Thursday, 29 September 2011

Weekend brings change to Ten News

sandrasully_0001 Some changes happening to Ten News this weekend – one that signals the end of a significant era and another that starts what Ten hopes will spark renewed interest in a brand that has taken something of a battering this year in both ratings and scheduling.

Tomorrow night will see the final sign-off from the late night edition of Ten News.  The bulletin, launched in 1991 at the height of the first Gulf War, had been fronted by Eric Walters and then Anne Fulwood.  The popularity of the bulletin saw Fulwood poached by the Seven Network in 1995 to launch their own 10.30pm newscast.  Sandra Sully (pictured) was then promoted to front Ten’s late news bulletin and it was a role that she made her own as Ten’s late news presence went on to outlast the equivalent news bulletins from Seven and Nine.

When Ten announced significant changes to their news schedule last year, Sully made an emotional farewell from the Late News as she was preparing to present the Sydney edition of the new 6.30pm Ten Evening News.  The move was short-lived as the state-based 6.30pm newscasts failed to make significant inroads against the national Today Tonight and A Current Affair programs.  With the cancellation of the 6.30pm bulletin in March, Sully was moved back to familiar territory as the late night newsreader.

However, following a review of the network’s strategic direction and programming, Ten has since decided to axe the late night Ten News bulletin and the Sports Tonight segment which has accompanied it since 1993 – although the Sports Tonight brand will continue within Ten’s 5.00pm newscast.  The programs join the 24-year-old Video Hits and the all-sports schedule for One HD as casualties of the network’s new strategic direction headed by interim CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

deborahknight Although Sully will read her final bulletin tonight, the final edition of the late night Ten News and Sports Tonight programs will go to air tomorrow night from midnight in Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin, Tasmania and Perth – bumped to the later timeslot due to the special Grand Final edition of Before The Game earlier in the evening – and 10.30pm in Sydney and Brisbane.  From next week, Sully moves to Sydney’s Ten News At Five weeknight newscast alongside Bill Woods.  Where this leaves the bulletin’s current female presenter Deborah Knight (pictured) is to be seen although some reports suggest she may be a candidate for Ten’s planned new breakfast program.

tennewsweekend On Sunday, Ten News launches a revamp of its weekend evening newscast by replacing the existing half-hour bulletins at 5.00pm and 6.00pm with a single, national 90-minute program from 5.00pm fronted by Natarsha Belling and Matt Doran (pictured) joined by Sports Tonight presenter Rob Canning and weather presenter Magdalena Roze.

The move to expand the weekend bulletin to 90 minutes is puzzling given that the weeknight Ten News At Five bulletin has seen its numbers fall since it adopted the 90-minute format in April, and the new national format on weekends undoes the move to state-based weekend news coverage that was instigated in January.  Time will tell how viewers will react to the national long-form bulletin as opposed to the shorter, state-based bulletins offered by competitors Seven and Nine at 6.00pm.

georgedonikian In other changes within Ten News, Melbourne-based newsreader George Donikian (pictured) has announced his resignation from the network.  Donikian, the founding newsreader at multicultural Channel 0/28 (now SBS) in 1980, joined the Ten Network in 1991 after a stint with the Nine Network.  For most of his two decades at Ten he led the Adelaide newscast for Ten News, which for several years was presented from Ten’s Melbourne studios.  This year saw Donikian move to the Melbourne-based Ten News At Five as Mal Walden moved to the new 6.30pm bulletin.  With the later bulletin cancelled, Walden returned to the 5.00pm newscast and Donikian moved to weekends.  The revamp of the weekend newscast to a national format, effectively bumping him from the schedule, is reported to have been the “last straw” for the newsreader.  He has told media that he felt it was now time to become a “free agent”.

Source: Adelaide Now, The Australian,

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

1991: September 28-October 4

tvweek_280991 Hey, look who’s in love!
While Chris Mayer and Rachael Beck (pictured) are constantly bickering as their Hey Dad! alter egos Simon and Sam, off-screen the two have been secretly dating.  “Yes, I am in love,” Mayer told TV Week.  “It feels great.  I’m really enjoying it.”  During an upcoming production break for the series, he intends to head to Italy, staying in the town of Perugia and studying Italian – and it looks like Beck will be joining him.

