definition – how the latter ties in with the proposed target demographic is unclear though it is a move that will please sports fans.

There is also no word if GEM will be carried by regional affiliates such as WIN or the Nine-owned channels NBN in Northern NSW and NTD8 in Darwin.

The launches of GEM and 7mate, while they provide more channel choices, will effectively mean two fewer high-definition simulcasts of network television – leaving SBS as the only network providing a high-definition simulcast of its main channel.

While ABC and Network Ten moved away from high-definition simulcasts, they did so to launch well-defined and well-branded unique channels, ABC News 24 and One HD, while GEM and 7mate from the outset (with the limited information that either channel has released to the public) appear to be a thinly-spread array of re-run material, a lot of which pre-dates high-definition production, with a handful of first-run programs that vaguely resemble a demographic-focused approach – a line-up that could just as well have been used to boost the content offerings of their existing channels 7TWO and GO instead of short-changing viewers who will now no longer have the option to see Australia’s two most popular networks in high-definition. The networks will argue that this is the only means in which they can offer a third channel as they are limited in how they can deliver multiple channels pending the complete shutdown of analogue transmission in 2013.

A formal announcement of GEM is expected from Nine later today.

UPDATE @ 16:25 AEST 13.9.2010: Media Release from Nine:


Following on from the outstanding success of the GO! multi-channel, the Nine Network today announced plans for a third channel, GEM, which will launch on Sunday, September 26 aimed at the sophisticated, discerning viewer.

GEM will be a mix of new content, classic comedies, cherished drama series, all-time favourite movies, and all of Nine’s sport coverage in high definition.

GEM is designed to complement Nine’s premium channel, and the network’s number one multi-channel, GO!, attracting females 35+ and grocery buyers.

Leading the GEM lineup is the acclaimed new US drama series The Big C, starring Laura Linney as a woman making the most of her life after being diagnosed with cancer. Also starring Oliver Platt and Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe, The Big C’s recent premiere achieved record ratings for the US Showtime network.

The cult favourite Weeds will also be seen on GEM in a new season. Other first-run imports include Southland, Miami Medical, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and the lifestyle programs Wife Swap, Secret Millionaire USA, The Chopping Block USA and How Clean Is Your House?

Also on GEM will be a new season of Random Acts of Kindness (previously seen on Nine) featuring Shelley Craft, Scott Cam, Dr Andrew Rochford and Simmone Jade Mackinnon, treating everyday Australians to well-deserved rewards.

Rounding out the schedule will be the classic comedy Friends, stripped to air every week night, Aussie gold dramas McLeod’s Daughters, Sea Patrol and The Alice, and the hit US crime shows CSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York, The Closer and Cold Case, along with great movies such as Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, 21 Grams and Being Julia.

Nine CEO David Gyngell said GEM would build on the network’s tearaway success with the GO! channel, which by a big margin is Australia’s most popular multi-channel across the key demographics and total people.

“GEM is what its title suggests – a general entertainment and movie channel, carefully crafted and targeted like GO! before it, to appeal to a wide audience cross-section and complement Nine’s existing successful brands,” Mr Gyngell said.

GEM will also include news and current affairs programs that will be different but complementary to those on the main channel. “We have a very significant investment in news and current affairs and some of that content will be repackaged to the style of GEM,” Mr Gyngell said.

High definition sport will be seen on GEM until the digital switchover in December 2013.

To receive GEM from September 26, viewers need to tune in to channel 90 on an HD-capable digital TV, PVR or set top box. If you have an analogue television you will need to connect your old TV to an HD-capable digital set top box, PVR, or digital recorder and tune in to channel 90.

Source: Media Spy

Sunday, 12 September 2010

1990: September 15-21

tvweek_150990 Let’s party!
Next month, stars of past and present TV shows will gather with fans to pay tribute to the industry that has made them household names and will raise money for charity at the same time.  The Sprite-TV Celebrity Dance Party, hosted by Paula Duncan, will aid the Lorna Hodgkinson Sunshine Home for the intellectually handicapped.  Some of the famous faces attending the event include Georgie Parker and Craig McLachlan (pictured) joining cast members from shows including Sons And Daughters, Neighbours, Cop Shop, Home And Away, Prisoner, A Country Practice and The Flying DoctorsTV Week is also involved in the event and is giving away ten double passes, including airfares and hotel accommodation for interstate winners.

