Tuesday, 30 November 2010

1990: December 1-7

tvweek_011290 Kate’s hush-hush romance
Actress Kate Raison has spoken to TV Week to deny rumours that her three-year romance with former A Country Practice co-star Nick Bufalo is to lead to marriage.  “I don’t know where that one started, but, no, I am definitely not getting married,” she told TV Week.  “There is no truth in that rumour whatsoever.”  Raison (pictured) is soon to make a return to TV, playing the role of newspaper editor Sheridan Sturgess in Network Ten’s E Street.

The great E Street exit! 
Meanwhile, E Street is set to lose three of its foundation cast members going into its third year – with the show’s leading star Penny Cook deciding to take “an extended holiday” after her contract expires in February, while Warren Jones and Vic Rooney are also departing the series when their respective contracts expire.  The departure of Cook – which could be permanent – poses a dilemma for producers who have just matched up her character Dr Elly Fielding to Reverend Bob (Tony Martin) after a lengthy friendship and were hoping to stage an E Street wedding.  There is also the issue of what to do with Dr Fielding’s daughter, Claire (Brooke Anderson), in the series.  Meanwhile, there is talk around the industry that the series is heading to the Nine Network following the financial problems surrounding the Ten Network in recent times.

johnblackman ‘I’m shocked it’s come to this…’
The future of the Nine Network’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday appears to be under a cloud following the split of business partners Daryl Somers and Gavan Disney, whose company DAS Entertainment packages the show for the network.  The company, which is also owned by Ernie Carroll (the man behind Ossie Ostrich), is to be dismantled, with Somers and Carroll expected to set up their own company to produce the show.  Compounding to the drama is that Disney is also the manager of show regulars John Blackman (pictured) and Molly Meldrum.  “I’m shocked it has come to this,” Blackman told TV Week.  “It’s upsetting from all angles that they had to resort to this, but my sole responsibility is to the show and that’s how everybody (the rest of the cast) feels.  We’ve got to look to 1991 with the view that we’ll maintain the success Hey Hey has enjoyed.”

motherandson Good news for fans of ABC’s Mother And Son, with news that the popular comedy (starring Ruth Cracknell and Garry McDonald, pictured) is returning in a new series in the latter half of 1991 – ending speculation that the end of the show might be near with reports that cast member Henri Szeps was considering leaving the close-knit cast.  But Cracknell, who plays Maggie Beare, expects Szeps will be back for the new series.  “I hope so,” she says.  “I’m sure he will.  You couldn’t get anyone else to take the role.”

ABC will be hosting its Picnic In The Park event at Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl this weekend.  The six-hour event is set to feature on-stage performances from That’s Dancin’ contestants, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Coodabeen Champions, cast members of The Big Gig and presenters from Play School.  Also attending the event will be weatherman Edwin Maher, cast members of drama series Embassy and ABC radio presenters.

Nine’s Bugs Bunny Show host Sophie Lee is joining the cast of The Flying Doctors.  She will be playing the role of radio operator Penny Wellings, the younger sister of Kate Wellings (Lenore Smith).  Lee is expected to continue to host The Bugs Bunny Show around her new commitments with The Flying Doctors.  Meanwhile, Brett Climo, who plays Dr David Ratcliffe in the series, is leaving the show after two years.

John Laws says…
”As far as Steve Vizard is concerned, it’s probably a good job it’s annual holiday time.  The man who made late-night live entertainment a ratings winner this year was looking decidedly tired, if not exhausted, as he creaked his way through his final programs.  The razor-sharp wit of his early months was blunted, much of the innovative sparkle had spluttered out, and Steve resembled a man dutifully going through the motions, doing his darndest to make things work but finding the task more difficult with each passing night.”

Program Highlights (December 1-7):
  A big day of sport for HSV7, starting at 9.00am with live coverage of the Davis Cup: US versus Australia, from Petersburg, Florida.  Then during the afternoon, coverage will switch to the Australian Open golf, live from Sydney.  GTV9 covers the Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket: England versus New Zealand, live from Adelaide.

Sunday:  HSV7 crosses to Florida for the Men’s Doubles of the Davis Cup, live from 4.30am.  Then, from midday, the Australian Open golf from Sydney.  GTV9 has another day of the Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket, live from Adelaide, while ATV10 crosses to Bondi, Sydney, for the Ironman Super SeriesSBS presents the final edition of current affairs program Vox Populi for 1990.  Sunday night movies are Who Dares Wins (GTV9) and Birdy (ATV10).  HSV7 presents a re-run of mini-series Favourite Son, and ABC’s Esso Night At The Opera presents the Australian Opera production of Cosi Fan Tutte.

Monday:  HSV7 crosses to Florida at 5.00am for the final day’s play of the Davis Cup: US versus Australia.  Game show Wheel Of Fortune (HSV7) moves to the new time of 6.30pm, replacing Home And Away which is on summer break.  Steve Liebmann hosts A Current Affair: Summer Edition (GTV9).

Wednesday:  GTV9 presents the 1987 Australian movie The Tale Of Ruby Rose, starring Melita Jurisic, Chris Haywood and Sheila Florance.

Thursday:  HSV7 presents the first day’s competition of the Johnnie Walker Classic, live from the Melbourne Golf Club.  ABC presents live coverage of tennis, the Colonial Mutual Men’s Invitational, from Kooyong, Melbourne – with an hour of highlights late in the evening.

Friday:  More tennis on ABC.  More golf on HSV7.  And more cricket on GTV9, with the Benson And Hedges World Series: England versus New Zealand, live from Perth.

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

Monday, 29 November 2010

Victorian towns in analogue switch-off

digitalgetready Regional Victoria is not scheduled to lose analogue transmissions until May next year, but a handful of towns have been the exception and have already had their analogue signals switched off – with more towns to follow in the new year.

Local analogue transmissions in the Mansfield Shire towns of Howqua and Bonnie Doon were switched off today.  ABC and SBS have already been broadcasting in digital in Bonnie Doon, with Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Ten commencing digital broadcasting today as the analogue services were switched off. 

In Howqua, all five networks commenced digital broadcasting today to coincide with the switch-off of analogue.

The towns of Hopetoun, Lorne, Jeeralang/Yinnar South and Boolarra will also have a similar transition from analogue to digital-only broadcasting in February next year.

Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Ten have also joined ABC and SBS in digital broadcasting today in Mansfield, Eildon and Alexandra – with those towns included in the statewide analogue shutdown in May.

The town of Jamieson is served by community-based transmission infrastructure which will not be upgraded to digital after analogue switches off in May.  Viewers in Jamieson will have access to VAST satellite service to gain access to ABC, SBS and commercial television broadcasts, and government subsidies are available to eligible households to assist in the transition.  VAST will give viewers who can not access digital terrestrial television the full range of digital channels via ABC, SBS, Imparja (Nine), Southern Cross Television (Seven) and Ten Central plus a local news channel.