It’s goodbye Bob and Cookie!
As the Seven Network’s A Country Practice approaches its tenth anniversary, some drastic cast changes are set to shock fans of the popular drama.  Actors Gordon Piper and Syd Heylen, who play characters Bob Hatfield and Cookie, are not having their contracts renewed at the end of the year, both having worked on the show for much of its ten year run.  Producer James Davern has said that the actors have other commitments – Piper is producing corporate videos and Heylen also runs a marketing company and is keen to spend time in Queensland with his wife who isn’t well – and that the characters will not be written out in any “Wandin Valley massacre” storyline and will be able to return at a later stage.  However, TV Week reports that neither actor had any option to stay on the show.  Also leaving the series is Matt Day, who will tape his final scenes in December, and Georgie Parker and John Tarrant, who will finish up early in the new year.  All three have decided it is time to move on.  To fill the void left by losing five characters some new additions will be signed on.  Former Brides Of Christ star Kym Wilson has joined the series and will make her on screen debut in November, and three other new characters will be written in over the coming months but have yet to be cast. 

Stig cops right out!
Col’n Carpenter star Stig Wemyss has left the Network Ten series after a falling out with the show’s producers.  Wemyss, who has played the role of Colin’s flatmate Michael Preeble since the show started 18 months ago, has told TV Week that he is “extremely disappointed” that an agreement with producers could not be reached.  “I wanted the storylines to explore a bit more of Michael.  I didn’t think that was too much to ask because the character had been there so long.  I’m not saying I wanted it to be the Michael Preeble show or to be any less about Colin (Kim Gyngell), but if you don’t expand a character, he just becomes nothing.  For me, the strength of the show was having an ensemble cast.  It was obvious Michael wasn’t going to be playing a major part in the way the show was going, so I didn’t want to continue.”

mrbad Briefly…
Just months after the bomb-blast storyline that killed off three characters, the neighbourhood of Network Ten’s E Street is about to be stalked by a psychopathic serial killer.  Architect Steven Richardson, played by Vince Martin, is set to reveal a darker side as he takes on the identity of ‘Mr Bad’ (pictured) whose first victim is Dr Virginia Travers (Julieanne Newbould).  Producer Forrest Redlich has defended the frightening storyline (“Where A Country Practice and GP do things on alcoholism, venereal diseases and such social subjects, we chose the serial killer.  Unfortunately they do exist.”) and a spokesperson for Ten has said that the network is mindful of the show’s 7.30pm timeslot and all episodes in question have to be approved at multiple levels within the network before being submitted for final approval by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.

erniesigley_teenage Ernie Sigley, co-host of the Nine Network’s In Melbourne Today and In Sydney Today programs, talks to TV Week about his upcoming 40th anniversary in showbusiness.  Starting in radio as a teenager, at Melbourne station 3DB, Sigley made the move to television as a performer on HSV7’s Teenage Mailbox (pictured) and went on to a successful television career including several years as host of Adelaide Tonight and later The Ernie Sigley Show, The Penthouse Club (later Saturday Night Live), Pot Luck and Wheel Of Fortune.  The one-time Gold Logie winner also mentions the reported altercation with Don Lane at the after party for the 1988 TV Week Logie Awards.  “I didn’t say anything to him to upset him.  The relationship had been strained for a few years,” he said.

When boxing champion Lionel Rose was told of plans to make a mini-series about his life, he wasn’t enthusiastic.  He told producers nobody would want to see his life story.  “I told them I was unreliable and they couldn’t depend on me to help them out,” Rose told TV Week.  “But they kept at me until I agreed.  I told them I wanted the whole story to be told… warts and all.”  However, TV Week production editor Frank Quill, who also happens to be a member of the World Boxing Council’s executive and considered Australia’s most senior professional boxing official, says that despite Rose’s request that his portrayal be “warts and all”, viewers may be short-changed by viewing the final product.  “Certainly, some viewers, human enough to think everything in Odds actually happened, will be misled,” he wrote.  Rose Against The Odds, which stars newcomer Paul Williams as Rose and former The Flying Doctors star Vikki Blanche as his wife Jenny, screens this week on the Seven Network.  The two-part mini-series also stars Kris McQuade, Tony Barry and Hollywood actor Telly Savalas.