annephelan Back to the boards
Lean times in the television industry are seeing many actors and actresses officially out of work.  Actors Equity says that 85 per cent of the 12,000 registered actors and actresses are out of acting work while many performers familiar to TV viewers are now making the move into the theatre – Alex Papps and Roger Oakley (formerly of Home And Away), Anne Phelan (pictured, last seen in Family And Friends), Kim Lewis (The Restless Years, Sons And Daughters) and Joan Sydney (A Country Practice) are just some TV performers who are now taking on theatre roles.  For Lewis, who is co-starring with boyfriend John O’Hare (recently seen in GP) in the Sydney production of Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs, it is a welcome change from television.  “I was always yearning for theatre work,” she told TV Week.  “It’s a whole other world.  You can’t stop and just go over mistakes.  You’re there.  That’s it.”  For actress Anne Phelan, while she is grateful for her latest role in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s This Old Man Comes Rolling Home, says she is not as excited at the move into the theatre.  “I’m at the stage where I’m thinking I should never have been an actor,” she said.  “I’m feeling insecure because this role is massive and difficult.  If someone offered me six months of TV work I’d say yes.”  Joan Sydney, also starring in the MTC play, told TV Week: “Theatre is where the real acting is, but I enjoyed TV.  I don’t consider it second rate.”

estreet_0001 The big match… but this time Dermie’s the loser!
The long-running, unresolved romantic tension between Dr Elly Fielding (Penny Cook) and Reverend Bob Brown (Tony Martin) on Network Ten’s E Street is about to be sealed with a kiss.  The pair are brought closer together after the owner of a local video store, played by AFL footballer Dermot Brereton (pictured, with Penny Cook), falls for Dr Fielding and she enlists the help of the reverend to tell Dermot that he is involved with her instead.  The irony is, of course, that Reverend Bob has always loved Elly, and this incident looks likely to finally bring them together.

Actor Jeremy Kewley, currently featuring in Network Ten’s Candid Camera, says it is surprising just how many people are with people they shouldn’t be when the camera catches them out.  “This happens often in restaurants.  You’d be surprised at the number of diners on dates with people other than their official partners,” he told TV Week.  Although he does point out that anyone they do play a trick on is asked to sign a form agreeing to have the segment shown on TV.

Former Neighbours star Geoff Paine was stunned when he was approached to join the cast of The Comedy Company.  “It had never occurred to me that one day I’d be working with this team. It was quite a surprise to be asked,” he told TV Week.  He is also thrilled at joining the show after Network Ten scrapped a proposed drama series, City Hospital, that was to feature Paine reprising his former Neighbours role of Dr Clive Gibbons.

Former Family And Friends star Gavin Harrison has a new-found confidence as a result of training for an upcoming episode of GP where he will play a boxing hero who has to rely on drugs to keep fighting.  “Working on GP was the best experience of my life,” he told TV Week.  “It was the series I wanted to work on and the character was a real challenge to me.  They wanted an actor who could box and make it look professional, so that was a hurdle I had to get over.”

Hey Hey It’s Saturday cast members John Blackman and Wilbur Wilde have had their breakfast show on Melbourne radio station 3UZ abruptly cancelled after the station decided to adopt a new full-time sports format. 

John Laws says…
Ten’s decision to screen all-night news and current affairs from the CNN network in America will, no doubt, please those night-owl viewers who want a change from Seven’s rival NBC Today or third-rate movies.  CNN’s Daybreak, now screening on Ten, is a slick, rapid-fire news show, covering anything of world or national interest to Americans.  It was time, of course, for someone to to offer spirited competition to Bryant Gumbel and the NBC Today show.  I understand the program’s ratings have dipped recently in the US, which is not a surprise.  The Today show comes across as a tired, disorganised shadow of what it was a few years ago.”

Program Highlights (September 15-21):
Sunday:  GTV9
crosses to Phillip Island for live coverage of the Australian 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix .  Leading the coverage are Barry Sheene and Darrell Eastlake.  Meanwhile, HSV7 presents a two-hour afternoon special, The Season That Was, presenting highlights of the 1990 AFL season.  ATV10 presents live coverage of the Preliminary Final of the NSW Rugby League.  Sunday night movies are Year Of The Dragon (HSV7), Funny Farm (GTV9) and The Year My Voice Broke (ATV10).

Monday:  Andrew Denton presents a new show, The Money Or The Gun, on ABC – described as a “documentary/chat/comedy show where the real meets the surreal.”

