Jan 20 2018

Classic TV Guides: Neighbours’ new neighbourhood

It was a big deal when Neighbours made the switch from the Seven Network to Network Ten in 1986. Never before had a drama series switched networks and it was a bold move by Ten, particularly as the show’s main weakness at Seven was its ratings performance in Sydney.

Ten’s persistence in promoting the series to a reluctant Sydney audience eventually paid off and the show became a hit across the Ten network before being picked up by the BBC, triggering the show’s international success.


The launch of Neighbours for Network Ten 32 years ago is among the latest additions to Classic TV Guides:


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/01/classic-tv-guides-neighbours-new-neighbourhood.html

Jan 18 2018

Stamp of approval for TV legends

YouTube: Australia Post

Five of Australia’s most enduring personalities have been honoured with the latest release of Legends commemorative stamps from Australia Post.

This year’s theme is Legends of TV Entertainment and Denise Drysdale, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Ray Martin, Bert Newton and Daryl Somers now have postage stamps bearing their images — past and present — and also each receive a 24-carat gold replica of their stamp.

Between them the five span over 60 years of television and over a dozen Gold Logies. “Each of these multi-award winning television personalities have made unique contributions to the Australian entertainment industry and have played a role in forming our national popular culture,” Australia Post Managing Director and Group CEO Christine Holgate said. “They are consummate performers who have entertained, informed and entranced generations of Australians. Together they encompass an incredible range of remarkable talents including journalism, variety hosting, interviewing, singing, acting and comedy.”

The Australia Post Legends Award celebrates the lives of living Australians who have made a unique contribution, inspired the community and influenced the way Australians think about themselves and the community. Since Sir Donald Bradman was recognised as the first Legend in 1997, the series has celebrated people from various walks of life including sporting identities, performers, scientists, fashion designers, business people, philanthropists, authors, indigenous leaders, chefs, equality advocates and Victoria Cross soldiers.

Source: Australia Post


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/01/stamp-of-approval-for-tv-legends.html

Jan 06 2018

Countdown leads Rage retro month

It’s been a big few months for Countdown fans. Last year saw ABC revisit the legendary music show for a 13-episode series of 1970s and 1980s nostalgia.

And last weekend, the Countdown Live concert formed a significant portion of ABC’s New Year’s Eve coverage. The telecast’s popularity with viewers and across social media has even prompted former Countdown host Molly Meldrum (pictured in 2014) to call for a return of a Countdown-type series on television.

This weekend sees the original Countdown back again as Rage enters its traditional January retro month.

Five episodes of Countdown, from 1980 to 1986, will feature in Rage‘s first retro playlist for the month.

COUNTDOWN March 16, 1980 (231: Steve Gilpin – Mi-Sex) (ABC)
COUNTDOWN May 3, 1981 (283: Greedy Smith – Mental As Anything) (ABC)
MENTAL AS ANYTHING Berserk Warriors (Sony)
COUNTDOWN July 11, 1982 (336: James Reyne – Australian Crawl) (ABC)
COUNTDOWN August 11, 1985 (474: Howard Jones) (ABC)
COUNTDOWN April 13, 1986 (504: Spencer and Billy – The Johnnys) (ABC)

Rage Retro Month. 11.52pm Tonight, 6 January, and continues every Saturday night/Sunday morning in January. ABC

Source: Rage, Herald Sun

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2018/01/countdown-leads-rage-retro-month.html

Dec 31 2017

2017: We remember…

Fred Parslow

Frances Hargreaves

John Forgeham

Dan Webb

Jaye Walton

Chelsea Brown

John Clarke

Chris Bearde

Val Jellay

Lou Richards

Mark Colvin

Lyn James

John K Watts

Jill Singer

Les Murray

Ty Hardin

Drew Morphett

Alan Cassell

Peter Luck

David Lyle

Melody Iliffe

Judith McGrath

Margaret Glazbrook

Rob Astbury

Rosemary Margan

Rory O’Donoghue



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/2017-we-remember.html

Dec 31 2017

The year that was… 2017

Another year is now behind us!

No doubt the biggest TV stories of the year surround the Ten Network — going into voluntary administration and then receivership before being taken over by US network CBS.