The early and quick transition to digital-only broadcasting in these towns is due to lack of availability of broadcast spectrum to enable simulcasting between analogue and digital for all networks.

regionalvictoria The remainder of the regional Victoria market (outside of Mildura/Sunraysia which has already lost analogue transmission) will lose all analogue TV broadcasts on 5 May 2011.

More information on the digital transition, including details of the household assistance schemes, can be found at the Digital Ready website or telephone 1300201013.

Source: Digital Ready

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Seven wins 2010

7_2000s The Seven Network has won the ratings battle for the fourth consecutive year – but all three commercial networks will have something to smile about.

Seven won the ratings year (which concluded yesterday) with an overall audience share of 28.7 per cent (6pm-12mn, 5 cities), followed by Nine (27.7), Ten (21.2), ABC (16.9) and SBS (5.6).

As far as individuals channels go, Seven (24.6) won against Nine (23.5), Ten (19.7), ABC1 (14.5), SBS1 (5.0), GO! (3.8), 7TWO (3.5), 7mate (2.7), GEM (1.7), ABC2 (1.6), One (1.4), SBS2 (0.6) and ABC3 and ABC News 24 (both 0.5).

packedtotheraftersTopping Seven’s ratings list is Packed To The Rafters (pictured), Australia’s Got Talent, the AFL Grand Final (and the re-match), Such Is Life: The Troubled Times Of Ben Cousins, the Melbourne Cup and the men’s final of the Australian Open.

Seven News, Today Tonight, Sunrise, The Morning Show and Weekend Sunrise all outrated their Nine Network rivals.

mykitchenrules My Kitchen Rules
(pictured) returned strong ratings but failed to dampen any enthusiasm for the return of Ten’s Masterchef Australia. The X Factor, despite all the hype, promotion and expense, failed to hit any significant ratings highs but returned decent ratings with a last-minute increase as the series came to a climax.  Dancing With The Stars also returned solid ratings as it ran its tenth series and Beauty And The Geek drew big numbers for what is normally a lack lustre Thursday night.

But not everything went Seven’s way this year.  The White Room, The Bounce, Australia Versus and Beat The Star were all prime-time ratings flops.  Iron Chef failed to gain a significant hold on the audience.  Home And Away, which has just ended its 23rd year, was beaten by repeats of US sitcom Two And A Half Men on Nine, and the future of City Homicide appears uncertain.

The Nine Network (i.e. Nine, GO! and GEM) is claiming victory in the advertiser-friendly demographics of 18-49, 16-39 and 25-54 age groups, although Nine’s primary channel was beaten by Ten in 16-39 age group viewers.

theblock Nine’s biggest hit of 2010 was drama series Underbelly 3: The Golden Mile.  Nine also scored well with the NRL State Of Origin and NRL Grand Final.  Reality show The Farmer Wants A Wife returned solid ratings, while The Block (pictured), however, perhaps fell short of expectations but still managed decent numbers. Hey Hey It’s Saturday, which aired on Wednesday nights before being reinstated to its traditional Saturday night spot, has struggled to maintain significant support outside of Melbourne and its future is yet to be decided.  Top Gear and its Australian version rated well.  Sydney-based police drama Cops LAC failed to click with viewers.

The TV Week Logie Awards scored slightly lower than last year though this time it had to contend with competition from Masterchef Australia.

Nine continues to draw heavily on Two And A Half Men to boost its numbers, not just on Nine but also on digital channel GO!  Eddie McGuire’s Millionaire Hot Seat is now paying dividends against Seven’s Deal Or No Deal.

masterchef_adam For Network Ten, as well as the primary channel taking out the 16-39 age group, the biggest hit was once again Masterchef Australia.  Like last year the series broke new post-2001 ratings records with more than 4 million viewers tuning in to see the winner, Adam Liaw (pictured) announced.  The series spin-off Junior Masterchef started on a ratings high but despite the inevitable ratings drop that followed it still sat at the top end of the ratings ladder.

Apart from the Masterchef titles the top of Ten’s list of ratings performers were predominantly imported programs – Modern Family, NCIS, Glee and Undercover Boss – although Shaun Micallef’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation was a strong performer as was the Australian adaptation of Undercover Boss and the new factual series Keeping Up With The Joneses.  The special Hamish And Andy’s Caravan Of Courage: Great Britain And Ireland and the telemovie Hawke were also ratings hits. 

offspring New drama series Offspring (starring Asher Keddie, pictured) returned good Sunday night figures, particularly with younger viewers, although the Thursday night series Rush has struggled to be consistent and has seen ratings fall.  Both shows have been renewed for 2011.

The elephant in Ten’s room this year, however, is the Commonwealth Games.  The 11-day competition, traditionally a ratings winner, failed to return any significant ratings results for Ten, although it did give a boost to sports channel One.  The effect of the Games, which took Ten’s entire prime-time schedule out of circulation for two weeks, has seen shows like The 7PM Project and Neighbours lose any sense of ratings momentum they might have had pre-Games and saw viewers flock to digital channels in search of other viewing options.  The 7PM Project has seen its numbers slowly claw back to somewhere near decent, but Neighbours continues to stumble and has hit hit new ratings lows this year but will live on next year on Ten’s new digital channel, 11.

ABC’s The Gruen Transfer was among its highest raters this year, and its election-themed spin-off, Gruen Nation, topped the national broadcaster’s ratings list this year.  Spicks And Specks and The Chaser’s Yes We Canberra were strong performers, along with imported shows Midsomer Murders, Doc Martin and New Tricks.  Drama series Rake, starring Richard Roxburgh, got off to a high-rating start but ratings quickly fell.  The network also had to get the axe out – a rare occasion – for its Wednesday night series, Strictly Speaking, which returned ratings that even had ABC hanging its head in shame.

SBS, which has lost the Top Gear franchise to Nine, saw ratings fall this year, though the network scored well with the FIFA World Cup, from South Africa, with the match between Ghana and Australia being watched by over 1.3 million viewers.

Networks now go into summer non-ratings mode until February, though viewing data is still collected and reported to networks over the non-ratings period.

Seven wins ‘09
It’s Seven in ‘08
Seven wins ‘07

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Ray Dinneen to sign off from NBN News

raydinneen Veteran NBN newsreader Ray Dinneen has announced that he will be retiring from the newsdesk next month, ending a career spanning 36 years.

He will present his final NBN News bulletin on 17 December.  Weekend newsreader Paul Lobb will take on the weekday newsreading role after Dinneen’s departure.

NBN is the Nine Network’s regional broadcaster, based in Newcastle and broadcasting through Northern NSW from Gosford and the Central Coast up to the Gold Coast in Queensland.  NBN News presents a nightly bulletin containing local and national news.

Source: NBN

Final episode for Talking Heads

peterthompson ABC’s weekly interview program Talking Heads with Peter Thompson (pictured) signs off next week for the last time.

The half-hour program, based in South Australia, started in March 2005 and since then has featured almost 250 guests from all walks of life. The program has delivered a startling insight into its guests’ backgrounds and personal and professional histories as well as highlighting some of the significant moments and people in their lives.

