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Jan 26 2015

Who remembers the Australia Games?

australiagamesWe might have done okay at the Olympic Games and better at the Commonwealth Games… but it seems we still had to have a Games to call our own.

The inaugural Australia Games were held in Melbourne in 1985. The competition was timed to feature in Victoria’s 150th anniversary celebrations. But despite the name it wasn’t purely an Australian event. Over 2000 competitors from 25 countries took part in 23 sports over the ten days of competition.

And then the Australia Games were seemingly never heard from again?

The Opening Ceremony of the Australia Games took place 30 years ago, Saturday 26 January 1985, at the Melbourne Sports And Entertainment Centre and features in the latest batch added to the Classic TV Guides.


Picture: Museum Victoria




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Jan 25 2015

Networks, it’s time to go retro

MeTVThe advent and conversion to digital television has opened the market right up to new opportunities and niche markets as broadcasters can now cram more digital channels in the same space that in the past used to only accommodate one analogue channel.

In the United States, the conversion to digital television has opened up a whole industry of classic-themed channels. There are now several major such channels available in the US market — including MeTV, This TV, Antenna, Cozi and the soon-to-launch Decades — all tapping into their own pools of syndicated material and classic movies dating back to the 1950s.

Just as an example, MeTV, which covers 91% of the US, has been revisiting classic shows such as The Carol Burnett Show, Roller Derby, Perry Mason, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Thriller, Gilligan’s Island, HR Puf ‘n’ Stuf, That Girl, Petticoat Junction, The Adventures Of Superman, Batman, The Land Of The Lost, Mod Squad, The Streets Of San Francisco, Route 66 and Naked City.

Australia’s free-to-air networks have never really properly embraced the concept, although they promised it when launching channels like Eleven, GO and GEM. While these have had a certain emphasis on classic content during daytime or off-peak periods, they are barely scratching the surface of the volume of classic TV titles. In many cases they are only re-running programs that have already been re-run here constantly for years. Eleven has been rotating much the same library of classic titles for four years now with little variation, despite apparently having access to thousands of hours from the back catalogue of the huge CBS studio in the States.

There are mountains of programs that are clearly available but networks here are sticking to the same tired playlist of titles. Eleven’s HD counterpart One gives us two episodes of MASH each weeknight. As if we haven’t been exposed to that series enough over 40 years. Likewise, Nine‘s GEM is giving us two episodes of Friends each weeknight. A popular show, by all means, but at least use the second half hour for something different. It becomes lazy and shallow programming.

Just the sample of MeTV’s playlist alone indicates that there is so much greater depth of classic programming that networks could tap into instead of giving us MASH or Friends twice a night.

There must be enough content out there for at least one of the free-to-air channels here in Australia to embrace a truly retro or classic format. And not just to dig up stuff from the US or even the UK but actually invest in reviving some Australian content. The Crawfords library alone (owned by WIN) contains a vastly impressive list of titles, some of which is available on DVD.

againstthewindAustralian TV has a tremendous track record in mini-series over the decades, with productions including Against The Wind (pictured), For The Term Of His Natural Life, Anzacs, Bodyline, The Dismissal, Bangkok Hilton, Sword Of Honour, Vietnam, Winners, The Dirtwater Dynasty, Women Of The Sun and Harp In The South. At a time when so many Australians don’t have a grasp on their own nation’s history, these shows could be a real eye opener and production-wise, apart from not being in widescreen, would still hold up extremely well if broadcast today.

sonsanddaughters_2Classic soaps like Sons And Daughters (pictured), Prisoner and A Country Practice have all had various re-runs but there are so many others that haven’t seen the light of day since they were originally broadcast and could be embraced by a new generation of viewers. The DVD releases of Number 96 have shown that there is a market for watching classic Australian soaps.

Even duds like Arcade, Holiday Island, Punishment, Starting Out or Above The Law could be fodder for a binge night of TV shockers.

rp_mavis.jpgFast Forward has been repeated on One, but how many other classic comedies could be getting exposed to a new generation? The Seven Network has seemingly put The Mavis Bramston Show, the show that really put Australian comedy on the map, into the too hard basket — yet it still exists in the archives.

These shows might not be the highest brow of entertainment, but neither is much of what the networks push onto us every night now, anyway. (Because in 40 years time, are we going to be reminiscing about reality pap like My Kitchen Rules or The Block? I don’t think so.)

Sure, there is a vast market of DVD titles of classic shows available and the advent of streaming video platforms such as Stan, Presto, Apple TV and Netflix might one day expose 21st century viewers to some of the shows that defined TV culture in the last century, but watching these shows on the platform that they were designed for — free-to-air broadcast TV — serves as a nostalgic nod not just to the shows themselves but the medium that created them. And there is still something attractive about the common experience of watching a program with thousands of others, something that is even enhanced these days by being able to share the experience over social media in real time.

Of course, and in particular with regards to Australian content, there is a hidden cost to the networks as actors, performers, composers and so on may (and should) be entitled to some token payment for their work to be paraded once again — but, guess what, that’s what commercial breaks are for.