The CBS takeover was a cunning move that caught most by surprise, not least being former Ten shareholders Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch (pictured). The two billionaires, having seen the network go under on their watch, had hatched a plan to pick up Ten at a bargain price.

Their strategy was flawed in that CBS had emerged as Ten’s largest unsecured creditor and used that debt to leverage a takeover of the network.  CBS’ takeover bid was subject to a vote by creditors, which included Network Ten employees, who voted overwhelmingly in favour and left Gordon and Murdoch’s alternative bid as the loser.

It is still yet to be seen exactly what plans CBS has for its new acquisition, but Ten’s employees are openly confident of a brighter future than what may have occurred under a Murdoch/Gordon ownership which would likely have seen Ten’s operations and infrastructure downsized even further, with some merging of operations with Sky News.

With Gordon owning the regional WIN network — which is now a Ten outlet — it will also be interesting to see how the relationship between WIN and Ten develops. WIN has already made some bizarre moves to opt out of relaying certain Ten programming — mostly off-peak fare on the weekends but also by picking up US soaps Days Of Our Lives and The Young And The Restless for screening on Eleven in its regional markets. In the wake of losing control of Ten, will Gordon make further moves to distance his regional network’s reliance on Ten network programming?

The other big story of the year was former Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson suddenly announcing her exit from the Nine Network and Today just hours before Ten had issued a statement that she had been signed up for the network.

News reports indicated that Wilkinson’s departure from Nine was based on pay disparity with her co-host Karl Stefanovic, though this has not been confirmed and Ten has not disclosed how much it is paying Wilkinson to come across.

What Ten intends to do with its high-profile, and no doubt high-cost, talent is unclear apart from some part-time hosting duties for The Project and as editor of the network’s planned news and entertainment website, Ten Daily.

Meanwhile, some of this year’s TV milestones included the 60th anniversary since the launch of GTV9 and its signature variety show, In Melbourne Tonight.

Western Australia’s GWN7 turned 50, and it was 50 years since the debut of two long-running ABC programs, This Day Tonight and Bellbird.

Two commercial network drama series, You Can’t See Round Corners and Hunter, debuted 50 years ago.

June this year marked 50 years since two significant television events — Expo 67 and Our World. Both programs made bold use of what was then fledgling satellite technology to bring the world to our screens in real time.

One less memorable milestone was the 40th anniversary of the debut of drama series Hotel Story. What was proposed to be a lavish and glamourous series from Crawford Productions turned out to be axed before it even made it to air. The controversial decision to dump the series then saw it rushed to air so that viewers could see what the fuss was about. Another series that didn’t make it to air was the sitcom Pretty Petrol.

Neighbours‘ Scott and Charlene were married 30 years ago, and the same year also saw the departure of the 62-year-old publication TV Scene.

We revisited the Melbourne Cup of 1977 and celebrated 60 years of TV Week.

We took a look back at the construction and early days of Melbourne’s ATV0 and revisited the swap over of two Adelaide television stations.

In the lead up to Samuel Johnson winning the TV Week Gold Logie we had a look back at the TV Week Logie Awards of 1967, 1992 and 2007.

Next year the TV Week Logie Awards enters a new era as it is hosted for the first time in Queensland.

This year we farewelled ABC’s Ripponlea studios in Melbourne, and long-running current affairs program Lateline.

Meanwhile, ABC2 became ABC Comedy and Brisbane’s 31 Digital went off the air.

During the year we also added 57 classic TV listings to the Classic TV Guides archive which now totals over 500 entries.

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





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/the-year-that-was-2017.html

Dec 26 2017

Adelaide’s Great TV Channel Swap

On the evening of Saturday 26 December 1987, newsreaders of Adelaide’s Seven National News on ADS7 signed off the bulletin with a reminder to viewers to tune in the following night to Channel 10.

At around the same time, the rival Eyewitness News on SAS10 was prompting its viewers to pop over to Channel 7.

What brought about such summer season silliness?

The media takeover frenzy that had engulfed much of the television industry over the preceding twelve months had resulted in a quirky anomaly arising for the two Adelaide television stations.