Former A Country Practice star Sophie Heathcote has won a role in Yahoo Serious’ upcoming movie project, a contemporary comedy about Ned Kelly.  “The character I play is really young and silly and very funny,” she told TV Week.  “She is in love with Ned and I am going to have a ball playing her.”

John Laws says…
”There can often be something ghoulish about screening the “final” TV interviews of prominent people, those unfortunate enough to die suddenly soon after such interviews are given.  We have had the “final interview” with Dr Victor Chang, the brilliant heart surgeon shot dead in a Sydney street in early July.  Happily, SBSKing Of Hearts documentary managed to avoid any overt sense of ghoulishness in giving us a nicely balanced portrait of Dr Chang.  This was, it has to be admitted, the most emotionally-draining documentary you are likely to see in a long time – not because of any exploitative intention on the part of reporter Amanda Hickey, but because of the simple, profoundly moving tributes paid to Chang by his friends, patients and colleagues.  This was a wonderful piece of TV documentary work.  It probably would have turned out a completely different product had Dr Chang still been alive, because Hickey began working on it a few weeks before his death.  Dr Chang was slain only six weeks after talking to SBS.  I have a feeling that public response to the Dr Chang documentary will lead to a speedy re-screening.  It pointed up only too bleakly how the circumstances of his death resulted in such endless waste.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, September 28-October 4):
  It’s Grand Final day for the AFL.  Seven’s coverage, started late last night with the Football Marathon, continues through the day – with the traditional North Melbourne Football Club Grand Final Breakfast at 8.00am, followed by live coverage of the Under 19s and Reserves grand finals.  Then at 2.00pm live coverage from AFL Park, Waverley, for the end of season clash between Hawthorn and the West Coast Eagles.  Daryl Braithwaite – the key performer at the pre-game entertainment at the Grand Final – will also appear on Nine’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday in the evening.

roseagainsttheodds Sunday:  Seven presents the first instalment of the two-part mini-series Rose Against The Odds (pictured), telling the story of boxing champion Lionel Rose who captured the world’s attention when he defied the odds to become the World Bantamweight champion as a 19-year old in the 1960s.  Sunday night movies are The Karate Kid II (Nine) and The Abyss (Ten).

Monday:  The conclusion to Rose Against The Odds (Seven) sees Lionel Rose’s sporting career at an end and his entering the seedy world of small-time crime and drug abuse, and the battle to get his life back on track.

Tuesday:  In A Country Practice (Seven), Lucy (Georgie Parker) is shattered when the results of her IVF program come back.  In Chances (Nine), Alex (Jeremy Sims) stuns the family when he re-appears after they had believed he had perished in a plane crash, and Paris (Annie Jones) is devastated when she learns a close friend has AIDS.

Wednesday:  SBS newsreader Mary Kostakidis presents the Ethnic Small Business Awards, live from the Sheraton-Wentworth in Sydney.

Thursday:  Ernie Dingo guest starts in The Flying Doctors (Nine) as a university dropout who clashes violently with his brother (Luke Carroll) and Dr Guy Reid (David Reyne) over the pending death of his grandfather.  ABC’s coverage of the 1991 Rugby World Cup, being held in France and the United Kingdom, begins with late-night coverage of the opening ceremony and the first match between England and New Zealand. 

Friday:  In Home And Away (Seven), Sam (Ryan Clark) finds out who his father is.  ABC’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup continues with the match between Australia and Argentina.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  28 September 1991.  Southdown Press

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

1991: September 21-27

tvweek_210991 The great Coopers Crossing reunion!
This week’s episode of The Flying Doctors (Nine) features a reunion of past and present cast members as the town of Coopers Crossing, the fictional setting of the series, hosts a party to break the gloom of the recession.  Some of the show’s most popular former stars, including Rebecca Gibney, Andrew McFarlane, Liz Burch and George Kapiniaris, have made a return for the special event.  “I’ve been hoping for a long time this would happen,” Gibney told TV Week.  “You form some great relationships with people when you work on a show like The Flying Doctors.”  Kapiniaris, who played radio operator DJ in the series, is excited about the reunion storyline – with DJ returning to Coopers Crossing somewhat wiser and wealthier after working overseas.  “It’s the best episode DJ ever had,” he told TV Week.  “The problem is that some people who don’t know him take him the wrong way, with some interesting consequences!”