Instead of filling up bandwidth with shopping channels that might be good for revenue (though the demise of Seven’s Fresh Ideas TV indicates that the revenue stream may not be as abundant as first thought) but do nothing to actively encourage people to watch, perhaps the networks could be proactive and invest in a programming niche that might actively bring some people back to traditional TV as an alternative to them being tortured with multiple repeats of Nutri Bullet commercials.





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Jan 23 2015

50 years for Northern Rivers television

NRN10_1965Northern Rivers Television, now part of the Southern Cross Ten regional network, was officially launched 50 years ago today.

The licence to operate the commercial station in the Grafton-Kempsey market, incorporating Coffs Harbour, was granted unopposed to Northern Rivers Television Limited in October 1962. It was part of the fourth stage of the introduction of television across Australia.

The television station, NRN10, was opened on 23 January 1965 with a pre-recorded speech by Postmaster-General Alan Hulme.

With its transmitter at Mount Moombil and its signal focused north-south, NRN reached as far north as Casino and as far south as Port Macquarie. The transmission tower was also to be shared with ABC‘s new local station, ABDN2, which commenced transmission in June.

NRN’s initial local production included a news service each weeknight at 7.15pm, following the relay of national news from ABC. Down To Earth, a joint venture between NRN and the NSW Department of Agriculture, screened every second Wednesday, while 15-minute sports programs were scheduled for Friday and Sunday evenings.

NRN11_1968The launch of television into the region sparked an immediate boost in retail sales. After only one week of advertising of a pharmaceutical product, chemists across the region reported selling out three months’ supply in just days.

Less than a year after commencing operation, NRN was granted an approval to change its broadcast frequency to Channel 11, following reports that the Channel 10 signal was being affected by interference.

In 1969, NRN struck a deal to have its programming rebroadcast via ECN8, Taree. The arrangement was soon terminated when ECN8 was purchased by Tamworth station NEN9 (now Prime7). But then NRN completed a merger with RTN8, Lismore, which broadcast as far north as the Gold Coast. The two channels carried a uniform program schedule and were branded on air as 11-8 and later NRTV.

GreatEastland_0001In the mid-1970s, NRN-RTN had joined Great Eastland Television (GET), a group of affiliated regional stations for the purposes of marketing to national advertisers. At the time of its launch, GET even went as far as placing elaborate double-page advertisements in Sydney and Melbourne newspapers and prime time spots on commercial television stations in both cities, under the guise that a chunk of eastern Australia was preparing to secede and form its own nation — Great Eastland — in protest that national advertisers were not giving this significant region of 620,000 people its share of attention.


In 1979, the station won a TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Television for its series, Rainbow. It was a rare, if not only, time that a regional station has won a ‘national’ Logie and not one specifically designated for state-based or regional television.

NRTV had ended up in the ownership of Northern Star Holdings Limited and from December 1991, as part of regional television aggregation, expanded its signal to include Upper Namoi (Tamworth), Manning River (Taree) and Newcastle as the larger region’s Network Ten affiliate. Aggregation saw NRTV’s network expand to over 40 transmitter sites from the Gold Coast in the north, Gosford in the south and Narrabri to the west. Meanwhile, rival operators Prime and NBN entered into NRTV’s market as affiliates of the Seven and Nine networks, thus giving local viewers a choice of three commercial channels.

In 1994 NRTV was taken over by Telecasters Australia which also owned the Network Ten affiliate in regional Queensland. NRTV was rebranded as Ten Northern NSW, and Telecasters’ later merger with Southern Cross Broadcasting saw the on-air brand changed to Southern Cross Ten.

In November 2012, Southern Cross Ten closed down its analogue transmissions across Northern NSW. Southern Cross Ten now carries Network Ten’s secondary channels, One and Eleven, and presents local news bulletins from Southern Cross Ten’s centralised facilities in Canberra.


NRN11_8 NRTV_1987
nrtv_1991 Ten_NRTV
southerncrossten_2001 southerncrossten

Source: Broadcasting & Television, 14 January 1965. Broadcasting & Television, 28 January 1965. Broadcasting & Television, 4 March 1965. Canberra Times, 27 August 1965. Canberra Times, 29 May 1971. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 1975. Sintonia Manuale



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Jan 23 2015

Prime7 to close Tamworth studios, again

prime7The regional Prime7 network has announced that it will be shutting down production at its Tamworth studios and will relocate the Tamworth and North Coast news bulletins to Canberra.

The move comes three years after Prime7 reversed an earlier decision to shut down production at its Goonoo Goonoo Road site. At the time political pressure and logistical issues were cited as reasons to abandon the move.

The decision to now shift production to Canberra has been reported to be tied to Prime7 relocating to new premises in Tamworth.

ABC reports that Prime7’s existing editorial staff of 21 in the region will continue to produce local news content. Newsreader Fiona Ferguson will step down from the role but will be staying in Tamworth as news editor for the North Coast bulletin.