Tuesday:  HSV7 and GTV9 both cross to Tokyo for a 90-minute presentation on the announcement of the host city of the 1996 Olympic Games.  Bruce McAvaney heads HSV7’s telecast, while Brian Naylor, prime minister Bob Hawke and A Current Affair’s Jana Wendt are part of the presenting team on GTV9’s telecast.  ATV10 promises to provide updates on the announcement during its Tuesday night movie, Prizzi’s Honour.  Melbourne is one of the six cities bidding for the Games, up against Athens, Manchester, Toronto, Belgrade and Atlanta.

effie Thursday:  In Acropolis Now (HSV7), after a disastrous theatre date with Liz (Tracey Callander), Jim (Nick Giannopoulos) decides to stage his own version of Romeo And Juliet.  Although Skirts star Nicholas Bell turns up to “addition” for the part of Romeo, Jim instead takes on the role and asks Effie (Mary Coustas, pictured) to be his Juliet.

Friday:  During the day, HSV7 crosses to White City, Sydney for the semi-final of the Davis Cup – Australia versus Argentina.  That night, HSV7 goes to the Glasshouse for the National Basketball League game between Melbourne Tigers and North Melbourne Giants.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  15 September 1990.  Southdown Press.

Friday, 3 September 2010

1990: September 8-14


Cover: Mat Stevenson, Emily Symons (Home And Away)

Mike Munro: ‘I go home and cry’
60 Minutes reporter Mike Munro says that for the past five months, working on the story surrounding the ‘Mr Bubbles’ case involving 17 pre-school children, has often reduced him to tears.  “I get so bloody depressed.  I go home to my wife and cry.  If people want me to say that I’m on a crusade, then good.  If being a crusader means not giving up until the truth comes out then I’m proud to be called a crusader,” he told TV Week.  

‘They’ve been beauties!’
During 25 years of TV, including his years as a foreign correspondent for ABC, a reporter for 60 Minutes and now as host of Midday, Ray Martin has interviewed more than his fair share of superstars.  Pop princess Kylie Minogue wins the award for the easiest to talk to, while Joan Collins was a different story.  “Joan was difficult, until she settled in,” Martin told TV Week.  “(She) preened herself and looked at herself and was in love with the monitor.  More than anyone else, apart from Bob Hawke.  Bob Hawke just about matches her!”  Whoopi Goldberg is described as “the most natural… terrific” and Jane Fonda was “interesting.  She was interested in any subject and didn’t want to do all serious issues.”  Nicole Kidman, Elle McPherson and Sigrid Thornton are also among his favourites, while Sophia Loren is one of the most beautiful women he has ever seen.

marcusgraham ‘You have no idea some of the things that were invented!’
This year has been a busy one for actor Marcus Graham – moving on from soapie E Street to starring roles in mini-series Shadows Of The Heart and Ratbag Hero, a guest role in ABC’s GP and an upcoming appearance in The Flying Doctors.  But a possible lowlight this year has been media speculation of a relationship with actress Nicole Kidman.  Graham (pictured) had been dating Kidman briefly before she went to the US and met Tom Cruise.  On a recent trip back to Sydney, Kidman had called at his house but he was not home, but it was enough to prompt speculation of a romance.  “You have no idea some of the things that were invented!” he told TV Week.

annetenney Briefly…
Former A Country Practice star Anne Tenney (pictured) returns to TV this week in an episode of ABC series Fresh Start, playing the part of a sheepfarmer’s wife struggling with illiteracy.  It is only her second TV appearance since leaving A Country Practice in 1985, having recently appeared in the children’s series Elly And Jools.

Actress Linda Hartley has spoken to TV Week after her sudden departure from Neighbours where her character, Kerry Mangel, was accidentally shot dead while at a duck-hunting protest.  “Joe (Mark Little) and Kerry couldn’t have split up – that just wouldn’t have happened.  If you’re going to go, you might as well go with a bang!  Kerry has been a wonderful character to play and I won a Penguin Award for her, so I’ve had a very rewarding time,” she told TV Week

Former Neighbours star Guy Pearce is set to make a big impact on the big screen.  The 22-year-old actor is currently on location in Fiji for the film Young Flynn, portraying screen legend Errol Flynn from a 16-year-old schoolboy to when he made his first Hollywood feature at the age of 24.  Pearce also has a key role in upcoming film Heaven Tonight, co-starring John Waters, Kim Gyngell and Rebecca Gilling, due for release later this year.