Some of the TV names to have featured in the program over the last six years have included Paul Mercurio (the show’s first interviewee), Max Gillies, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Lorraine Bayly, Paul Cronin, Simon Townsend, Clive Robertson, Toni Lamond, Jeff McMullen, Jeanne Little, Stuart Wagstaff, Noeline Brown, Graeme Blundell, Shane Bourne, Bill Collins, Denise Drysdale, Patricia Lovell, Barry Crocker, John Blackman, Hazel Phillips, Wendy Hughes, Todd McKenney, Googie Withers, John McCallum, John Clarke, Lorrae Desmond, Rex Hunt, Posie Graeme-Evans, Tina Arena, John Wood, Anne Deveson, Garry McDonald, Richard Roxburgh, Mark Holden, Ray Martin and Kerry Armstrong.

The final Talking Heads features environmentalist David Suzuki.

Talking Heads – final episode. Monday 29 November, 6.30pm. ABC1

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

1990: November 24-30

tvweek_241190 Summer Bay shocks!
While pregnant Bobby (Nicolle Dickson) collapses in the Summer Bay diner, the closing episodes of the 1990 season of Home And Away will also deliver news of some new romances.  Pippa Fletcher (Debra Lawrence), who lost husband Tom (Roger Oakley) in dramatic circumstances earlier this year, falls for Summer Bay newcomer Michael Ross (Dennis Coard), while teenager Sophie (Rebekah Elmaloglou, pictured) sparks up a relationship with his son Hayden (Andrew Hill).

Hey Hey It’s Saturday’s Red Symons has recently been married – twice!  Symons and his bride, Elly Agrotis, had a private Greek wedding for close friends and family at an East Melbourne Greek Orthodox church before exchanging vows again at a civil ceremony in a trendy South Yarra restaurant.  Guests at the second “showbiz” wedding included Hey Hey It’s Saturday’s Daryl Somers (with wife Julie), Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum and Wilbur Wilde, Skyhooks mates Graeme ‘Shirley’ Strachan, Greg Macainsh and ‘Bongo’ Starkie, actor Kim Gyngell and comedian Glenn Robbins.  The day also marked a second local showbusiness wedding, with Acropolis Now’s Simon Palomares and Tracey Callander also tying the knot in Melbourne.

stevevizard If it’s New Year this must be… Ethiopia
Tonight Live host Steve Vizard (pictured) will be seeing in the year 1991 on location in Ethiopia as he will be on location producing a one-hour special for World Vision to go to air on the Seven Network around Easter.  “I’ve never been to Ethiopia.  It will be an eye-opener.  But I think it’s a worthwhile thing to do.  It’s one of those things you can do as a personality because personalities are in a position to get people to watch something they might not otherwise watch,” he told TV Week.  Actress Rowena Wallace, who has made several trips before for World Vision, will also be involved in this latest documentary.

timferguson Briefly…
The Doug Anthony Allstars, one of the popular acts from ABC’s The Big Gig, are to start work soon on their own series, DAAS Kapital.  “There will be slam-bam action, high adventure, lots of violence, raw energy, sexual prowess – all that and more!” says group member Tim Ferguson (pictured).  The new series will appear on ABC and Ferguson says there has already been interest in the series from Thames Television in the United Kingdom.

Home And Away star Adam Willits has only just completed his final scenes with the popular drama and is already walking straight into his next role – appearing alongside Julie McGregor in Hampton House, the spin-off from the popular sitcom Hey Dad! A pilot for the new series has been taped and if Seven gives the go-ahead then the series will go into production in April.

Video Smash Hits co-host Michael Horrocks is heading on an around-the-world trip to record interviews for the Seven Network Saturday morning show.  Horrocks’ list of interviewees is set to include Belinda Carlisle, Alice Cooper, Young MC, Nelson, Bobby McFerrin and – hopefully – Prince.  “He’s notoriously hard to interview,” Horrocks told TV Week.

Lawrie Masterson’s Sound Off
”If anything good can be said about Backchat, it’s that it at least prevents credible ABC television productions from starting at odd times such as 9.22 or 8.13.  It in fact serves to fill in time.  Some at the ABC hanker after “sponsorship” (“commercials” is still a beep word) to do that job, but while others recoil at the suggestion in big enough numbers, it’s not going to happen.  So I guess we’re stuck with Backchat… and Media Watch (which at least manages to rise above the inconsequential on most occasions, and so it should with all that staff!) and news updates, whether there’s anything to update or not.”

mollymeldrum_hhis Program Highlights (November 24-30):
  The Seven Network presents Ausmusic ‘90, a five-hour live broadcast for the first ever National Australian Music Day, covering concerts taking place around Australia.  Heading the line-up of performers are John Farnham, The Black Sorrows, Paul Kelly And The Messengers, Wendy Matthews, Ian Moss, Kate Ceberano, Boom Crash Opera, Crowded House, Tim Finn, Mental As Anything and IcehouseIan ‘Molly’ Meldrum (pictured), from Nine’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday, is given special permission by Nine to present the telecast, linking together the concerts taking place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Sunday:  Sunday night movies are The Alamo: Thirteen Days To Glory (HSV7), Table For Five (GTV9) and The Long Riders (ATV10).  ABC’s Esso Night At The Opera presents the Australian Opera production of The Gypsy Princess.

Monday: Major cost-cutting measures at the Ten Network, including the sacking of around 300 staff, sees Ten Evening News in Melbourne trimmed from one-hour to a 30-minute bulletin.  The remaining half-hour is now occupied by re-runs of a US sitcom, the somewhat aptly-titled Too Close For Comfort.

Wednesday:  ABC presents the final edition of science program Quantum for 1990, before screening a repeat of the 1988 mini-series The Four Minute Mile, starring Nique Needles, Tracy Mann, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, John O’May and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell.

Thursday:  HSV7 crosses to Sydney for the first day of the Australian Open from the Australian Golf Club.  Commentators are Sandy Roberts, Jack Newton and Bruce McAvaney.  Coverage will continue every afternoon through to Sunday.  GTV9 presents live coverage of the Benson And Hedges World Series Cup: Australia versus New Zealand.  Coverage starts at 2.20pm, taking a break for National Nine News and A Current Affair, then continuing through to 10.30pm.  HSV7 presents the last episode of Home And Away for 1990.

Friday:  ABC presents the final Gardening Australia for 1990. 

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 24 November 1990. Southdown Press.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Turning the lights out at Television City

sirdallasbrookes It started life at the turn of the 20th century as a piano factory, and then a soup factory.

Then, in 1956, the building at Bendigo Street, Richmond, became part of the dawn of the new industry of television and went from producing 57 varieties of soup to a variety of a completely different kind.