johnwaters_0001 Stormy Waters!
Actor John Waters (pictured) stars in Network Ten’s new mini-series Which Way Home which debuts this week.  Which Way Home is about American nurse Karen Parsons (Cybill Shepherd), who sets out with a small band of orphan children from a Thai refugee camp during the Cambodian conflict to find freedom in Australia.  Waters plays Steve Hannah, an Australian charter boat captain who becomes a reluctant hero when he helps Karen and the children through their horrendous journey.  So did Waters find it daunting working with such a high-profiled actress?  “I don’t think so,” he says.  “I’ve always found that once you get on the set, however many magazines you may have been in, or whatever your salary might be – and how much bigger than mine – it all comes down to doing the same thing.”  He is also impressed by the team of Thai youngsters who played the orphans.  “Some of the kids had actually been through boat-people experiences,” Waters said.  “When you mention you’ve done a film with seven kids, some people say, ‘That must have been a nightmare’, but we were lucky.  These kids were very forgiving of the demands made of them.”  He also said that he has remained friends with the young cast members and they continue to stay in contact. Which Way Home is produced by Hal McElroy (Picnic At Hanging Rock, Return To Eden) and also stars Peta Toppano, John Ewart, Marc Gray, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Andy Tran.

gordonelliott Good-news Gordon
When former Good Morning Australia host Gordon Elliott (pictured) left Australian television four years ago, he had no idea of the impending industry blood-spilling he was escaping from.  “I’m really lucky,” he told TV Week.  “Many of my friends got a bad deal out of the television upheaval in Australia.”  But despite the still-difficult state of the industry here, Elliott has returned to Australian TV as the host of Network Ten’s Hard Copy – although he is presenting it from Los Angeles.  He is also juggling his Hard Copy commitments in LA with his regular hosting of Good Day, New York, which he does three days a week.  The original US version of Hard Copy, a success for Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network, is a spin-off from the American version of A Current Affair, which Elliott was a reporter for.  And Elliott points out that Hard Copy was actually developed by an Australian, Peter Brennan, and was in part inspired by the original Willesee current affairs shows of the 1970s.  “Brennan developed it from there, and gave it more punch,” Elliott said.

mollymeldrum_hhis TV Week columnist and Hey Hey It’s Saturday presenter Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum (pictured) has triggered an investigation by the FBI in the United States over a possible video piracy case.  “I was at a record bar in LA checking things out when I saw this tape labelled The Interview Series: Madonna,” he said.  “It was one I hadn’t heard of before and, being such a fan, I paid $26 for it and took it back to my hotel.  I put it in the VCR – and there was me!  The bulk of the tape was from two interviews I did with Madonna, plus stuff from Spanish and Japanese television and the American Today show.  I was stunned.”  Meldrum then contacted Madonna’s management company.  “They were amazed – and furious,” he said.  “Now they’ve got the FBI in on it, to track the bootleggers down.”

TV Week, in association with Coca-Cola and MCM Entertainment, has announced plans to stage an annual Australian Music Awards.  The inaugural AMAs are to be held at Melbourne’s Congress Centre in November and televised to a national audience.  The awards will be decided by the public – via voting coupons to be published in TV Week, giving readers more than 20 categories to decide Australia’s most popular artists, records and videos.

The ABC and the cast of Brides Of Christ have been celebrating the show’s recent ratings success.  The series, a co-production between ABC and Roadshow, Coote and Carroll, has received the ABC’s highest ever ratings for a non-sports telecast.

Melbourne radio announcer Barry Bissell, celebrating ten years at Fox FM this month, admits that he has no ambitions to move into television.  “I once did a TV pilot.  It was like a Casey Kasem countdown, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.  TV doesn’t interest me,” he said.

lisahensley John Laws says…
”Not even the most kindly disposed critic could describe the acting in soapies as memorable and, of course, no-one expects it to be, given the demands placed upon the actors – many of them inexperienced – to churn out so many hours of drama each week.  Fine acting, though, can be found in some of the big-budget drama series, Nicole Kidman’s performance in Bangkok Hilton, Terry Gill’s crooked cop in Police Crop, Peter Strauss’ alcoholic psychiatrist in Tender Is The Night, and the late Ray McAnally’s left-wing Prime Minister in A Very British Coup.  The performance, however, that ranks as the most electrifying for a long time has been that of Lisa Hensley as the young nun Veronica (pictured) in the ABC’s splendid Brides Of Christ series.  It was a performance of depth, intelligence and humour from a young actress who I can’t recall seeing much of before, but who I am sure will be featuring in a great deal more on TV in years to come.”

larryemdur Program Highlights (Melbourne, September 21-27):
Saturday:  Seven
presents highlights of today’s AFL Preliminary Final – then Larry Emdur (pictured), Teresa Linnane and Gerry Connolly are this week’s contestants on Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune.  The Bayswater Roller Dancers are special guests on this week’s That’s Dancin’ (ABC).