ADS7, previously under control of the Melbourne-based Herald and Weekly Times group and a member of the Seven Network, had landed into the hands of interests associated with the Ten Network.

Meanwhile, SAS10, Adelaide’s member of the Ten Network, had long been under the control of TVW Enterprises, the owner of Perth channel TVW7. While TVW was not formally aligned to any of the three commercial networks in the eastern states, it was forming close ties to the Seven Network as Perth was soon to join the rest of the major capital cities in having a third commercial channel — requiring TVW to become a network station.

It was a situation that placed both channels in a precarious situation by Adelaide being the “odd one out” among their respective networks — particularly difficult when trying to negotiate networked program arrangements. The owners of both channels then came to a solution — to literally have ADS and SAS “swap” channels and in doing so, swap network alliances to match them up to the networks in the other states.

In viewing terms, not a lot was going to change. After the changeover, viewers in Adelaide would still tune to 7 to access Seven Network programs, and to 10 for Network Ten programs.

The most significant change was that local programs and presenters would be seen to have “swapped” channels. Hence the news presenters signing off from Seven on Saturday night would be seen the next night on Ten, and vice versa.

Adelaide’s long-running morning show Touch Of Elegance, which had been running on SAS10 for almost twenty years, would follow SAS across to Seven. Pop music shows Trax and Top 40 Video would also shift from Ten to Seven.

The national children’s program Fat Cat And Friends, a long-time presence on Network Ten, would move to Seven nationally as SAS changed its network base but due to network commitments its move didn’t take place until the following June, forcing it to actually shift production to ADS for six months before returning to SAS.

The local SAS10 Christmas Telethon would appear the following year on Seven. In the other direction, the morning show The Lionel Williams Show would follow ADS from Seven to Ten.

One program that was not to swap its network presence was the Adelaide-based Wheel Of Fortune — produced at the studios of ADS7. The show was to remain with the Seven Network so production of the show had to shift from ADS’ studios in North Adelaide to SAS in Gilberton — forcing a logistical task to transport the show’s set which measured almost four metres high.

The changeover between the two channels took place during the quiet post-Christmas period and after both ADS7 and SAS10 signed off at around the same time on the night of 26 December. Once both stations were off the air, engineers from both stations essentially swapped the connections at the transmitter — a task made simple as both ADS and SAS broadcast from the same tower on Mount Lofty.

YouTube: chevyxwon

ADS was therefore unplugged from the 7 transmitter and plugged into the 10 transmitter on site, and SAS swapped to the 7 transmitter. The whole process took all of about 14 minutes — well before both stations were to commence regular transmission on their new channels at dawn on Sunday morning.

The switchover, while not causing too much distress for viewers, was to be a huge undertaking behind the scenes as both ADS and SAS had to swap their entire program inventories from one network to another and station branding and promotions all had to be re-done to match their new network logos and arrangements.

In the case of ADS the change was also complicated by Network Ten being in the process of adopting a new logo (pictured right) in the eastern states early in the new year — meaning that ADS would have to do two logo changes in the space of less than a month.

YouTube: d0nkeyshines

Source: TV Radio Extra, 23 January 1988, 21 May 1988.




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/adelaides-great-tv-channel-swap.html

Dec 25 2017

A very Neighbourly Christmas

Television.AU wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas!

And, from 1987, it’s also a Merry Christmas from our friendly NeighboursCraig McLachlan, Rowena Mohr, Paul Keane and Nick Carrafa; with Kylie Minogue and Ian Smith in the middle row; and Jason Donovan, Annie Jones and Anne Charleston.

Neighbours was at its peak in popularity, collecting five TV Week Logie Awards earlier in the year, and having just married teenage sweethearts Scott and Charlene to massive ratings. The series was at the end of its first year screening in the UK but it was still buried in a daytime timeslot. It would only be another month before BBC shifted it to the 5.35pm timeslot where it became a ratings hit and its future was assured.

Minogue, who had made her recording debut a few months earlier with Locomotion, had also just been announced as part of the celebrity line-up to perform for Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the upcoming Royal Bicentennial Concert in Sydney.

The following year would see Minogue depart Neighbours to pursue her pop career.