For over fifty years it has been ‘Hollywood-on-the-Yarra’ as it has produced television programs – variety, drama, comedy, children’s programs, sports, news and current affairs – that are among the most loved and most popular in the country.

gtv9_opening It was where the Victorian governor Sir Dallas Brooks (pictured, above) made his grand entrance on GTV9’s opening night – 19 January 1957 – by entering the studio in a chauffeur-driven limousine. The two-hour variety program that followed, featuring names like Bob and Dolly Dyer, Toni Lamond, Frank Sheldon, Ron Blaskett, Terry Dear and Lou Toppano’s orchestra, certainly set the tone that this new channel was going to have a clear focus on light entertainment and variety – and it certainly delivered that in the decades that followed.

grahambert A few months after GTV9’s lavish opening night, a shy radio star named Graham Kennedy made his first TV appearance and shortly after made his TV hosting debut on a variety show, In Melbourne Tonight. The show would continue for over a decade and earned Kennedy the nickname of the King of Australian TV. It is a title that nobody has dared to challenge ever since.

In 1959, Kennedy was joined by Bert Newton (pictured, right, with Kennedy in 1964) – a personality from rival channel HSV7 who had resigned from his employer on-camera before making the move to GTV9. For his debut at GTV9 he was placed next to Kennedy to present a commercial during IMT. It was the beginning of a long-running professional partnership and a personal friendship that would last decades.

bertanddon In 1964, with a new rival TV channel – ATV0 – about to debut, GTV9 expanded its premises to a new state-of-the-art studio, Studio 9. It was a studio built specifically for IMT but would go on to host a list of productions in the years that followed – including New Faces, The Graham Kennedy Show, The Don Lane Show (pictured), The Ernie Sigley Show, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, The Paul Hogan Show, Family Feud, Sale Of The Century, The Daryl Somers Show, Tonight With Bert Newton, Blankety Blanks, All Together Now, The Price Is Right, The Footy Show, Burgo’s Catch Phrase, Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, Starstuck, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Temptation, Bert’s Family Feud and Millionaire Hot Seat.

As well as variety and light entertainment shows, 22 Bendigo Street – or ‘Television City’ as it became known – was home to several drama series including Emergency, one of the earliest TV drama series ever made in Australia, Division 4, The Sullivans, Starting Out, The Flying Doctors, All The Way, Chances, Halifax fp and Stingers.

ericpearce Eric Pearce (pictured) and American Jack Little formed Melbourne’s (if not Australia’s) first newsreading duo, later making way for others including Brian Naylor, who read the news from Bendigo Street for twenty years, Peter Hitchener and Jo Hall. Mike Walsh hosted a 1960s version of Today, and Tanya Halesworth (and later Mickie de Stoop) hosted a daytime current affairs program, No Man’s Land, in the 1970s.

This Saturday night, the Nine Network pays tribute to the stars and the shows that have come from the famous studios as it prepares to move out from the building.

After Daryl Somers and his team sign off from the final episode of Hey Hey It’s Saturday for 2010 from Studio 9, Nine will cross to Bert Newton and Eddie McGuire in Studio 1, back where it all began with Sir Dallas Brookes and the early days of IMT, to present Lights, Camera, Party! – Television City Celebrates.

The two-hour special will feature some of the people, programs and magic moments that have featured from the legendary television studios over the past 53 years. The studio audience for the program will be made up entirely of past and present Nine Network personalities.

gtv9_22bendigostreet The building at 22 Bendigo Street was purchased by Vivas Lend Lease earlier this year with a plan to redevelop the historic site as a residential and retail precinct. The building’s original red brick exterior is heritage protected but the remainder of the site, including extensions such as Studio 9, will be redeveloped and will include some design aspects that will acknowledge the site’s significant heritage.

GTV9 has entered into a long-term agreement with the inner city Docklands Studios for future large scale productions – while other functions of the channel will be relocated to new premises in the Docklands precinct nearby.

Somers, whose TV career began as host of Cartoon Corner and Hey Hey It’s Saturday in the early 1970s, had previously suggested that part of the redevelopment be reserved for a TV museum and he has now been reported to be considering producing a documentary on the history of the famous studios.

Lights, Camera, Party! – Television City Celebrates. Saturday 27 November, 9.40pm. Nine (Melbourne – other areas check local guides)

Source: Herald Sun

Saturday, 20 November 2010

1990: November 17-23

tvweek_171190 Livvy’s Christmas surprise!
After a seven-year break from acting, former Aussie star Olivia Newton-John (pictured) is making her dramatic TV debut in a telemovie, A Mom For Christmas.  The movie, currently in production in Cincinatti, Ohio, is set to go to air in the US on Christmas Eve.  The Seven Network has decided to hold off screening the telemovie in Australia until next Christmas.

Meet ACP’s new matron
The contracts are still being finalised, but JNP Productions have announced that actress Maureen Edwards will be taking on the role of the new matron in A Country Practice – replacing Mary Regan, whose character Ann Brennan makes her departure from the series early in the new year.  Edwards’ other recent TV appearances have included roles in Skirts and, ironically, A Country Practice.  In her last ACP appearance, Edwards played Sydney neurosurgeon Katherine D’Angelo.

andrewolle Counter attack
’s 4 Corners host and radio 2BL morning presenter Andrew Olle (pictured) has spoken in defence of A Current Affair host Jana Wendt over her recent interview with Bob Hawke, where she questioned the honesty of his emotions over China, that is said to have enraged the prime minister.  “I think it is great that he’s been reminded that it is not just ABC interviewers who sometimes ask him tough questions,” Olle told TV Week.  “He and several ministers in his Government have almost made a point of being nasty to the ABC whenever they get a chance.  I interviewed Hawke about the coup in Fiji.  It became very tense.  He was in Adelaide, I was in Sydney.  Afterwards, he strolled off the set and in a foul-mouthed way let off steam to all the people in the studio, being very unpleasant to all and sundry.”  Olle also lists Wendt amongst the peers he most admires:  “She has a wonderful detachment.  I like the way she has been to resist the commercial machine, which gets hold of a woman and shapes her as a commercial property.  And she is very nice person… not an easy thing to be with al the adulation that comes her way.”  He also talked about an offer to join Nine’s 60 Minutes, but decided that professional satisfaction and his ABC salary is worth more than the bigger budgets on offer by commercial television.  “There is more money to be made outside,” he says.  “But you have to consider what it means to your life.  It has to be weighed up: satisfaction and greed.”

Legendary daytime soap opera Days Of Our Lives has recently celebrated 25 years on air in the US, having started in November 1965, although in Australia the series starting screening in 1968 and at this stage is two years behind the US.

warwickcapper Aussie rules footballer Warwick Capper (pictured), appearing as a contestant in Celebrity Family Feud this week, has told TV Week he has ambitions to be a film and TV star.  He made his acting debut in three episodes of Neighbours back in 1987, alongside Kylie Minogue, and is keen to try a “longer, ongoing role”. 

It’s a dramatic season finale coming up for Home And Away when pregnant Bobby Simpson (Nicolle Dickson) experiences stomach cramps and collapses in the Summer Bay diner.  She is rushed to hospital and admitted to intensive care, but Seven’s publicists are saying nothing about the outcome which is set to be revealed when the series returns in the new year.