Sunday:  Ten crosses to the Sydney Football Stadium this afternoon for the Grand Final of the NSW Rugby League Winfield Cup, with commentators Graeme Hughes, Bill Anderson and Wayne PearceABC presents live coverage of the VFA Grand Final from Princes Park, and Seven leads into the news with a two-hour special, That Was The Season That Was, reviewing the 1991 AFL season in the lead-up to the Grand Final next Saturday.  Sunday night movies are Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (Seven) and Chances Are (Nine) up against the debut of two-part mini-series Which Way Home (Ten).

Monday:  In A Country Practice (Seven), the developing relationship between Terence Elliott (Shane Porteous) and Lizzy Walker (Joanne Hunt) is threatened when her criminal boyfriend arrives in Wandin Valley.  Seven then crosses to the Southern Cross Hotel, Melbourne, for the annual presentation of the Brownlow Medal to the league’s best and fairest player.

Tuesday: Beyond 2000 (Seven) presents a report on an ambitious American attempt at environmental restoration by rebuilding a river.  In All Together Now (Nine), Bobby (Jon English) and Doug (Garry Who) are convinced Count Dracula is their new next door neighbour.

Wednesday:  In Neighbours (Ten), Ramsay Street is rocked by a tragic shooting.  In E Street (Ten), Sheridan (Kate Raison) makes a shocking discovery.

Thursday:  It’s the reunion episode of The Flying Doctors (Nine) with former residents of Coopers Crossing make a return visit to boost morale in the town due to the recession – including guest appearances by Andrew McFarlane, Liz Burch, Rebecca Gibney, Terry Gill, Bruce Barry and George Kapiniaris.  ABC presents a repeat screening of Andrew Denton’s chat-comedy show The Money Or The Gun.

Friday:  Performer Rhonda Burchmore is this week’s guest on Burke’s Backyard (Nine).  Just before midnight, Seven launches its annual Football Marathon, presenting six hours of memorable moments from the past 25 years of Australian Rules football, including past finals and grand finals.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  21 September 1991.  Southdown Press

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

1991: September 14-20

tvweek_140991 The TV wedding you’ll never see!
Don’t let the picture of Penny Cook in a wedding dress deceive you.  Despite the smiles of the happy bride, all is not well in the lead up to the marriage of Beth (Cook) to Dr Steve Harrison (Michael O’Neill) in GP, as she thinks about her faith, commitment to the marriage and Steve’s desire to have a family. 

Natalie’s out!
The producers of Chances have dropped a bombshell on one of its leading stars by not renewing her contract.  Natalie McCurry, the former Miss Australia, is being dumped from the ailing series following her refusal to appear in frontal nude scenes.  She will tape her last scenes with the series in October but will continue to be seen on air until the end of the year.  Meanwhile, producers have also dumped another original cast member, Cathy Godbold, who will also tape her last scenes in October.  Chances, which has struggled in the ratings since its debut earlier this year, is expected to be re-launched with an emphasis on guest stars rather than ongoing characters.

traceycurro Tracey signs for Beyond 2000
Despite press reports that Tracey Curro (pictured) was set to replace Jennifer Keyte as the newsreader on Seven’s Tonight Live, she has now signed up to join the team of Beyond 2000.  She will be replacing Maxine Gray who has decided to leave the program to spend more time with her family.  Curro’s move to Beyond 2000 follows an unsettled period where she was dropped from reading the news at Network Ten in Melbourne and the legal action that followed.  But she is excited about her new career move.  “Absolutely.  It’s got to be one of the best jobs in television,” she told TV Week.  “It’ll be hard work with very long hours, but it beats driving through traffic to work every day.”