John Laws says…
”There are some annoying little traits on television.  One of them is the oft-spoken line, “Thank you for your time,” which Jana Wendt uses on every interview she conducts.  Others have taken up the courtesy – some to an irritating extent.  But perhaps the most irritating trait of all is the one that they all use – every night, without fail – on news and current affairs programs.  It’s the two words “but first”.  Once you’ve noticed these words it becomes hypnotically riveting to wait for them to be spoken each night.  Example: “Later we’ll talk to Idi Amin about how he would handle the Gulf War crisis, but first…”

Program Highlights (September 8-14):
Saturday:  ATV10
wipes out its usual overnight schedule of B-grade re-runs and movies and from tonight replaces that with Ten Newswatch, a direct telecast of news coverage from US network CNN with emphasis on the escalating situation in the Middle East.  GTV9 crosses live to Flushing Meadow, New York, for the Men’s Semi-Final and Women’s Singles Final of the US Open tennis.

Sunday:  The Sunday night movie is Innerspace (GTV9), while HSV7 presents the first part of mini-series Poor Little Rich Girl and ATV10 debuts mini-series Blood TiesGTV9 then crosses to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.

Monday:  GTV9 presents early morning coverage of the Men’s Singles Final of the US Open, live from Flushing Meadow, New York.  In A Country Practice (HSV7), on the eve of her wedding Lucy Tyler (Georgie Parker) is told by her mother Lois (Jill Perryman) that she is divorcing her father who is refusing to attend the wedding.

Tuesday:  In Beyond 2000 (HSV7), reporter Simon Reeve finds out why Volvo is leading the way with the production of environmentally safe vehicles.  David McCubbin and Gia Carides are guest stars in this week’s episode of GP (ABC).

Wednesday:  ABC presents the debut of the 13-part drama series Embassy, tracing the story of Australian Embassy staff in strife-torn Ragaan, a fictional Islamic, South East Asian country.  The series stars Bryan Marshall, Janet Andrewartha, Alan Fletcher, Nina Landis, Frankie J Holden, Gerard Maguire, Nicki Wendt, Joseph Spano and Anthony Wong.

estreet Thursday:  Maggie Tabberer and Richard Zachariah present ABC’s new lifestyle series, The Home Show, a weekly series focusing on how to get the best out of where you live.  In E Street (ATV10), a boxing match between Harley (Malcolm Kennard) and Max (Bruce Samazan) is staged to see who wins the affection of Toni (Toni Pearen) who appears rather dubious about the whole situation.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  8 September 1990.  Southdown Press

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

ACMA green lights 3D grand finals

3d_glasses The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has granted temporary licences to both the Seven and Nine networks to allow them to broadcast the AFL and NRL grand finals respectively in 3D.

The temporary licences for both networks are applicable for the period from 18 September to 8 October and cover the markets of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

The AFL Grand Final is to be held on 25 September and the NRL Grand Final is scheduled for 3 October.

The broadcasts will be on digital channel 40 and will require a 3D compatible receiver and eyewear to view in 3D.  ACMA points out that because the trials are on a lower strength signal to normal television services that some viewers may still not receive the 3D telecast even if they have a compatible set and are within the relevant licence areas.

ACMA has also pointed out that it will not be issuing any further licences for 3D TV trials pending its review into 3D broadcasting on free-to-air television.  The authority is currently reviewing reports received from the Nine Network and SBS from their recent 3D TV trials conducted for the NRL State Of Origin and the FIFA World Cup.

Coverage of the AFL Grand Final in 3D in the major capital cities will be of cold comfort to viewers in Tasmania who appear unlikely to be able to view the game even in high-definition, as the high-definition broadcast forms the launch of the Seven Network’s 7mate channel which is not likely to air in Tasmania in the short term.

Source: ACMA

1990: September 1-7

tvweek_010990 Get me to the church on time…
The upcoming A Country Practice wedding between Lucy Gardiner (Georgie Parker) and Matt Tyler (John Tarrant) will continue Wandin Valley’s tradition of dramatic weddings.  “The problem is the parents,” Parker tells TV Week.  “And whether the ceremony is going to be held in an Anglican or Catholic church.  Matt’s father Gilbert (George Mallaby) is pompous and doesn’t think Matt is coping without good financial backing.  My parents are supposedly splitting up and my father Patrick (Jonathan Hardy) refuses to come because it’s not being held in a Catholic church.  My mother Lois (Jill Perryman) turns up without him.”  The lead-up to the wedding has also been marred by Lucy’s cancer scare and the couple’s house being burnt to the ground in recent episodes.  “Post-marriage is much calmer,” Parker hastily points out.

