Dramatic ABC switch
ABC has announced a dramatic change to its prime-time line-up with plans to schedule drama and comedy programs in the 7.30pm timeslot, meaning the end for current affairs program This Day Tonight which has occupied the timeslot for the past eleven years. This Day Tonight will be replaced by a new program Nationwide, to be shown in the later 9.30pm timeslot. The launch of Nationwide early in 1979 will also mean the end of ABC’s long-running discussion program Monday Conference.
Truckies set to roll
ABC‘s latest drama series, The Truckies, is finally ready to go to air despite being dogged by problems during production. The show’s main leading lady, a 65-tonne Volvo truck called Maggie D, was found to be drinking fuel much faster than producers had budgeted on. As for human cast members, John Wood fell ill and ended up in hospital, Colleen Hewett fell pregnant and had to be written out from later episodes when her baby bump could not be disguised, but was then written back at the last minute in when producers decided to make her character pregnant, and the four male leads (Wood, Michael Aitken, Mike Carmen and John Hewitt) were all discovered to not have truck licences and were sent off to a Melbourne driving school for a crash course in prime mover techniques. But producer Oscar Whitbread only had one complaint during production – the weather – particularly when one drought-inspired episode was being filmed and they were caught out by rain!
In search for a soap
The Seven Network has put the call out – if you could write a soap opera not set in an apartment block or a hospital, then they want to hear from you. Seven is currently showing re-runs of the US sitcom Bewitched in the early evenings and would instead like to add a new early-evening soap to its line-up to challenge Nine‘s The Young Doctors.
Regional channels unite for quest
A new talent quest is to go into production in a unique venture between 25 regional TV stations. National Star Quest, being co-ordinated by Reg Grundy Productions for Australian Television Facilities (ATF) which represents the 25 participating stations, will feature acts performed at their local regional station with all videotaped performances sent to WIN4 Wollongong to be compiled into a single program with a studio compere and judges. If successful, ATF may then look to making more regional-based production for national screening. Allan Hoy, manager of WIN4 told TV Times, “We’re not really aiming to set up a fourth commercial network, but it is entirely possible that in a few years the big city stations might be taking programs from us, rather than the other way around, as at present.” Thirteen episodes of National Star Quest are being planned with production starting in September. Executive producer of the program will be Hal Croxon, a former producer of the 0-10 Network‘s Pot Of Gold.
Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
“What has ABC done to Saturday nights? How could it follow Shirley Bassey with such sweet and tacky entertainment as The Saturday Show (pictured)? The opening numbers were supposed to warm you up, but they couldn’t warm up an anaemic bullfrog. The Saturday Show may be ideal for the Bullamakanka Choral Society, but not the ABC.” J. McArthur, NSW.
“I have watched Mastermind since its inception and shall do so until the end, looking forward to Mastermind 1979. Huw Evans is a most charming and extremely well-spoken compere – not a gaudy Bob Dyer trying to be funny as well as asking questions.” Y. Farr, NSW.
“The excellent British science-fiction series Dr Who has been running for sixteen years, and it has never yet had a fair go from ABC. They continue to waste it in ridiculous screening times. If inane garbage like Space 1999 can command a 7.30pm timeslot, then surely Dr Who can claim the same.” S. Collins, QLD.
What’s On (July 29-August 4)
Pop star Ray Burgess is special guest on ATV0‘s Young Talent Time, while later in the evening on HSV7‘s Penthouse ’78, Mary Hardy and Ernie Sigley are joined by Bartholomew John, Norman Banks and Frank Dyer, a finalist of the show’s Search For A Star talent quest.
Blankety Blanks (pictured) is shifted from prime-time to afternoons, with ATV0 moving it to 12.00pm from Monday, followed at 12.30pm by repeats of racy soap opera The Box. In place of Blankety Blanks at 7.00pm is re-runs of The Six Million Dollar Man, with one-hour episodes cut into half-hour episodes over two nights.
ABC presents the 150th episode of The Inventors and to celebrate has invited some of their previous winners to present their latest inventions.
The 1978 Commonwealth Games opens in Edmonton, Canada – with ABC providing live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at 6.00am Friday morning and highlights of the ceremony Friday night at 8.00pm and again at 11.20pm.
Sunday night movies are Night Of The Lepus (HSV7), Little Ladies Of The Night (GTV9) and The Go-Between (ATV0). Renowned concert pianist Isador Goodman is the special guest on ABC‘s Sunday night music show Capriccio! hosted by Carol Raye.
Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 29 July 1978, ABC/ACP