The writers of Brides Of Christ have now moved onto their next project which begins production this week.  The Leaving Of Liverpool is a mini-series set in England and Australia in the years 1951 to 1953, telling the story of two Liverpudlian children who are torn from family and country and shunted to Australia as part of a child migrant program.  The series will star John Hargreaves, Bill Hunter, Martin Jacobs, Frank Whitten and newcomers Christine Tremarco and Kevin Jones.

nicholaseadie Actor Nicholas Eadie (pictured), best known from TV roles in Cop Shop, The Henderson Kids and the mini-series Vietnam, is heading to the US because, at 32, he says he is too old to be an actor here.  “Australian television is going through a Kylie and Jason syndrome,” he said.  “If you’re over 25 in this country, you’re over the hill.”

The return of former Rafferty’s Rules star John Wood to our screens has been delayed due to industrial disputes at the ABC.  Production on the sitcom Dearest Enemy, which features Wood along with Bruce Spence, Linden Wilkinson and Frank Wilson, has stalled leaving all but one episode completed.  With the producers and Wood now with other commitments, completion of the final episode is scheduled for November and the series, which was due to air next month, should now appear in the new year.

raymartin_0001 John Laws says…
”Since taking over the Midday show, there have been claims that Ray Martin (pictured) has gone a bit soft and, in the process, relinquished the razor-sharp intensity of his news and current affairs days.  Not so!  The “old” Ray Martin is still there, and any doubters should have been watching when he interviewed Prime Minister Bob Hawke following the first Kerin Budget, and in the wake of the NSW gun laws uproar.  In years to come we may well look back on this particular interview as the one that signalled the beginning of the end of the Prime Minister.  Sad to say, it was an interview that cut him apart.  Martin was aggressive without being rude.  He pressed for answers where other interviewers would have shirked the task, and he maintained the pressure as forcefully as he could.  It was the PM who buckled.”

maureendelacypaulnewman Program Highlights (Melbourne, September 14-20):
Saturday:  ABC
presents the return of ballroom dancing series That’s Dancin’, hosted by Paul Newman and Maureen Delacy (pictured).  Hey Dad! and Hampton Court star Julie McGregor is among the contestants on this week’s Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune (Seven).  Tim Webster and Jo Pearson host the 1991 Young Achiever Awards (Ten).

Sunday:  Sunday night movies are The Naked Gun (Seven), Harlem Nights (Nine) and Midnight Run (Ten).

Monday:  In Neighbours (Ten), the search for Harold (Ian Smith) continues – and in A Country Practice (Seven), Lucy’s (Georgie Parker) behaviour is affected by IVF treatment.

jeremysimsanniejones Tuesday:  One-time Gold Logie winner Hazel Phillips guest stars in GP (ABC).  In Chances (Nine), the father of Charlie’s (Kimberley Davenport) baby is finally revealed, and passion overcomes Alex and Paris (Jeremy Sims and Annie Jones, pictured) when they admit their love for one another.  Beyond 2000 (Seven) reports on a new low-fat chocolate designed to keep you warm.

Wednesday:  In E Street (Ten), Bob (Tony Martin) is excited but apprehensive about Elly’s (Diane Craig) return.

Thursday:  Ten premieres an Australian version of the tabloid US program Hard Copy, hosted by Gordon Elliott with reporters Richard Willis, Iain Gillespie, Jane Hansen and Meni Caroutas.

Friday:  The SBS series Connections presents Victor Chang – King Of Hearts, documenting the life of Dr Victor Chang, heart transplant surgeon who was gunned down in July, and the progress he had made in perfecting the artificial heart.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  14 September 1991.  Southdown Press

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

1991: September 7-13

tvweek_070991 Toni re-signs to E Street
The demands of combining acting and music careers almost saw Toni Pearen (pictured, near right, with co-star Melissa Tkautz) quit the Network Ten series E Street.  “I was thinking about leaving because my workload has been so hectic,” she told TV Week.  “When it came to the crunch I decided to stay.  The new contract includes a few new negotiations.  It took some deciding because now I have other aspects to my career.”  The 20-year-old has also recently signed with Mushroom Records and her band, Kon-X-ion, is soon to release its debut single.

