Cover: Jo Bailey (Sale Of The Century)
Goodbye Fast Forward!
This week’s series final of Fast Forward (Seven) is set to be the last of the popular sketch comedy series after four years, as some of the show’s stars pursue other interests. However, various cast members of Fast Forward will be maintaining ties with producers Artist Services with guest appearances in the company’s proposed new sketch comedy series to start on Seven in 1993. The new comedy project is also believed to be behind recent reports of Artist Services wanting to get Andrew Denton across from ABC.
Olympics man for Logies
Ric Birch, the Aussie behind the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Barcelona, has been announced as executive producer of the upcoming 35th annual TV Week Logie Awards. Birch, who was a producer at ABC for 15 years before moving onto the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and then the Olympics in Los Angeles (1984) and Barcelona, says the challenge will be to present a fun but different Logies image from other years — but is enthusiastic to be working with veteran Logies host Bert Newton. “Bert is the senior statesman of the Logies,” Birch said. “He has all the showbiz integrity, and his mere presence guarantees it’s going to be a big night.”
Jana: An affair to remember
This week marks Jana Wendt‘s departure from hosting Nine‘s popular A Current Affair after five years — a role that came after six years as part of the top-rating 60 Minutes team. Nicknamed the “Perfumed Steamroller” by former colleague George Negus, Wendt (pictured) was hot property for Nine — so much so that rival network Ten, where her TV career started in the late 1970s, tried to get her to come across to do an ACA-style show for them. The success of Wendt and ACA led to a string of Logie wins, including Wendt winning the Gold Logie earlier this year. But her relationship with Nine became strained after ACA featured a story about topless women working in a hardware store. The incident saw her walk off the job the next night. Back in August it was announced that she was planning to take a year off to spend more time with her family and to pursue her own series of interview specials for Nine — the first of which appears this week.
Nine rings in the changes
The departure of Jana Wendt from A Current Affair is one of a string of changes to go through Nine over the coming months. The network has announced that Mike Willesee (pictured) and Mike Munro will take over as hosts of ACA, meaning that Willesee’s own new series Street Stories will not be back in the new year. Nine is also expected to put the axe to the local Extra news programs that launched in each capital city earlier this year.
Donahue’s heading down under
America’s daytime talk show king Phil Donahue is planning to bring his show to Australia as part of the show’s 25th year celebrations. “I’ve never been to Australia,” he said. “Sure we have to go there. We get tons of mail from Australia. Most Australians that pass through New York come to the Donahue show.” A spokesperson for Network Ten, which airs the program in Australia, has confirmed that talks to bring the show to Australia have taken place. “Phil has already taken his show to London, and now he is looking seriously at Australia,” she said. “We are hoping this will take place in the next 12 months.”
- Larry Emdur will be staying with the Seven Network despite his show The Main Event being axed. Emdur is expected to appear on Tonight Live as a regular guest host. Seven is planning to replace The Main Event with a revamped version of Australia’s Most Wanted.
- News that Tony Barber is to host a revival of the game show Jeopardy has surprised some — he was earmarked to host Sale Of The Century for the British BSkyB satellite network.
- The Nine Network is planning two new half-hour shows from Tim Clucas, producer of the Sex series. The first of these is a medical/health show hosted by Dr Kerryn Phelps, and the second is expected to be related to the topic of money and personal finance.
- Seven‘s Beyond 2000 has found an unlikely fan in the US — Beverly Hills 90210 star Luke Perry. “I discovered Beyond 2000 on cable TV a few years ago and it really captured my interest,” he said. “I’ve become really interested in anything to do with technology and I like all the things on the show about vehicles and engines.”
Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here
“For a show which has had a chequered background, the US sitcom Married… With Children has come to assume enormous importance, here and in its country of origin. According to Alex Ben Block‘s book Outfoxed, when Married… With Children creators Ron Leavitt and Michael Moye were contacted by the fledgling Fox network, they were told: ‘Fox is here to give you the chance to do things you can’t do anywhere else’. It took a while for America to latch on, but six years later Married… With Children is a top-rating show. Australia also took its time latching on. Married… With Children was screened here, to wide indifference, on Network Ten. It took a switch of network — to Nine — for the show to take off and it quickly became the top-ratings US comedy on air.”
- “An actor who says he doesn’t like recognition would have to be a liar.” — Ray Liotta, Tonight Live, Seven.
- “The Tin Lids have been so successful, Angry Anderson‘s kids have formed a band called the Skin Lids.” — MTV host (Jane Turner), Fast Forward, Seven.
- “She’ll (a Japanese tourist) be doing some shopping because she wants to take home a souvenir — Queensland.” — Shane Bourne, Tonight Live, Seven.
Program Highlights (Melbourne: November 22-28):
Sunday: The start of the last week of the ratings season for 1992. Steven Jacobs and Jane Hall host Nine’s telecast of the Rock Eisteddfod. Ten crosses to Concord, NSW, for five hours of the Ford Australian PGA Championship. Seven has the final episode of game show The Main Event. Sunday night movies are Dead Poets Society (Seven), Ghost (Nine) and Uncle Buck (Ten).
Monday: Garry McDonald hosts the People’s Choice Awards on Seven.
Tuesday: Series final episodes for A Country Practice (Seven), Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show (Nine) and My Two Wives (Nine).
Wednesday: In Hey Dad! (Seven), Sam (Rachael Beck) discovers that Martin (Robert Hughes) is designing the set for the local stage production put on by the choreographer of Strictly Ballroom. ABC presents the two-hour special Whitlam, charting former prime minister Gough Whitlam‘s rise to power in the early 1970s.
Thursday: Daytime shows What’s Cooking (Nine) and Midday With Ray Martin (Nine) present their final shows for the year. Getaway (Nine) presents a special 90-minute episode as its series final. Nine presents the first Jana Wendt On Assignment special, featuring interviews with Meryl Streep and Rupert Murdoch. In the final episode of E Street (Ten) for the year, Laura (Antionette Byron, pictured) uncovers the mystery behind Jack Brown (Andrew Williams, pictured), while Charlie (Pru McGuire) is still missing. Documentary series Through Australian Eyes (SBS) looks at reforms to the NSW Juvenile Justice System.
Friday: Nine crosses to the Gabba, Brisbane, for the first day’s play of the Benson And Hedges First Test — Australia v West Indies. In the series final for Home And Away (Seven), Sophie (Rebekah Elmaloglou) is on the brink of signing away custody of her daughter, while Fin (Tina Thomsen) is in deadly peril when a diving trip goes wrong. Sale Of The Century (Nine) and Burke’s Backyard (Nine) both present their final shows for the year.
Saturday: Hey Hey It’s Saturday (Nine) presents a special three-hour show to celebrate its 21st birthday and to farewell 1992. Network Ten crosses to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast for the Coca-Cola Australian Music Awards, hosted by Mike Hammond — followed by a two-hour special, hosted by Bert Newton, celebrating John Farnham‘s 25 years in the music industry.
Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 21 November 1992. Southdown Press.