Cover: Kevin Costner
Is Jennifer set to quit?
Tonight Live host and producer Steve Vizard has denied rumours that the show’s resident newsreader Jennifer Keyte will not be with the show when it returns for 1992, although he has conceded that she has not renewed her contract with the show. “I can tell you she’ll be back,” he told TV Week. And Seven Nightly News reporter Naomi Robson, who has filled in for Keyte on Tonight Live, denies suggestions that she will be Keyte’s replacement on the show. “I don’t know where these stories come from. There is no talk about it at the moment,” Robson said. “Jennifer is well entrenched in both her jobs at Seven.” Rumours over Keyte’s position have been sparked by her apparent concern that her appearances on the late night show are affecting her credibility as the main news anchor for Seven in Melbourne. It is believed that she wants to concentrate on what is shaping up to be a fierce battle for early evening ratings this year with the launch of Seven’s new current affairs show, Real Life.
The naked truth about Jeremy Sims
Chances star Jeremy Sims wants people to know that despite his character Alex’s readiness to strip off (as pictured, with co-star Annie Jones), in real life there is an intelligent head on those often bare shoulders and that he takes his job very seriously. Sims has no desire to be a “personality” and as a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) wants to be taken seriously as an actor – adding that Chances presents some significant challenges. “I’ve had to go into scenes after minimal rehearsal and put myself on the line,” he told TV Week. “This means day in, day out, every week, in what is probably the most dramatic – if over-the-top – role on television. I’m really grateful for the role of Alex. It’s the only role I think I’d be happy doing on television in an ongoing soap. I’m sure there are other guys who are happy doing their bits on Home And Away and E Street, but I would be bored out of my mind doing that stuff.” Sims also responds to some of the jokes and send-ups made about the show and his frequent bouts of nudity. “I’m fascinated that people still make such a big issue out of it. People are puerile on the subject, you know. Tits and bums are the most amazing subjects. You can get endless publicity over the fact you show a part of your body on television,” he said. “Apart from the political satire, Fast Forward is nearly all tits and bums jokes. It’s all cheap innuendo, yet they can get away with it because they have the facade of being intelligent satire. It is mostly just puerile, schoolboy humour. I’m not saying I don’t laugh at it.”
Man of Meni talents!
Hard Copy reporter Meni Caroutas (pictured) will do anything for a story – even if it means crawling through Melbourne’s drains. On a recent assignment, the policeman-turned-reporter joined the Cave Clan for a trip around a part of the metropolis few ever see. “When I heard of the Cave Clan I thought it was just a bunch of kids, but they are all about 20 and well organised,” he said. “They just do it for kicks, a bit of fun. They get maps of the drains. It’s all carefully planned.” As a member of the NSW Police Force, Caroutas was an undercover detective but a set up saw him charged with theft of cash and amphetamines. Even though he was exonerated and received a settlement, his career with the force was ruined. Officially he is still a member of the NSW Police Force but is hoping to soon be discharged. “I’m just a number at the moment,” he said. “Hopefully all the paperwork will be processed soon. I don’t consider myself a copper.”
Dinosaurs, a new US co-production between Jim Henson Productions and Walt Disney Television, is set to be Seven’s new weapon against long-running current affairs show 60 Minutes. Not since The Comedy Company has a rival show managed to consistently knock 60 Minutes in the ratings – although Seven’s ALF and Ten’s The Simpsons had tried – but coupled with popular US sitcom Full House, Seven hopes Dinosaurs is a strong contender against the current affairs ratings giant.
GP star Brian Rooney might not be returning to the popular ABC drama when production resumes this year. The 18-year-old, currently appearing in the stage production of Wizard Of Oz in Adelaide, will be taking on a leading role in the upcoming production of Neil Simon’s Lost In Yonkers but it is uncertain if he will be able to combine that commitment to production of GP. “Hopefully, I can do both,” he told TV Week. “I did that when I was doing Les Miserables and GP. We might be able to work GP in.”