Source: TV Week, 19 December 1987.


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/a-very-neighbourly-christmas.html

Dec 19 2017

The Making of ATV Channel 0

It is not often that we can witness the construction of a television station.

However, thanks to rare footage that has come to light, we now get a close-up glimpse at the formation, construction and early days of Melbourne’s third commercial station ATV Channel 0 (now the Melbourne branch of Network Ten).

The licence to operate ATV0 was awarded to transport tycoon Reg Ansett in April 1963. By the end of the year, construction of a modern studio complex had commenced amid the paddocks and fields of what was then the fringe of Melbourne suburbia.

The Australian Television Archive has recently published to YouTube some of the behind the scenes moments in the construction of a studio building, including some examples of the technology of the day. There are also some on-air segments — such as snippets from This Is It! and Seven Wonderful Nights (both broadcast on opening night, 1 August 1964) and The Children’s Show, and a promo for the channel’s news service, ATV News Report.

Some of this footage has likely never been broadcast or not seen since originally going to air at the time.

These and many other clips of ATV0 and Australian television in general can be found at the Australian Television Archive.




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/the-making-of-atv-channel-0.html

Dec 17 2017

Nine axes Perth newsreaders

The Nine Network has handed its Perth newsreaders a sobering Christmas present by giving them both the flick.

It was revealed in an internal email, leaked to the media late last week, that Tim McMillan and Emmy Kubainski had not been re-signed for 2018.

“This is difficult news to pass on, but I want to let you know that Nine Perth is making changes to the News team as part of a broader change of direction for our bulletin in 2018,” the leaked email read.

“I’d like to thank both Tim and Emmy on behalf of the Newsroom for the contribution to Nine and wish them well for the future.”

It is unclear what the stated “change of direction” for the Perth news entailed, with Nine still to announce its local news line-up for 2018.

Perth-born McMillan had been with Nine News in Perth since 2013, having previously worked at Nine and at ABC in Melbourne.

As well as reading the 6.00pm news, he also had a stint as presenter of Nine’s early morning Perth Today News.

Kubainski had joined Nine in 2015 after working at ABC and at Seven in Perth, including reading Seven’s weekend news bulletin for five years.

While Nine News dominates the 6.00pm ratings on the east coast, over in the west it has long struggled to come anywhere near beating rival Seven News, which has been anchored for over 30 years by popular pair Rick Ardon and Susannah Carr.

Nine has tried various newsreading teams in Perth over the years in the hope of gaining an edge over Seven, with past presenters including Peter Barlow, Russell Goodrick, Peter Waltham, Greg Pearce, Anne Conti, Liam Bartlett, Tina Altieri, Peter Holland, Terry Willesee, Dixie Marshall and Sonia Vinci.

Source: PerthNow



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/nine-axes-perth-newsreaders.html

Dec 17 2017

Obituary: Rory O’Donoghue

Rory O’Donoghue, actor, musician, composer and performer best known from sketch comedy series The Aunty Jack Show, has died at the age of 68.

Born in London, he came with his family to Australia at the age of seven. Before coming to Australia, his parents were both performers with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.

O’Donoghue made his performing debut at the age of 13 in the stage musical Oliver!, followed by The Sound Of Music.

He formed an early partnership with Grahame Bond, working together in comedy revues and later making television commercials — with clients including banks, publishers and oil companies.  They then created the pilot for Aunty Jack as part of ABC‘s The Comedy Game, with Bond as Aunty Jack and O’Donoghue as Thin Arthur.

The Aunty Jack Show debuted as a series in November 1972 and only went for two seasons but its legacy lasted far longer, with the show creating the character Norman Gunston (Garry McDonald) and its cast appearing in a one-off skit to signal the launch of colour television for ABC in 1975.

YouTube: National Archives of Australia

O’Donoghue continued to work as a musician and composer and later television credits included Wollongong The Brave, The Of Show and children’s game show Razzle Dazzle.

Source: Jessica O’DonoghueWikipedia, IMDB, TV Tonight. TV Times, 2 December 1972, 3 November 1973.



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2017/12/obituary-rory-odonoghue.html