Two technical roles will be redeployed from Tamworth to Canberra.

The Tamworth studios have been in operation since 1965 with the launch of NEN9. The station became part of the Prime television network in the late 1980s in preparation for the aggregation of regional television markets, which affected the northern NSW regions in 1991.

Prime7’s Canberra facility current hosts newscasts for the Albury, Wagga Wagga and Central Tablelands regions.

The closure of the Tamworth studios marks a continued winding down of regional television production. The only other local television news into the Tamworth-Taree regions are inserts into the Newcastle-based NBN News and brief updates broadcast throughout the day from Southern Cross Ten’s Canberra news room.

Source: ABC



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Jan 19 2015

1995: January 21-27

tvweek_210195Cover: Pamela Anderson (Baywatch)

Beauty and the beast
Getaway reporter Tina Dalton‘s documentary Flight Of The Rhino is to screen on the Nine Network this week. The documentary shows both the efforts to save the African black rhinoceros, which is being hunted for its precious horns, and the horrifying, yet necessary, steps to save them from the poachers. In Zimbabwe to produce the program, Dalton witnessed a country of stark contrasts. “Real beauty and the beast,” she told TV Week. “One moment the sun is setting, we’re sitting on the roof of the four-wheel-drive, watching wildebeest come in to drink, and the next there’s machine gun fire and someone says some poachers have just been shot.” Flight Of The Rhino has already been screened in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan and the United States.

johannagriggsPooled resource
Swimmer turned Sportsworld reporter, Johanna Griggs (pictured) is excited to provide a guided tour of the new Sydney Aquatic Centre, the site for the 2000 Olympic Games swimming events. “You can finally feel that the Olympic Games are really on their way here, and we have a swimming venue that is undoubtedly the best in the world,” she told TV Week. “I have been speaking to overseas swimmers and they have already heard about this place and are excited about coming here.” Griggs’ swimming career came to a premature end with her battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but she has been made offers to return to the pool. “If I do go back, what if I only came second? Like during the recent Commonwealth Games, I was more excited to be reporting on it and I really did not miss it. That answers my question really, doesn’t it.”

genevievemooyGenevieve’s new public relationship
Genevieve Mooy (pictured) has become familiar to viewers of the series Frontline as TV publicist Jan Whelan — whose job to steer the image of current affairs host Mike Moore (Rob Sitch) to the public provides inevitable challenges. While Mooy loves the character, with the obligatory “daahlings”, meticulously styled hair and the big frocks and jewels, the character has obviously ruffled some feathers from within the industry. “Oh, I’ve received some extraordinary faxes,” she says. “Like, ‘so-and-so is hopping mad — she knows it’s her!’. Frontline has been rather gorgeous for me, really, because for some reason everyone loves Jan and she’s really such a monster… a nice monster.” Mooy will also be seen later in the year in a new ABC series, After The Beep, co-starring with Genevieve Lemon. “It’s a wonderful story about a bunch of losers and how they try passionately to organise their lives,” she said. Mooy plays the role of bridal shop owner May. “And she happens to be a lesbian. It is an issue that is now in the open and it needs to be explored on the screen much, much more. I think the writer wants it to be explored in a way so that it’s not seen as unusual.”


  • The bidding war between BBC and ITV for Australia’s Blue Heelers has been won by ITV, which will begin screening its first instalment of 52 episodes later this month. Lisa McCune, who plays Constable Maggie Doyle, will be going to the UK to promote the series launch. Blue Heelers has already been sold to 30 countries across Asia and Europe.
  • It is years since Crocodile Dundee II was released in the US, but while filming a story for The Great Outdoors in Disneyland, Ernie Dingo still found himself getting recognised from his role of Charlie in the movie.
  • Neighbours star Peta Brady has a very different role in the upcoming film Only The Brave. She plays tough, bitchy Tammy, who beats up her former best friend with a piece of pipe!

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 1 January): 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 National Nine News Nine Sun 1856000
2 National Nine News Nine M-F 1761000
3 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1641000
4 National Nine News Nine Sat 1404000
5 Seinfeld Ten Tue 1379000
6 Mad About You Ten Tue 1352000
7 Blossom Seven Thu 1337000
8 Diagnosis Murder Nine Thu 1300000
9 Step By Step Seven M-F 1272000
10 MacGyver Seven W/F 1235000
11 Seven Nightly News Seven M-F 1232000
12 Full Frontal Seven Thu 1197000
13 Over The Hill Seven Mon 1166000
14 Northern Exposure Ten Tue 1154000
15 The Bill ABC Sat 1153000
16 Movie: Firestorm Nine Sun 1149000
17 Movie: Mike Hammer Murder Takes All Nine Wed 1123000
18 Reasonable Doubts Seven Tue 1094000
19 As Time Goes By ABC Mon 1091000
20 The Mummies Seven Thu 1088000

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here:

Program Highlights (Melbourne, January 21-27):
Saturday: The Ford Australian Open (11am, Seven) continues its coverage all this week. Neil Brooks, Dennis Cometti and Andy Raymond are commentators for the telecast of the Sydney International Aquatic Centre Official Opening (7.30pm, Seven), including the opening of the “Path of Champions” featuring Dawn Fraser and Murray Rose.