sharynhodgsonjulianmcmahon The Great Soap Shake-Up!
A number of key cast shake-ups are about to unsettle popular soaps Home And Away, A Country Practice and E Street, while cop drama Skirts is about to lose one cast member.  Julian McMahon and Sharyn Hodgson (pictured), who play Home And Away newlyweds Ben and Carly, are leaving the show over the coming months.  Their exit from Home And Away follows recent news that original cast member Adam Willits is about to leave the show – and Craig McLachlan is also planning to leave the show but will return for guest appearances during 1991.  James Davern, producer of Seven’s A Country Practice, has confirmed that the series is about to lose cast members Michael Muntz, Mary Regan and child actor Georgina Fisher.  Actors Muntz and Regan are leaving to pursue other opportunities, while the young Fisher is leaving after two years with the show.  “I spoke to her parents and two years are enough for a child actor,” Davern told TV Week.  Meanwhile, Network Ten’s E Street is about to lose cast members Paul Kelman and Lisbeth Kennelly, whose contracts have not been renewed.  Also tipped to be leaving E Street are Chelsea Brown and Rebecca Saunders.  And Skirts star Kate Gillick is leaving the police drama to return to the theatre.

joekerrymangel Caught in the crossfire
Tragedy strikes Neighbours when Kerry Mangel (Linda Hartley, pictured, with Mark Little) is left fighting for her life after being accidentally shot while taking part in a duck-shooting protest.  “This storyline brings out the side of Kerry’s character that I’ve always liked the most,” Hartley tells TV Week.  “She has been in a very domestic situation lately, but no-one can forget their past.  I’m pleased the opportunity came up for her to be more forthright about things she cares about.”    

ianmcfadyenThe Comedy Company producer Ian McFadyen (pictured) has admitted that the show’s return has been tougher than expected.  “We’ve obviously got a mandate to deliver a big audience pretty soon and that’s a lot of pressure to carry.  Our ratings are worse than I thought they would be.  60 Minutes has an enormous following – a very strong loyalty – and we’re working on that at the moment.”  Meanwhile, McFadyen’s other project, Mark Mitchell’s The Big Time, has been taken off air after a short time and is set to be re-worked.

Robbo’s World Tonight host Clive Robertson insists he couldn’t care less that his show is being beaten by Tonight Live With Steve Vizard in the ratings.  “If they don’t want my show after next March (when his contract runs out), that’s fine,” he told TV Week.  “I’ll do something else.  I wouldn’t mind going back to Seven or even the ABC.”  He also admits to not liking the name of his own show.  “”Robbo’ sounds a bit silly,” he says.  If he had his choice, he’d call it something like ‘The Final Word, With Mr Robertson’.

ernie_denise_0001 Denise Drysdale and Ernie Sigley have spoken to TV Week about their daytime show, In Melbourne Today.  “We really are like an old married couple,” Drysdale says.  “We can have a go at each other, and it’s all part of the fun.”  While Sigley says it is a battle to try and stay ahead of the gags that the studio crew have in store for them.  “They once blew up a chook on the set and scared the living daylights out of me,” he said.

John Laws says…
SBSThe Movie Show with David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz is certainly a reflection of two completely different personalities.  Pomeranz is bubbly, earnestly sincere and prone to gush the extremities of praise and criticism; Stratton is cool, laidback and possessed of both gentlemanly charm and viper-like attack.”

tonightlive Program Highlights (September 1-7):
Saturday:  HSV7
starts its celebrity-led assault on the top-rating Hey Hey It’s Saturday with two new shows, Celebrity Family Feud and Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune.

Sunday:  With More Winners now finished up, ABC starts screening the original Winners series of children’s dramas that had originally screened on the Ten Network.  Tonight’s episode is The Other Facts Of Life starring Ken Talbot, Dennis Miller and Anne Grigg.  Sunday night movies are Stakeout (HSV7), Children Of A Lesser God (GTV9) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (ATV10).

Monday:  Tonight Live With Steve Vizard (HSV7) starts a week of shows presented live from London.

Wednesday:  John Bach, Oliver Tobias, Rebecca Gilling and Peta Toppano star in ABC’s new mini-series The Paper Man, screening over three consecutive nights.  Australian Democrats politician Janine Haines is this week’s guest on Speaking For Myself (SBS).  HSV7 screens the long-awaited telemovie Bony, starring Cameron Daddo, Burnum Burnum, Catherine Oxenberg, David Reyne and Tom Richards.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  1 September 1990. Southdown Press.