Fast Forward to London!
Steve Vizard
and business partner Andrew Knight are excited at the prospect of the BBC snapping up Fast Forward for screening in the United Kingdom.  “I was surprised the show worked in Australia, so I was genuinely amazed that the BBC can’t get enough of it,” Vizard told TV Week.  “The parodies translate and we have 80 hours of Fast Forward.  Even if we have to edit more than half of it, we’ll still have a lot of television left.”  The pair stopped over in London for negotiations with the BBC on their way to Barcelona where they will be producing some Olympic-themed specials for the Seven Network in the lead up to the 1992 Olympic Games.

juliemcgregor Court to close?
The Seven Network’s Hampton Court, the spin-off to the popular Hey Dad!, is facing the axe after its current round of 13 episodes.  The series, starring Julie McGregor (pictured), Adam Willits, Danielle Spencer, Roy Billing and Maxine Klibingaitis, has been receiving only a modest response from viewers in a tough Thursday night timeslot where it is up against The Flying Doctors on Nine and E Street on Ten.  A spokesperson for Seven said that the decision on the show’s future will be made by the network’s programming bosses at their next meeting, scheduled for this week.

Neighbours star Richard Huggett has told producers that he will not be seeking to renew his contract when it expires in November.  “I was always pretty adamant that one year is enough to be in one TV series,” he told TV Week.  “I want to do material which means something to me, stuff with a harder edge.  I suppose quality is what I mean – not pumping it out like a sausage factory.” 

simonburke Actor Simon Burke (pictured) has certainly been keeping busy.  In the space of a few months he has played the role of a priest in Brides Of Christ (now screening on ABC), an army captain in Heroes II, and a gay film director in Loveless, one of the episodes of SBS’ upcoming series Six Pack.

Kim Hoggard, the US-born wife of 60 Minutes reporter Jeff McMullen, has left her two-year post at the US State Department and returned to Sydney, where she will be a semi-regular guest on Midday With Ray Martin, reporting on the international political arena.  "Certainly, I can provide a different point to view from what Australian audiences are used to hearing,” she told TV Week.

John Laws says…
”As with the Gulf War, the recent Clayton’s “coup” in the Soviet Union saw television presented with a golden opportunity for live and dramatic news programs.  Unlike the Gulf War – where Ten grabbed the honours because of its excellent CNN coverage – it was the ABC and SBS which emerged with the major honours in Moscow.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, September 7-13):
  This week’s guests on Hey Hey It’s Saturday (Nine) are EMF, James Blundell, Roger Kabler and Melissa Tkautz.  Meanwhile, George Kapiniaris, Angela Moore and Gerry Connolly are this week’s contestants on Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune (Seven).  Ten presents a Mad Max movie double-feature, with the 1979 original followed by the 1981 sequel.

Sunday:  Sunday night movies are Weekend At Bernie’s (Seven), Steel Magnolias (Nine) and Jaws The Revenge (Ten).

Monday:  In Home And Away (Seven), Sophie (Rebekah Elmaloglou) blames Michael (Dennis Coard) and Pippa (Debra Lawrence) for David’s (Guy Pearce) death.  In A Country Practice (Seven), Matt (John Tarrant) and Lucy (Georgie Parker) make a decision about having a baby.

Tuesday:  In GP (ABC), Beth (Penny Cook) proposes marriage to Steve (Michael O’Neill) who is distracted by a suspicious suicide.  Beyond 2000 (Seven) presents a report on villagers in Zimbabwe, faced with a scarcity of wood, making furniture from paper.

sandygore Wednesday:  In Neighbours (Ten), Helen (Anne Haddy) makes a final decision about her future.  The third episode of Brides Of Christ (ABC) focuses on Mother Ambrose (played by Sandy Gore, pictured) who is forced to make crucial decisions which affect both her personal life and the lives of the sisters of the Order.

Thursday:  Seven presents a re-run of the D-Generation special A Salute To Roy Smeck,  “a tribute to one of the founding fathers of Australian television; the man who helped make Australian television one of the top 59 television industries in the Southern hemisphere”.  In The Flying Doctors (Nine), Sister Jackie Crane (Nikki Coghill) is placed in an awkward position when she discovers the locum replacement for Dr Geoff Standish (Robert Grubb) is a heroin addict.

Friday:  Burke’s Backyard (Nine) presents a special edition to celebrate its fourth birthday, and includes a guest appearance by Western Australian Premier Dr Carmen Lawrence.

Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide.  7 September 1991.  Southdown Press