Sunday: Our World (6.30pm, Nine) features the special Tina Dalton’s Flight Of The Rhino, looking at efforts to save Zimbabwe’s black rhinoceros. Sunday night movies are Passed Away (Seven), Ghostbusters II (repeat, Nine) and Sweet Liberty (repeat, Ten).

nicholaseadie_0001Monday: Sale Of The Century (7pm, Nine) returns for another year. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Pippa (Debra Lawrance) and Michael (Dennis Coard) attend their first counselling session. In Over The Hill (7.30pm, Seven), Don (Nicholas Eadie, pictured) comes up with a plan to market Short Bob’s (Roy Billing) tomato relish.

Tuesday: Lifestyle show Better Homes And Gardens (7.30pm, Seven) makes its debut, hosted by Noni Hazlehurst and John Jarratt with presenters Fiona Connelly, Belinda Jeffrey, Colm O’Leary and Tony Fragar. The Great Outdoors (8pm, Seven) makes its series return in a new timeslot on a new night.

Wednesday: The presentation of Australian Of The Year (8pm, ABC) is broadcast live from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Spirit 2000 (8.30pm, ABC), the first of a seven-part series to screen over the next six years, traces the journey of a group of young athletes as they compete for selection for the Australian team at the 2000 Olympic Games. Three years after she retired from the stage, the series final of A Life (9.30pm, ABC) takes a look back at the career of Dame Joan Sutherland.

brettswainThursday (Australia Day): The Fourth Test (11.20am to 1.30pm, 2pm to 6pm, Nine), Australia versus England, is live from Adelaide. Australia Day is marked with the Governor General’s Australia Day Address (6.50pm, ABC). The Grand Final of the Beyond 2000 Technology Challenge (7.30pm, Ten) features the top 10 schools chosen for their talent in creating a complex machine to slam dunk a basketball through a basketball hoop. In the series return of Janus (8.30pm, ABC), charged with murder and facing a life in prison, Mal Hennessey (Brett Swain, pictured) makes an escape on the way to court. The 1988 two-part mini-series The Shiralee (8.30pm, Seven) gets a repeat screening, starring Bryan Brown, Noni Hazlehurst and Rebecca Smart.

Friday: The Fourth Test (11.20am, Nine) continues from Adelaide. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Lou (Tom Oliver) faces a sad farewell.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 21 January 1995. Southdown Press




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Jan 16 2015

TV Week Logie Awards: Who got my vote

Logie_2015Earlier this week, TV Week opened voting for the 57th annual TV Week Logie Awards.

The awards are to take place at Crown Melbourne, on 3 May and be televised on the Nine Network. It will actually be Nine’s 20th consecutive coverage of TV’s ‘night of nights’ since Seven and Ten opted out of the hosting roster.

This year, as has been the case for a few years now, all voting is being conducted online. Well gone are the days when one had to scribble names on a magazine coupon and then have to post via snail mail — like this example from 1969:


So, who gets my vote this year?

rodgercorser_0001Most Popular Actor: This is a tough field. Lots of familiar names and some new ones who delivered great performances during the year. Ultimately, my vote has gone to Rodger Corser, who played fly-in Opposition Leader David McLeod in Ten’s Party Tricks. He played the part of the charismatic journalist-turned-politician extremely well. But although Party Tricks did well on social media, its ratings indicate that Corser is perhaps one of the underdogs in the Logies’ popularity vote.

Who will probably win? Patrick Brammall, just by the fact that he was in pretty much everything last year.

jackiewoodburneMost Popular Actress: Neighbours is a series that I don’t watch all that often but have a sentimental spot for as a series that many of us watched in its heyday. But when I do tune in I am always struck by the charm and wisdom of Ramsay Street’s own mother hen, Susan Kennedy, played by Jackie Woodburne. The last time I saw Neighbours, as a “tornado” was hammering through Erinsborough, Susan was performing an emergency tracheotomy on Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver). Is there nothing Susan Kennedy can’t do?

Who will probably win? Given 2014 may have been Offspring‘s swansong, and given the series ended on a high, it would probably appear likely that Asher Keddie or Kat Stewart could take this one out. And had I not voted for Woodburne, one of these two would have easily been my pick.

amandakeller_0002Most Popular Presenter: This category has been the cause of some angst. I was desperately in need to vote for SBS‘ own Lee Lin Chin. Sadly, TV Week’s voting form does not include Chin in its list of pre-determined contenders and even though a box is allowed to manually type in a name, the vote is only accepted if the name matches one of the preset list. Please, TV Week, please fix this glaring omission. However, my runner-up who has now got my vote is none other than Amanda Keller, presenter on Network Ten’s The Living Room. For many of us, we were first introduced to Kellar as a serious reporter on Beyond 2000. Since then she has shown us her comedic side, appearing in shows such as The Late Show, Denton, Mondo Thingo and Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation. She is now entertaining us as one of the four hosts of The Living Room.