John Laws says…
”The ABC screened an entertaining documentary about life in Australia in the Fifties and Sixties.  It was called The Baby Boomers Picture Show and for those of us for whom it had relevance it was a nostalgic look at life as we often remember it to have been.  The Baby Boomers, though, gave us an Australia through rose-tinted glasses.  It saw the past as having possessed a dream-like quality of contentment, happiness, innocence and mateship.  Which is true, but only to a certain extent.  There was misery, war, uncertainty, murder and poverty in the Fifties and early Sixties, but despite this, street kids were exactly that, kids who played in the street.  Crack was something you found in the pavement and “heroin” was the female lead in a movie.”

Program Highlights (November 17-23):
  The final day of the 1990 ratings year brings the final Hey Hey It’s Saturday for the year, with a special three-hour show featuring Noiseworks, Daryl Braithwaite, Icehouse, The Chimes and Ita Buttrose.  HSV7 presents the one-hour special Agro’s 10th Birthday, featuring Cartoon Connection’s Agro visiting the sets of fellow Seven programs Hinch, Fast Forward, Tonight Live With Steve Vizard and Hey Dad!

Sunday:  ABC presents the series final of its popular dance competition That’s Dancin’.  Sunday night movies are Red Dawn (HSV7) and Priest Of Love (ATV10).  GTV9 presents the first part of mini-series Crossings, and ABC presents Esso Night At The Opera, featuring the Australian Opera’s production of War And Peace.

Monday:  Australian actress Sigrid Thornton stars in the US series Paradise, returning tonight on HSV7Andrew Denton’s The Money Or The Gun (ABC) presents its final episode for 1990.  With Tonight Live With Steve Vizard now on its summer break, HSV7 replaces it with a late-night edition of Seven Nightly News with newsreader Naomi Robson.

Wednesday:  Country singer James Blundell guest stars in the 1990 series final of The Flying Doctors (GTV9).

Thursday:  ABC drama series Embassy finishes up for 1990.

Friday:  Test Cricket begins for the season as GTV9 crosses to the Gabba, Brisbane, for the first day’s play of the first test between Australia and England. 

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 17 November 1990. Southdown Press.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Eric Fullilove

ericfulliloveFilm and television producer and director Eric Fullilove, one of the names behind legendary series Skippy The Bush Kangaroo and a pioneer producer for SBS, has died at the age of 85.

An established film producer with many years’ experience, English-born Fullilove first came to Australia with the Royal Navy in 1952 to film the detonation of the first British atomic bomb, in the Montebello Islands off the West Australian coast. 

By the mid-1960s, Fullilove emigrated to Australia as a “Ten Pound Pom” and became involved in Australia’s fledgling film and television industry – working on programs including Boney, Barrier Reef, Catch Kandy and Song For Melbourne.

He was a director for TV series Skippy The Bush Kangaroo – and met his future wife, Paddy Barker, on the set.

threeseawolves Fullilove (pictured, above, in 1980) was a producer and director of various programs for multicultural Channel 0/28 (now SBS) in its early days – including telemovie The Three Sea Wolves (pictured), which aired on the channel’s opening night in 1980, current affairs programs SCOOP and Forum and dramas City West and The Liberation of Skopje.

Eric Fullilove is survived by Paddy, his children Julie, Michael and Christian and their partners, and seven grandchildren.

Source: TV Week, 18 October 1980; Sydney Morning Herald

Saturday, 13 November 2010

US stars head to Telethon

johntravolta US actors John Travolta (pictured) and Carrie Fisher head the list of guest stars to appear at this year’s Telethon, taking place this weekend in Perth.

Travolta, in Australia for Qantas’ recent 90th anniversary, and Fisher, who’s been performing her play Wishful Drinking across Australia, will be joined by stars from various Seven Network programs, including Packed To The Rafters, Sunrise, The Morning Show, Home And Away, City Homicide, Dancing With The Stars and My Kitchen Rules, for the 43rd annual telethon which raises funds for children’s charities in Western Australia.

Also appearing will be Justice Crew, the winners of this year’s series of Australia’s Got Talent, Marcia Hines, Jessica Mauboy, Potbelleez, Kate Ceberano, Damian Leith, Stan Walker, Wes Carr, Mark Vincent and Amy Meredith.

Local Seven Network personalities taking part in Telethon include Seven NewsRick Ardon, Susannah Carr, Basil Zempilas, Natalia Cooper, Emmy Kubainksi, Sally Bowrey and Adrian Barich and Today Tonight’s Monika Kos.

jeffnewman_0001 Last year’s Telethon raised $6,374,775 which was distributed to over 20 charities. Since its launch in 1968, Telethon has raised around $94 million so this year should bring the grand total to over $100 million.

Telethon, being held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, begins tonight (Saturday) at 6.30pm (WST) and continues through to 8.30pm Sunday and will be broadcast through Seven in Perth and the Golden West Network in regional WA.

EDIT @ 14.47 AEDST 14.11.2010: John Travolta has had to withdraw from his planned appearance at Telethon after his pregnant wife, Kelly Preston, went into labour. He was intended to appear in the closing stages of Telethon tonight but is now heading back to the US to be with his wife. Seven's Perth general manager Ray Waldrop has told media: "Whilst we are obviously disappointed that John can't come to Perth to appear on Telethon, we completely understand that his family comes first. Channel Seven, and I am sure everyone in Western Australia, send our best wishes to John and his family.''

UPDATED @ 23.57 AEDST 14.11.2010: Telethon has signed off for 2010 with a record total of $9,237,539.  This now pushes Telethon’s total fundraising amount over 43 years past the $100 million mark.

Source: Telethon, PerthNow

New digital channels for Spencer Gulf, Broken Hill

southerncrossgtsbkn Southern Cross Media has announced the digital channels that it will be launching in the Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill regions in 2011 after the shutdown of local analogue transmissions.

As part of the recent arrangements between regional broadcasters and the Federal Government in extending the commercial networks’ digital multi-channels to remote and regional areas, Southern Cross Media will be launching channels 7TWO, 7mate, GO!, GEM and One in Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill.

Southern Cross Media’s Victoria/South Australian Group General Manager Rick Lenarcic said the channels should be on air in the first half of 2011:

“With analogue TV switching off we will have the transmission capacity to
start these new digital channels in the first half of next year.  We expect to have the first of them on air early in the new year and hopefully all will be available by the end of June 2011”

Southern Cross is still in negotiation with Network Ten about carriage of the new entertainment channel, 11, which launches in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth on 11 January.

The broadcaster, which has a commercial monopoly in the Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill regions, recently launched a local broadcast of the Nine Network, exclusively in digital, to complement its existing channels Southern Cross GTS/BKN (affiliated to the Seven Network) and Southern Cross Ten.

Local analogue transmissions of Southern Cross GTS/BKN, Southern Cross Ten and national broadcasters ABC and SBS will cease on 15 December.

