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Dec 31 2012

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And so ends another year…

2012 was a year that saw TV reach a number of milestones and create plenty of news of its own.

It was the celebration of 50 years of TV broadcasting in Newcastle, Ballarat, Orange, Wollongong, Launceston, Richmond-Tweed, Toowoomba, Townsville and Canberra.

The Seven Network brought Mike Willesee and Derryn Hinch back to TV and signed up Kerri-Anne Kennerley after she lost her morning show over at Nine, ironically at the hand of Seven’s The Morning Show.

Hamish Blake (pictured) won the TV Week Gold Logie and pop guru Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards‘ Hall Of Fame.

Children’s TV icon Humphrey B. Bear was saved from receivers, and the Nine Entertainment Co. also avoided financial oblivion in a crucial deal with its lenders

number96_1972Rage celebrated 25 years.  Number 96 (pictured) commemorated 40 years since ‘the night Australian TV lost its virginity’ with a DVD release.  It was 50 years since the launch of the coaxial cable that linked Sydney and Melbourne, and 40 years since the first Tattslotto draw.

Today celebrated 30 years with a reunion of past and present hosts.

A Current Affair revisited Noeline and Laurie Donaher 20 years after they became household names on Sylvania Waters.

The Price Is Right made a bargain basement comeback to late afternoon television.

The year also saw analogue television switched off for good in Canberra and regional NSW.

There were more digital free-to-air channels launched this year — Extra, Gold and TVSN were all about selling airtime to advertisers of products like steam mops, unwieldy exercise equipment and kitchen gadgets.  But the year also saw indigenous national broadcaster NITV given a secure broadcast future by being amalgamated into SBS and launching on free-to-air television.

In terms of ratings it was again Seven‘s year, but Nine also had plenty of ratings joy from reality hit The Voice, two weeks of The Games Of The XXX Olympiad and the mini-series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War.  Nine also claimed dominance in the advertiser-friendly demographics.

Although there were a few positives it was a year of disappointment for Ten — with a string of ratings duds including Young Talent Time, Breakfast, Being Lara Bingle, The Shire, Don’t Tell The Bride, Everybody Dance Now (pictured) and I Will Survive.  The axe was put to The Circle, ending a tradition of over 40 years of locally-produced mid-morning television from the network.

Long-time programming chief David Mott, one of the last of the pre-Murdoch management team at Ten, walked away from the network after 16 years.

Having had to announce a full-year loss of almost $13 million, Ten embarked on a brutal cost-cutting binge, leading to redundancies mostly across the news and current division.  The network has also had to face the indignity of spending much of the last quarter of the year coming fourth behind ABC in the ratings.

What can we expect in 2013?

7_2000sThe Seven Network will have to fend off a resurgent Nine, particularly in the area of news and current affairs.  Significantly, Today Tonight is set to get a makeover.

Seven will also unveil new drama series A Place To Call Home, set in the 1950s, and Home And Away celebrates 25 years.  There will be more Packed To The Rafters and Winners And Losers.

The reality genre will be well represented with more My Kitchen Rules, Dancing With The Stars and The X Factor being joined by new shows House Rules and Celebrity Splash and the return of The Mole.

The Nine Network will have more of The Voice — with new judge Ricky MartinBig Brother, Celebrity Apprentice and The Block — including an ‘all stars’ competition — as well as adopting Australia’s Got Talent, a franchise that was dumped by Seven this year, and launching The Great Australian Bake Off.

Nine will have another series of House Husbands, a new series of Underbelly based on the life of 1920s gangster Squizzy Taylor and yet another chapter in the life of the former Packer empire with Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story.  

Return To Eden, the larger-than-life saga of the ’80s, is back, and the real-life story of Schapelle Corby is to be dramatised in a telemovie.

Hamish And Andy will be back with more travel adventures.

Network Ten will be hopeful that 2013 is a lot kinder to them with a move away from the type of high-risk ventures that failed to pay off in 2011 and 2012.  MasterChef Australia will be joined by spin-off MasterChef: The Professionals, and The Biggest Loser will be back.  In drama the return of Offspring and Puberty Blues will be joined by new titles Batavia, Wonderland, Reef Doctors and Mr And Mrs Murder.  Digital channel Eleven‘s Neighbours will be back for its 29th year.

Journalist Hamish Macdonald will front a new current affairs show The Truth Is, and Chrissie Swan will be back with another series of Can Of Worms.

Ten will also hope that Keith Urban‘s move from Nine’s The Voice to American Idol will be beneficial as it brings the US contest back to free-to-air television.

ABC will be bringing back Spicks And Specks with a new cast, after the disappointment of Andrew Denton‘s Randling.  The network will also have more drama with the next chapter in the Paper Giants story, this time based around the magazine wars of the 1980s, as well as Serangoon Road, Cliffy, The Time Of Our Lives and The Dr Blake Mysteries.

Merrick Watts will host a new game show, Tractor Monkeys, and Chris Lilley has a new project in the works.  While The Hamster Wheel has cast a keen eye over the media and the 24-hour news cycle, The Chaser‘s The Check Out aims to do the same with consumer affairs in 2013.

SBS will have another series of Who Do You Think You Are? tracing the ancestries of Don Hany, Asher Keddie, Adam Hills, Rove McManus, Michael Caton and Lex Marinos — with two more still to be cast.   There will be documentaries Dirty Business – How Mining Made Australia and Once Upon A Time In Punchbowl plus docu-drama Better Man and another series of comedy Housos.

SBS will also be off to Malmö, Sweden, for the 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest.

Foxtel will be taking us back to prison with Wentworth (pictured), a modern-day remake of the former series Prisoner.

The year will end with the final chapter closing on analogue television after more than 57 years of transmission, as the final stages of the analogue to digital conversion are completed.

And we will continue the theme of monitoring the progress of TV from 20 years ago as documented in the pages of TV Week.

Happy New Year to you all and best wishes for the year ahead!

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