Who will probably win? Scott Cam.

Most Popular New Talent: This is a tough category as I am not familiar with most of the suggestions on the list. The kids who watch Home And Away, Neighbours or MTV might be more suited to vote here. However, I have voted for a late entry into the 2014 television year, SBS presenter Silvia Colloca, host of Made In Italy — one of the programs I did watch from that list.

Who will probably win? Someone from Home And Away.

neighbours_2015Most Popular Drama: Again, a sentimental nod to Neighbours. No other drama series in Australia has managed to last 30 years and for this alone it deserves a vote for an award that admittedly it hasn’t won for some time.

What will probably win? Home And Away, unless Offspring can manage to edge in front.

Most Popular Entertainment Program: I was a late convert to ABC‘s Upper Middle Bogan, having only discovered it towards the end of its second series. But having now caught up on both series one and two I think this show easily gets my vote. A series featuring outstanding performances all round, but with special mention to Michala Banas and Robyn Nevin.

What will probably win? Hamish And Andy’s Gap Year. Although it’s interesting that TV Week has modestly submitted last year’s TV Week Logie Awards presentation for consideration for this award. Hmm, conflict of interest, much?

masterchef_0001Most Popular Reality Program: I think I can honestly say I did not regularly watch any of the programs featured on list of eligible contenders. My vote has gone to MasterChef Australia, almost by default, as it has at least managed to regain some of its original credibility from earlier seasons and hasn’t gone quite as far into melodramatics as some of its rivals.

What will probably win? It would have to be My Kitchen Rules or The Block.

Most Popular Sports Program: Again, another category that I have had little exposure to. But as TV Week insists that all categories get a vote, mine goes to One‘s The Thursday Night Sports Show. Probably because it is the least likely to get many votes otherwise. Did anyone actually watch it?

What will probably win? The Footy Show, most likely the NRL version even though the AFL one has more viewers.

thelivingroomMost Popular Lifestyle Program: The Living Room has been a quiet achiever for Ten, which has long struggled to get a decent following on a Friday night. Hosts Amanda Keller, Barry du Bois, Chris Brown and Miguel Maestre and their assembled team of regulars have managed to turn the lifestyle format around into something less cheesy and more fun.

What will probably win? Better Homes And Gardens, again.

virginiagayTV Week Gold Logie: Even though Jackie Woodburne, Asher Keddie, Kat Stewart, Amanda Keller and Rodger Corser have rated honourable mentions or votes, they do not get my vote for the Gold. My choice there is Winners And Losers Virginia Gay who manages to make us laugh and cry in her portrayal of Frances James. So it’s a case of Gay for Gold!

Who will probably win? A Nine Network personality.

Voting for the 57th annual TV Week Logie Awards is open at their website until 22 February.





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Jan 16 2015

1995: January 14-20

tvweek_140195Cover: Jo Beth Taylor (Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show)

A Hall of Fame!
TV Week has announced that the Melbourne Concert Hall at the Victorian Arts Centre will be host of the 37th annual TV Week Logie Awards, to be held in April and televised on the Seven Network. The Concert Hall, opened in 1982, reflects the colours and patterns of the environment of the Australian continent. Much of the material used in the construction is of Victorian or Australian origin. The Victorian Arts Centre comprises three main buildings — the theatres, topped by the famous 115 metre spire that has become a Melbourne landmark, the Melbourne Concert Hall and the National Gallery Of Victoria.

Kym gets down to business
Actress Kym Wilson is about to return to TV with a 13-week stint in Heartbreak High, but in the meantime has set up a production company with fiancé Jeremy Sims. Pork Chop Productions will be launching its first production at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre. “The idea is Jeremy will direct and I’ll be producing,” she told TV Week. As well as appearing in Heartbreak High, Wilson will also be appearing on stage in the Ensemble Theatre’s production of David Williamson‘s Emerald City, starring with Noeline Brown, Peter Kowitz, Andrew McFarlane, Lenore Smith and Peter Turnbull. “It is really only now that I’m starting to play adult roles and do more theatre, and see the diversity of characters I want to play,” she said.

simonwestaway_0001Simon remains faithful to Janus
Actor Simon Westaway (pictured) is known as the tough Detective Senior-Sergeant Peter Faithful on ABC‘s Janus, but there is a great diversity to his acting roles. On stage, he has played both Brad and transsexual Frank’n’Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Elwood Jones in The Official Tribute To The Blues Brothers, and an Italian aristocrat in the NIDA production of Villain Of Flowers. He has also recently been to New York to study musicals bound for Australia. “From an actor’s point of view, I wanted to know if I could make a contribution and be involved in these shows,” he told TV Week. “I wanted to observe these productions so that when I’m in an audition, I’ll know what is required of the character. Australia has a very high standard of musical production, and I’d like to be involved in that.” Despite disappointing ratings for the first series of Janus, Westaway hopes numbers will pick up for the second and final series. “People fall into the trap of watching television to pass time. If you do that, as opposed to watching it at least sometimes to educate and enrich yourself, then I think you’re selling yourself short.”