Source: SC Media

Digital conversion goes up slightly

digitalgetready The latest Digital Tracker survey for 2010, covering the period June to September, has shown that 75 per cent of Australian households have made the switch to digital television.

This is up from 74 per cent in the previous quarter and 56 per cent in the same quarter last year.

The biggest increase this quarter was recorded in Regional Western Australia, where digital conversion leapt up from 49 per cent of households to 58 per cent in this quarter – possibly inspired by the belated digital roll-out of commercial TV in parts of the state, and the arrival of a new digital-only channel, Ten West.

Regional South Australia, which is due to lose analogue transmissions in just over a month from now, recorded an increase from 77 per cent to 81 per cent of households converted, while Regional Victoria (due to lose analogue transmission in May 2011) recorded an increase from 76 to 79 per cent.

Curiously, Melbourne and Sydney both recorded drops when compared to the last quarter – both falling by 3 per cent each to 74 and 68 per cent respectively.  As the audience sample no doubt changes over time there is expected to be some fluctuations.

Mildura/Sunraysia, which was the first to lose analogue transmission back in June, is no longer surveyed but the national figure takes into account the local 99 per cent conversion rate as measured at the time of the analogue shutdown.

Outside of Mildura the highest conversion rates were recorded in Tasmania (86 per cent) and Darwin (87 per cent).

Nationally, awareness of the digital transition (across the markets that are yet to lose analogue) is at 95 per cent which is the same level as at the previous quarter.

The Digital Tracker survey, which started in January 2009, is carried out by the Digital Switchover Taskforce of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Source: Digital Ready

Thursday, 11 November 2010

WIN says less News is more

win_2008 The pending switchover from analogue to digital television has seen regional broadcaster WIN’s South Australian branch last month restructure its local news service and cut staff numbers.  This is despite the broadcaster being part of the Government’s recently-announced $34 million assistance package to help regional broadcasters in South Australia and Western Australia meet the cost of upgrading to digital infrastructure and adopting the commercial networks’ new digital channels.

WIN currently has a commercial monopoly in the Mount Gambier and Riverland districts in South Australia, where its primary channels (SES and RTS respectively) are aligned to the Seven Network, and it also provides local broadcasts of the Ten and Nine network signals from Adelaide.  The Nine-based channel, WIN9, is broadcasting exclusively in digital.

The costs associated in conversion to digital have seen some administrative staff made redundant from the Mount Gambier station – and the decision has been made to merge the separate Mount Gambier and Riverland half-hour news bulletins into a single news bulletin broadcast across both regions.

WIN South Australia Graeme Gilbertson told ABC Radio:

“An option was that we discontinue our local news altogether as some regional operators have chosen to do.

"There's no reduction in the way in which we cover our news, it just means that some of the stories may not be as long as they were.  Some of the stories in order to fill the half an hour were oddly long. If you watch news bulletins elsewhere, you'll see that the stories are more compact and there's more in it.

"The viewers will see a more compact, a racier bulletin and they're going to benefit with a better service."

Mr Gilbertson also said the network was not closing its local newsrooms or centralising the production of news to Adelaide – where WIN also owns NWS9.

More staff cuts, however, are expected with the centralisation of WIN’s on-air presentation.  WIN has entered into a joint venture with ABC to set up MediaHub, a centralised playout facility in Sydney that will ultimately co-ordinate all on-air content for both broadcasters across Australia. 

ABC has had some well-documented ‘teething problems’ with MediaHub – and the gremlins have also crept into WIN’s on-air presentation as its network gradually cuts over its regional and capital city markets to MediaHub.

Regional South Australia, which includes the Mount Gambier and Riverland markets, will lose all existing analogue broadcasts on 15 December.

Source: ABC

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Circle reunites Ernie and Denise

It was a reunion of one of TV’s most popular partnerships when The Circle co-host Denise Drysdale was joined by guest Ernie Sigley on the show.

The pair were a hit with viewers in the mid 1970s on The Ernie Sigley Show, with both of them (pictured, with Hollywood legend John Wayne) winning TV Week Gold Logies in 1975 as the most popular personalities on television.  Drysdale went on to win another Gold Logie the following year.  Their popularity also saw their cover version of the 1960s hit Hey Paula hit the top of the charts in 1974.

tvweek_220375 Their career paths have crossed numerous times in the years that followed, including several years co-hosting the Nine Network’s In Melbourne Today and sister program In Sydney Today, before both programs were amalgamated into Ernie And Denise.

Sigley then returned to radio, presenting the afternoon program on radio 3AW for over a decade, while Drysdale went on to the 1990s revival of In Melbourne Tonight before hosting her own morning show, Denise, on the Seven Network.

The appearance of Sigley next to Drysdale on The Circle – showing that they still have that comic chemistry alongside each other – leads up to a series of live shows to be performed by the duo.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Eleven confirms start date

11_hello Even though the date has been bandied around for a while now – including a mention on a recent Ten News report – it seems Network Ten’s long-awaited digital channel, 11, has only now confirmed its launch date.

On their Twitter page, eleven_tv proclaims:

“It's finally confirmed! We will be launching on 11/1/11 - Exciting stuff!”

At least that’s assumed to be the date for Ten’s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth outlets.  There is still no confirmation or advice regarding the channel being launched in regional areas on Southern Cross Ten, Ten Mildura, Tasmanian Digital Television or Darwin Digital Television.

11 promises to be Ten’s new home for youth-focused entertainment – the target age group is 13-29 year olds – with its evening line-up headlined by The Simpsons and Neighbours.  Both programs will be exclusively on 11 – something that’s a sore point with regional viewers frustrated at the aforementioned lack of a local launch date.

neighbours The channel’s future, months before it even launched, has been the subject of much media speculation following the surprise investment in Network Ten by James Packer.  Although some commentators suggested that Packer’s investment was a sign of confidence that Ten was headed for some good returns with its multi-channel and news strategy, others have been less optimistic and have suggested that Packer only intends to tear down 11, sports channel One HD and Ten’s expansion of its news portfolio, and turn Ten back into a cut-price, no-frills network.

Of course, there has been no public statement from Packer as to his intentions – and in any case he is not set to get a seat on the Ten board until after the company’s AGM next month – but at this point it seems Ten is pressing ahead - ‘business as usual’ – with its plans, regardless of the speculation.

Regional viewers offered digital equality

freeview_channels The Federal Government has partnered with regional broadcasters to ensure that viewers in remote and regional areas will have access to the same amount of channels as their capital city counterparts.

In a media release issued today, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy announced that the Government will provide $34 million over four years to enable commercial broadcasters in regional South Australia, remote and regional Western Australia, and remote and central Australia to install the transmitters that will give viewers access to all digital TV channels via terrestrial broadcast:

“This is an historic outcome for regional Australia   For decades, viewers in smaller TV licence areas have put up with having only two commercial TV channels, often missing out on some of the country’s most popular programming.

