The Herald Sun Guide has been a weekly supplement in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper since October 1990. Though it could be said that the Guide actually had its origins as Melbourne’s Listener In which began as a radio listing back in 1925 and continued publication until 1987, ending its days as TV Scene. The Sun newspaper at that time had only recently launched a seven-day TV guide in its Thursday edition, which later moved to Wednesdays after the demise of TV Scene, which also used to come out on a Wednesday. Another common link between TV Scene and the Guide was that of Robert Fidgeon who wrote for TV Scene and later wrote for and edited the Guide until his passing last year.
This week’s edition of the Guide, to celebrate its 18th birthday, featured network personalities Rove McManus, Rebecca Gibney and Bert Newton (pictured, above), thus representing each of the three networks, each recalling various highlights of their careers over the past eighteen years.
Back in 1990, 16-year-old Rove McManus was in Perth performing in a high school musical production of Oklahoma (“thankfully for everybody I didn’t move into musical theatre”) before eventually coming to Melbourne to host a variety show on Channel 31 called The Loft, attracting high praise from the Guide’s Robert Fidgeon (pictured). In September 1999, McManus began hosting his own late-night show on the Nine Network and when the network decided not to renew after ten weeks he wound up at Network Ten where his company Roving Enterprises now heads a number of prime-time shows for the network, and has led to McManus winning three TV Week Gold Logies awards.
New Zealand-born Rebecca Gibney has been a regular fixture on Australian TV for much of the last eighteen years, with roles in popular productions The Flying Doctors, All Together Now and the Halifax f.p. and Small Claims telemovies, plus mini-series Day Of The Roses, Kangaroo Palace and Come In Spinner. A break from regular series television saw Gibney move to Tasmania, but still appearing in programs such as Sensing Murder and Venus And Mars. The TV Week Logie award-winning actress has returned to television drama this year in the popular Seven Network series Packed To The Rafters.
Bert Newton recalls that at the age of 18, he was starting in television as a host of HSV7‘s The Late Show. By the time the Guide began publication in October 1990, Newton had been in television for over thirty years but his TV career was looking a bit uncertain following the demise of The Bert Newton Show which had struggled to make a dent against Midday With Ray Martin the previous year. Things turned around in 1992 when Newton made a surprise signing with the Ten Network to host its new Morning Show, later changing to Good Morning Australia, and redefining mid-morning television. Newton eventually left Ten when Good Morning Australia wrapped up three years ago, and returned to the Nine Network to host Bert’s Family Feud, and later 20 To 1 and What A Year.
To commemorate the 18th birthday of the Herald Sun Guide, Darren Devlyn proposed his list of the top 18 TV stars who’ve made the biggest impact on TV over the last eighteen years:
1. Rob Sitch and Working Dog Productions, with hit shows The Late Show, Frontline, The Panel, Thank God You’re Here and The Hollowmen under their belt.
3. Don Burke (pictured), for bringing gardening to prime-time commercial television and hence spawning a whole string of similar lifestyle programs
4. Ray Martin
5. Eddie McGuire
6. Bert Newton
7. Brian Naylor
8. Jana Wendt (pictured)
9. Gina Riley and Jane Turner (Kath & Kim)
10. Rove McManus
11. Bruce McAvaney
12. Lisa McCune
13. Aaron Pedersen
14. Rebecca Gibney
15. Andrew Denton (pictured)
16. Georgie Parker
17. Claudia Karvan
18. Gary Sweet
Source: Herald Sun, 22 October 2008