  • Acclaimed documentary maker David Goldie, whose credits include Nobody’s Children, Without Consent and The Time Of Your Life, has embarked on a six-year project to record the progress of 100 young athletics hoping to represent Australia at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The first installment of the seven-part series, Spirit 2000, screens later this month on ABC..
  • margdowney_0003Former Fast Forward star Marg Downey (pictured) is making a return to acting after taking time out for the birth of her first child. She is taking on a lead role in the Melbourne Theatre Company production of the French farce A Flea In Her Ear.
  • Following a guest appearance in Melrose Place, former Neighbours and E Street star Andrew Williams has managed to obtain a Green Card, enabling him to sign on for a further 25 episodes of the US series this year

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“The Seven Network has high hopes in 1995 for its new drama series, Fire. Having had a quick look at the pilot, I think these hopes seem to be well-founded. Pilots — the episodes where money is sprinkled about liberally in an effort to create a good first impression — can be misleading, but with Fire it’s a case of so far, so good. The Seven Network does seem to have a happy knack of making its dramas work — a knack that must be the source of some envy among its commercial counterparts.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, January 14-20):
Saturday: Brent Meyer and Vanessa Corish host the 1994 Coca-Cola Schools Spectacular (4pm, Ten), from the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Les Murray hosts coverage of the Coca-Cola Olyroo Four Nation Tournament (7.30pm, SBS), featuring Australia versus Denmark as the opening game.

Sunday: The Uncle Toby’s Iron Man Super Series (2.30pm, Ten) comes from Portsea, Victoria. The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket: First Final (2.20pm, Nine) is live from Sydney. Sunday night movies are Lord Of The Flies (Seven) and Family Pictures (Ten).

Monday: The Ford Australian Open (11am to 5.30pm, 8.30pm to 12.30am, Seven) kicks off two weeks of coverage from the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne. In the series return of Home And Away (7pm, Seven), the Ross household is shocked when Sally (Kate Ritchie) runs away.

Tuesday: The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket: Second Final (2.20pm, Nine) has limited live coverage from the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Annalise (Kimberley Davies) is disappointed when she doesn’t get the part in the local play. Jennifer Keyte’s World Around Us (7.30pm, Seven) presents an insight into the woman destined to be Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop.

Wednesday: The inaugural Origin Of The Ashes match (10am to 12pm, 12.30pm to 5pm, ABC) marks the return of cricket coverage to ABC — featuring the Australian XI versus England.

Thursday: The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket: Third Final (2.20pm, Nine) has limited live coverage from the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Roxy (Lisa Lackey) suppresses her desire to travel for the sake of her relationship with Rob (Matthew Lilley).

Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Sally’s (Kate Ritchie) disappearance brings Pippa (Debra Lawrance) and Michael (Dennis Coard) closer.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 14 January 1995. Southdown Press




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Jan 08 2015

Ten years ago: Australia Unites

On Boxing Day 2004, an earthquake off the Indonesian coast triggered a tsunami that caused massive devastation to a number of countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives and Somalia.

Over 200,000 people were killed by the tsunami with many more injured or unaccounted for. Whole towns and villages were decimated.

Two weeks after the tsunami, Australia’s Seven, Nine and Ten networks held a history-making telethon for aid organisation World Vision to raise funds for the relief effort. It was a rare show of unity among rival networks.


Australia Unites: Reach Out To Asia was held on Saturday 8 January 2005. The telecas,t was hosted by Andrew O’Keefe (Deal Or No Deal, Seven), Rove McManus (Rove Live, Ten) and Eddie McGuire (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Nine). Joining them as part of the telethon were presenters and celebrities from all three networks, including David Koch and Melissa Doyle from Sunrise (Seven), Larry Emdur (The Price Is Right, Nine), Gretel Killeen (Big Brother, Ten), Catriona Rowntree (Getaway, Nine), Bert Newton (Good Morning Australia, Ten), Daryl Somers (Dancing With The Stars, Seven), Richard Wilkins (Today, Nine), Peter Helliar (Rove Live, Ten) plus cast members of various network programs.

Ray Martin (A Current Affair) was reporting from Aceh, Indonesia, one of the most significantly devastated regions. There were also live crosses to Christine Spiteri in Sri Lanka and Chris Reason and Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum in Phuket.

The telethon was based at Telstra Dome (now Etihad Stadium) in Melbourne with an open-air concert held outside the Sydney Opera House, featuring performances by Jet, Spiderbait, Missy Higgins, Killing Heidi, Kasey Chambers, Noiseworks, The Dissociatives, Guy Sebastian and Alex Lloyd.

The telecast was broadcast simultaneously across Seven, Nine and Ten networks, radio Triple M and internationally via the ABC‘s Australia Network which broadcast to some of the countries affected by the disaster.