“True equalisation of TV services in Australia was long considered impossible; the Gillard Government is proud to have achieved the realisation of what has been a long-held dream for many people in regional and remote Australia as part of the digital switchover program.”

The Government promises to provide 50 per cent of capital and operational costs for the new transmitters until the end of the transition period from analogue television in 2013, with regional broadcasters meeting the remaining and ongoing costs.

tvremote Commercial channels will initially be offered in standard definition only, while the full suite of ABC and SBS channels – including high-definition channels ABC News 24 and SBS1 HD – will be offered.

Once the rollout of the digital TV channels is completed, if any viewer is still unable to access the channels via terrestrial broadcast then they can access the channels through the VAST platform, announced earlier this year.

Regional South Australia – comprising Loxton/Riverland, Mount Gambier/South East, Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill (NSW) markets – is due to lose all existing analogue signals on 15 December this year.  Viewers in these markets can currently access ABC, SBS and local versions of all three commercial networks in digital but as yet none of the extra commercial channels, such as GO!, GEM, 7TWO, 7mate, One or the upcoming channel, 11 – although Southern Cross, covering Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill, has already been assigned broadcast capacity to start broadcasting additional channels after the analogue switch-off is completed in the area.

Commercial operators in Western Australia – Prime (GWN) and WIN – are only now rolling out the first stage of digital transmission, giving viewers access to GWN, WIN and the new Ten West, but today’s announcement will lead to a roll-out of the additional commercial channels. 

Regional commercial broadcasters WIN, Prime, Southern Cross and Imparja will announce the rollout schedule for the new channels in coming days.

Source: DBCDE

Monday, 8 November 2010

1990: November 10-16

tvweek_101190 Missing at sea… to rest a knee!
E Street character Lisa Bennett has disappeared, presumed dead by many of her Westside neighbours, after being shipwrecked with wealthy boyfriend Michael Sturges (Graham Harvey) – but the character’s absence from TV screens is for good cause, as actress Alyssa-Jane Cook (pictured) has had to take time off from the series to recover from knee surgery.  Cook told TV Week that the surgery was needed to fix an old skiing injury that could have wider implications if left unattended.  “If I’d left it until I was older, it would have taken longer to repair and I could have suffered severe arthritis,” she said.


grahamkennedy_5 Publish and be damned?
Graham Kennedy
(pictured) tells TV Week he has refused repeated requests by publishers to pen his autobiography.  “Publishers have asked me about once a month for 30 years for an autobiography, which is flattering – flattering because they obviously think it would sell well,” he said.  “I would want to write it myself and I’m too lazy to face such a daunting task at the moment.”  The closest that the King of Australian television has come to book publishing has been to write the foreword for former colleague Toni Lamond’s recently-launched autobiography, First Half.  Kennedy, who this year gained strong ratings for Nine’s Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Video Show, accepts the fact that should he not get around to writing his memoirs before turning up his toes that someone may choose to write a less-friendly version of his life.  “Sadly, I have no control over that,” he says.

The Seven Network is screening a one-hour special to celebrate the 10th birthday of its puppet megastar Agro, star of the early morning Agro’s Cartoon Connection and the former children’s program Wombat.  The special will feature many of Agro’s Seven Network colleagues including Derryn Hinch, Julie McGregor, Fast Forward’s Pixie-Anne Wheatley (Magda Szubanski, pictured with Agro) and the Dodgey Brothers (Steve Blackburn and Geoff Brooks) and Tonight Live’s Steve Vizard and Jennifer Keyte.    

Former Family And Friends star Rachael Beck has just completed a guest spot on Home And Away, playing the drug-addicted sister of Grant Mitchell (Craig McLachlan).  Beck is now moving to the stage to co-star in A Little Night Music with Geraldine Turner and John Waters.

Actor Kim Gyngell, whose Col’n Carpenter series is likely to be back in 1991, is keen to start work on a film project dedicated to the long-running drama series Homicide.  The film, to be titled Homicide: The Legend Continues, will have an emphasis on the lasting impact that the drama series has had on Australian popular culture.  Gyngell made his acting debut in the original series in the 1970s and has had discussions with director Pino Amenta and actors Ben Mendelsohn, Nadine Garner and Mary Coustas, who have all expressed interest in being involved in the project.

Former Prisoner star Jane Clifton has swapped her prison uniform for a straightjacket in the play Laughing Wild, now playing in Melbourne.  The play, set in New York, takes a farcical look at the community alienation some mentally ill people experience when they move out and try to live “normal” lives.  For Clifton, the play comes just after a 13 week tour of the United Kingdom in the stage production Prisoner Cell Block H, based on the long-running series in which she starred in.

The prospect of an airline career could see Luke Ross make his exit from A Country Practice – but actor Matt Day is not giving anything away.  “You will have to wait and see,” he teases.  “Who knows what the future holds?”  Ross departs Wandin Valley in episodes to air this week as the season finale but his struggles in adapting to city life and the rigorous airline training will feature in episodes to go to air in the new year.

sbs_1985 John Laws says…
SBS’ recent orgy of self-congratulation for having survived – and prospered – for ten years in the TV jungle was, for the most part, well deserved.  For a network that really didn’t have a clue what it was supposed to be doing when it began broadcasting in late 1980, it has commendably earned the label of “true survivor” in the torrid years since.  Importantly, too, it manages to provide a mostly excellent service even though restricted by what can only be described as a tight budget.  It is positively Scrooge-like in its costings when compared to ABC and other TV stations.  SBS has also led the way in freeing up the screening of sexual activity on television.  Was it through coincidence, or design, that on the very night the station screened an hour-long 10th anniversary tribute to itself that it also screened, for the second time, the English movie Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, one of the most sexually explicit to have shown on Australian TV?  But if there is one things SBS does lack it’s a sense of humour.  If it had one or two top-flight comedy programs it would round off its service admirably.”

Program Highlights (November 10-16):
Saturday:  ATV10
’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup Carnival concludes with five hours of the Honda Stakes Day, live from Flemington Racecourse.  GTV9’s afternoon of sport includes the Nissan Sydney 500 Touring Car Race, while ABC presents American basketball, English soccer and American NFL.

Sunday:  The final week of ratings for 1990 will see many programs wind up this week – starting with ATV10’s This Land Australia and The Comedy Company and GTV9’s 60 Minutes.  Sunday night movies are Moonstruck (HSV7), Caddyshack II (GTV9) and Heartburn (ATV10).

letthebloodrunfree Monday:  Sale Of The Century (GTV9) finishes up its 1990 season with the week-long Sports Celebrity Challenge, featuring stars of cricket, athletics, swimming and motor racing.  ABC’s Media Watch and Four Corners present their final editions for 1990, and ATV10’s comedy series Let The Blood Run Free (pictured) also finishes up for the year.  GTV9’s failed soap opera Family And Friends makes a late-night return, playing out the remaining episodes that were not shown following its abrupt cancellation earlier this year.