Australia Unites: Reach Out To Asia achieved a total of $20 million in donations and ticket sales.

The video below is the opening segment of the telethon, including introductions from the various presenters:

YouTube: Television.AU

And some screen captures from the same video and some of the network promotions:

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Jan 08 2015

Ratings 2014: The final scorecard

oztam_0001OzTAM, the official ratings ‘umpire’, has released its final reports for the calendar year 2014.

The reports include consolidated audience figures for the Top 20 programs (including those various reality show ‘winner announced’ segments that are not actual programs), Top 20 multi-channel programs, the most time-shifted programs and where each free-to-air network and channel ended the year. Plus there are rankings for the Top 20 Subscription TV programs and time-shifted programs.

Seven ended the year on 30.1 per cent (down 0.5 from last year), followed by Nine (28.9%, up 0.6), Ten (18.1%, up 0.8), ABC (17.7%, down 0.4) and SBS (5.3%, down 0.3).  (6pm-12mn, 5 cities)

At individual channel level: Seven (21.7%, down 1.2) won ahead of Nine (20.9%, up 0.2), ABC (12.8%, down 0.6), Ten (12.1%, up 0.3), GO (4.7%), 7TWO (4.6%), SBS One (4.2%, down 0.4), 7mate (3.9%), GEM (3.4%), One and Eleven (3.0% each), ABC2 (2.8%), ABC News 24 (1.1%), ABC3 and SBS2 (0.9% each) and NITV (0.1%).

Datacast channels (e.g. TVSN, Extra/Gold, TV4ME, Fresh Ideas TV, Spree) and community TV channels (C31, TVS, 31 Digital, 44 Adelaide, WTV) are not included in the ratings.

Top 20 programs on Free-to-Air for the year 1 January to 31 December 2014 (Consolidated. 5 cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth):

1 SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY V HAWTHORN Network 7 2,828,000 551,000 1,321,000 275,000 304,000 377,000
2 MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 7 2,712,000 772,000 757,000 481,000 339,000 364,000
3 THE BLOCK GLASSHOUSE -WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 9 2,687,000 795,000 916,000 481,000 238,000 258,000
4 RUGBY LEAGUE GRAND FINAL Network 9 2,621,000 1,205,000 507,000 630,000 120,000 159,000
5 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE NSW V QLD 2ND – MATCH Network 9 2,600,000 1,221,000 422,000 865,000 92,000
6 SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS Network 7 2,565,000 396,000 1,266,000 250,000 295,000 359,000
7 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 1ST – MATCH Network 9 2,530,000 1,259,000 432,000 750,000 89,000
8 MY KITCHEN RULES-GRAND FINAL Network 7 2,408,000 687,000 640,000 452,000 304,000 325,000
9 THE BLOCK GLASSHOUSE -AUCTION Network 9 2,379,000 707,000 810,000 424,000 203,000 235,000
10 THE BLOCK: FANS V FAVES -AUCTIONS Network 9 2,271,000 700,000 757,000 398,000 181,000 235,000
11 THE BLOCK: FANS V FAVES -WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 9 2,265,000 716,000 765,000 370,000 183,000 232,000
12 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 1 Network 7 2,243,000 614,000 702,000 389,000 255,000 283,000
13 THE VOICE -LAUNCH Network 9 2,229,000 716,000 735,000 357,000 232,000 190,000
14 SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: ON THE GROUND Network 7 2,188,000 385,000 1,098,000 197,000 191,000 318,000
15 THE 2014 MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-THE RACE Network 7 2,184,000 567,000 963,000 323,000 152,000 179,000
16 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 2 Network 7 2,081,000 578,000 634,000 332,000 240,000 297,000
17 HOUSE RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 7 2,070,000 518,000 608,000 400,000 211,000 332,000
18 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 3RD – MATCH Network 9 2,057,000 948,000 309,000 751,000 49,000
19 THE BLOCK: FANS V FAVES -GRAND FINAL Network 9 1,999,000 602,000 673,000 358,000 154,000 213,000
20 THE VOICE -WED Network 9 1,979,000 642,000 603,000 366,000 192,000 177,000

Top 20 programs on the Free-to-Air digital multi-channels (5 cities):

1 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D6 EVENING Network ONE 582,000 130,000 180,000 96,000 83,000 92,000
2 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D4 EVENING Network ONE 559,000 151,000 213,000 133,000 63,000
3 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D7 EVENING Network ONE 550,000 152,000 153,000 111,000 63,000 72,000
4 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D1 EVENING Network ONE 547,000 115,000 146,000 125,000 70,000 91,000
5 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D4 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 511,000 99,000 133,000 135,000 49,000 94,000
6 SOCHI LIVE D2 AFTERNOON Network ONE 492,000 117,000 123,000 116,000 68,000 68,000
7 SOCHI LIVE D2 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 490,000 119,000 131,000 122,000 50,000 68,000
8 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D11 EVENING Network ONE 483,000 120,000 158,000 76,000 65,000 62,000
9 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D5 EVENING Network ONE 478,000 118,000 138,000 96,000 64,000 62,000
10 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D8 EVENING Network ONE 471,000 137,000 108,000 95,000 60,000 71,000
11 THE HUNGER GAMES -EV Network GO! 458,000 126,000 118,000 84,000 61,000 71,000
12 SOCHI ENCORE D1 AFTERNOON Network ONE 440,000 106,000 133,000 86,000 53,000 63,000
13 SOCHI LIVE D3 EVENING Network ONE 437,000 127,000 142,000 79,000 49,000 40,000
14 SEVEN’S TENNIS: 2014 AUST OPEN – NIGHT 2 Network 7TWO 416,000 101,000 106,000 94,000 88,000 26,000
15 SEVEN’S V8 SUPERCARS ROUND 11: BATHURST D3 THE PODIUM Network 7mate 401,000 174,000 177,000 50,000
16 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D3 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 397,000 100,000 101,000 86,000 62,000 48,000
17 SOCHI LIVE D9 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 391,000 116,000 117,000 76,000 42,000 42,000
18 HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE -EV Network GO! 387,000 97,000 137,000 60,000 47,000 46,000
19 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D7 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 387,000 90,000 97,000 77,000 42,000 81,000
20 ZOOKEEPER -EV Network GO! 383,000 118,000 92,000 88,000 49,000 36,000

Top 20 Time-Shifted Free-to-Air Programs (5 cities):

1 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 2 Network 7 2,081,000 1,766,000 316,000 17.9%
2 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 1 Network 7 2,243,000 1,967,000 276,000 14.1%
3 LOVE CHILD Network 9 1,466,000 1,200,000 266,000 22.2%
4 DOWNTON ABBEY Network 7 1,292,000 1,041,000 250,000 24.0%
5 A PLACE TO CALL HOME Network 7 1,154,000 909,000 245,000 26.9%
6 HOUSE HUSBANDS -EP2 Network 9 1,191,000 951,000 241,000 25.3%
7 THE KILLING FIELD Network 7 1,405,000 1,166,000 239,000 20.5%
8 JACK IRISH: DEAD POINT-EV Network ABC 1,004,000 779,000 225,000 28.9%
9 REVENGE-EP.2 Network 7 949,000 729,000 220,000 30.2%
10 THE BLACKLIST Network 7 1,036,000 827,000 210,000 25.4%
11 REVENGE Network 7 1,063,000 865,000 197,000 22.8%
12 ANZAC GIRLS-EV Network ABC 1,033,000 848,000 185,000 21.8%
13 OLD SCHOOL-EV Network ABC 883,000 700,000 184,000 26.2%
14 OFFSPRING Network TEN 1,027,000 847,000 181,000 21.3%
15 FAT TONY & CO -EP2 Network 9 1,227,000 1,051,000 176,000 16.7%
16 HOUSE HUSBANDS Network 9 1,060,000 884,000 176,000 19.8%
17 THE CODE-EV Network ABC 764,000 589,000 175,000 29.7%
18 THE MENTALIST -SUN EP2 Network 9 625,000 451,000 175,000 38.8%

Top 20 Subscription TV Programs (national):


Top 20 Time-Shifted Subscription TV Programs (national):

1 FROZEN SING-ALONG Foxtel Movies Disney 113,000 16,000 98,000 625.0%
2 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 111,000 20,000 91,000 457.1%
3 DESPICABLE ME 2 Foxtel Movies Family 138,000 58,000 80,000 139.5%
4 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 136,000 56,000 79,000 140.6%
5 DESPICABLE ME 2 Foxtel Movies Family 97,000 19,000 78,000 399.5%
6 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 140,000 64,000 76,000 118.8%
7 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 78,000 2,000 76,000 5020.8%
8 THE WOLVERINE Foxtel Movies Premiere 180,000 105,000 75,000 71.2%
9 MAN OF STEEL Foxtel Movies Premiere 155,000 81,000 74,000 90.8%
10 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Foxtel Movies Premiere 181,000 108,000 73,000 67.7%
11 TOM AND JERRY Boomerang 74,000 1,000 73,000 5553.6%
12 THE FLASH FOX8 167,000 95,000 72,000 75.7%
13 MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Foxtel Movies Disney 120,000 49,000 71,000 143.1%
14 THE FLASH FOX8 195,000 124,000 71,000 56.8%
15 THOR: THE DARK WORLD Foxtel Movies Premiere 174,000 104,000 70,000 66.9%
16 IRON MAN 3 Foxtel Movies Premiere 134,000 66,000 69,000 104.6%
17 THE INTERNSHIP Foxtel Movies Premiere 155,000 87,000 68,000 78.8%
18 HART OF DIXIE FOX8 114,000 47,000 67,000 142.9%
19 SONS OF ANARCHY showcase 80,000 14,000 67,000 490.9%
20 LAH-LAH’S ADVENTURES CBeebies 66,000 0 66,000

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2014. The Data may not be reproduced,
published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in
part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM.





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