Tuesday:  A Country Practice, Beyond 2000, GP, The Investigators, The Big Gig and Candid Camera On Australia all present their final episodes for 1990.

Wednesday:  ABC presents a 75-minute special, Bradman, featuring the cricket legend’s first television interview to respected cricket writer Jack Egan.  The special is followed by the final 1990 edition of forum-based discussion program Couchman.

Thursday:  More TV finales with The Home Show (ABC), Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Video Show (GTV9), E Street (ATV10) and Lateline (ABC) presenting their last episodes for 1990.  GTV9’s children’s mini-series The Girl From Tomorrow also comes to a conclusion.

Friday:  Midday With Ray Martin (GTV9) presents its 1990 finale with a special two-hour episode.  Also winding up tonight is Tonight Live With Steve Vizard (HSV7), Burke’s Backyard (GTV9), Sale Of The Century (GTV9), Countrywide (ABC) and Neighbours (ATV10).

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 10 November 1990. Southdown Press.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Sandra Sully signs off from Late News

sandrasully_0001 It was the end of an era last night as Network Ten newsreader Sandra Sully signed off from the Late News for the last time.

The former Canberra correspondent, who’d also had a stint as co-host of Good Morning Australia and the Sydney edition of the 5pm Ten News, took on the role of presenting the network’s 10.30pm bulletin in 1995 – following the departure of newsreader Anne Fulwood to the Seven Network.  With Sully at the helm, the late night edition of Ten News fought off opposition from both the Seven and Nine networks, to the point that neither network now has a significant news coverage at that time of night.

Like with many newsreaders the job often put her in the position of covering some very significant news events.  In 1997 she was on location at Thredbo when the sole survivor of a massive landslide, that claimed the lives of 18 others, was pulled from the wreckage after being trapped for three days.

Then, on the night of September 11, 2001, during the Late News, she was the first in Australia to break the news of a passenger plane flying into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York, and would continue to present news into the night as the tragic events unfolded.

In 2005 she had an exclusive interview with former Iraq hostage Douglas Wood.

As well as covering major news events, Sully has a lighter side – as host of the former quiz show Australia’s Brainiest, as co-host and interviewer on Network Ten’s annual Melbourne Cup coverage, hosting the annual Australian Of The Year presentation and not to forget her often lighthearted handover to Sports Tonight presenter Brad McEwen on the Late News.

Sandra Sully leaves the late-night timeslot to focus on her new role, anchoring the Sydney edition of Ten’s new 6.30pm bulletin which is due to launch early in 2011.

Ten has yet to announce who will formally take over the role of newsreader for the Late News bulletin.

YouTube: Ten

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The signs… they are a-changin’

tcn9_sign_old For Sydney’s TCN9, it’s the end of an era as the famous “TCN9” lettering (pictured, right) that has appeared outside the station’s Willoughby premises for fifty years has been replaced.

According to Nine’s Facebook page, the old signage has been taken away for cleaning and preservation, while a shiny new “9” logo (pictured, below) now takes its place.

TCN9 has occupied the Willoughby site since its inception in 1956 – although the station’s earliest programs emanated from a church hall in Surry Hills as the Willoughby site was yet to be finished.  It is the only one of Sydney’s three commercial channels to still be based at its original premises.  TEN10 moved out of its original North Ryde studios back in the early 1990s, while ATN7 has moved out of its Epping studios to the inner suburb of Redfern, with news operations based in the Sydney CBD.

tcn9_sign_new Thanks to The Spy Report for the heads up.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Melbourne Cup: 1960, 1970, 1980


The running of the 100th Melbourne Cup, on 1 November 1960, was a significant one for television. It was the first time the race was telecast direct to Sydney in a rare co-operative effort between Sydney’s three TV channels – ABN2, ATN7 and TCN9. The direct telecast, scheduled to run for about half-an-hour, included the race, the presentation of the Cup and interviews with the winning jockey, trainer and owner.

ABC’s Michael Charlton hosted the coverage and the commentary of the race was given by ABC’s Joe Brown – whose commentary was also broadcast through ABC radio nationally and overseas through Radio Australia – with TCN9’s Ken Howard presenting the post-race interviews. The telecast was directed and produced by Ron Davis of Melbourne’s GTV9.

Meanwhile, Melbourne viewers – denied the chance to see the race live on television until the late 1970s – would have to make do with delayed coverage of the race during the evening news bulletins on ABV2, HSV7 and GTV9. The film of the race would also be shown during In Melbourne Tonight (GTV9) and Sports Cavalcade (ABV2) and after The Bobby Limb Show on HSV7.

melbournecup_0001 But, being the centenary running of the Melbourne Cup, ABV2 and HSV7 presented special programs devoted to the history of the event. ABV2’s The Cup – 100 Years was screened on Cup Eve and tracked the history of the event from Archer’s win of the very first Melbourne Cup in 1861. The special, which required more than three months of research, also included film footage of the 1897 Melbourne Cup.

HSV7 presented a one-hour Cup Eve special. The program, hosted by Michael Williamson with racing commentator Bill Collins, included newsreel footage of past Melbourne Cup races, dating back to the 1930s, and covered the important races leading up to the current event. The program also featured commentators from local and interstate newspapers with their selections for the day’s races.

melbournecup_0002 Ten years later, the 1970 Melbourne Cup was televised live to interstate viewers but continued to be a delayed telecast within Victoria. ABV2 and ABC regional stations in Victoria presented delayed coverage of the race at 6.00pm and again at 8.00pm. GTV9, which presented a ten-minute Cup preview the night before, also had its delayed coverage at 6.00pm. HSV7 – always keen to get one above its main rival – scheduled its delayed broadcast for 5.55pm. All four Melbourne channels featured the race in their main evening bulletins.

By the time 1980 came around, the telecast of the Melbourne Cup was a major television event. The Ten Network, presenting the Cup coverage for the third year running, started its day’s coverage with a 90-minute preview before crossing to Flemington Racecourse for six hours of live broadcast. The host broadcaster, ATV10, had seventeen cameras placed at strategic points around the track. Their coverage was headed by Phil Gibbs, with races called by Clem Dimsey, with the six-hour telecast also featuring Ray Warren (from TEN10 Sydney), Rob Readings (TVQ0 Brisbane) and John O’Neil (SAS10 Adelaide). Everyday co-host Annette Allison (pictured, below) hosted the fashion and celebrity interviews.

annetteallison_0001 Network Ten’s 1980 coverage was also relayed direct to New Zealand, and remote areas in Australia saw the coverage via ABC through a special arrangement made with Ten. With nationwide coverage, it was at the time reported to being the largest sporting telecast ever undertaken in Australia.

Network Ten continued to cover the Melbourne Cup every year up until 2001. This year’s Melbourne Cup will be broadcast live tomorrow (Tuesday 2 November) through the Seven Network.

Source: TV Times (27 October 1960), The Age (27 October 1960), TV Times (28 October 1970), TV Week (1 November 1980), The Age (30 October 1980)