Former Brides Of Christ star Melissa Thomas is looking forward to making the move from Sydney to Melbourne for her new role as schoolgirl Lily Price in the upcoming Network Ten sitcom Late For School. The 17-year-old has been the victim of an ongoing campaign of obscene phone calls and intruders at her home. “It’s been pretty scary stuff,” she said, adding that the new job offer came at just the right time. “I desperately needed some excuse to get away from Sydney.” Late For School, which also stars Frankie J. Holden, Sarah Chadwick, Ross Higgins and Matthew Newton, is set to debut soon on Ten.
John Laws says…
”We are in for a heady year, it seems, on the current affairs front. Even Ten is getting into the act, but I suspect it’s going to be trailing the field in the ratings with Mr Shame (though its much-criticised but entertaining beat-up series, Hard Copy, could well prove a ratings winner throughout 1992). My prediction is that A Current Affair will maintain its momentum in the long haul, but its control of the important 6.30pm timeslot is no longer guaranteed. Seven executives and Gerald Stone are, I’m told, supremely confident that their new product, Real Life, can knock off Jana (Wendt) and company. If nothing else, the battle is going to be brutal and unrelenting.”
Program Highlights (Melbourne/Regional Victoria, January 18-24):
Saturday: There’s golf (Palm Meadows Cup) and lawn bowls (Qantas Jetabout International) on ABC, tennis (Australian Open) on Seven/Prime and cricket (Benson And Hedges World Series) on Nine/VIC TV. With the cricket being held in Melbourne, regional network VIC TV has live evening coverage of the cricket, while Nine in Melbourne has a repeat of the 1983 movie BMX Bandits, the movie which launched the career of Nicole Kidman.
Sunday: Sunday night movies are Thunderball (Seven/Prime) and The Star Chamber (Nine/VIC TV) up against mini-series Bride Of Violence (Ten/SCN), while ABC presents Bruce Beresford’s production of the Richard Strauss opera Elektra for the State Opera of South Australia.
Monday: Ten launches some major changes to its daytime and early evening line-up. At 8.30am, Bert Newton (pictured) returns to TV as host of The Morning Show, presenting 90 minutes of entertainment and infomercials. The new program replaces ‘Til Ten. Ten also debuts US talk show Sally Jessy Raphael and moves Oprah Winfrey to an afternoon timeslot after a trial run in a late-night timeslot over the last few months. However the biggest change is late in the afternoon, with the move of Ten Eyewitness News to the 5.00pm timeslot, followed by the debut of current affairs program Hinch at 6.00pm (following Derryn Hinch’s recent axing from the Seven Network). At 6.30pm is American dating game Studs, followed by Neighbours at 7.00pm. Regional network SCN breaks away from the Ten schedule in the early evening to run alternative programming: The New Candid Camera at 5.00pm, Neighbours at 5.30pm, Southern Cross News (Bendigo/Gippsland) and Studs (Albury/Shepparton/Ballarat) at 6.00pm, and then at 6.30pm Rob Gaylard (ex-GTV9) presents Southern Cross Eyewitness News, a half-hour bulletin of national news broadcast statewide, followed by a delayed broadcast of Hinch at 7.00pm before re-joining the Ten schedule. Seven debuts its long-awaited current affairs program Real Life at 6.30pm, and after Home And Away presents the series return of A Country Practice. Then in the wee small hours of the morning, at 4.00am, Ten resumes repeats of classic Australian drama Prisoner.
Tuesday: After the late news, Ten/SCN debuts the new US drama series Dangerous Women, a production of the Australian Grundy organisation largely based on its former series Prisoner, with scripts and storylines in early episodes almost directly copied from the Australian original.
Thursday: Seven/Prime starts a repeat of the popular 1981 mini-series A Town Like Alice, starring Bryan Brown, Helen Morse (both pictured) and Gordon Jackson.
Friday: In the lead up to Australia Day, ABC presents the first of two nights of The Aussie Picture Show – a collection of films representing Australian life over the past 80 years. Tonight’s line-up of films include Leisure, the 1977 Academy Award-winning animation depicting the world of work and leisure through history; Bingo, Bridesmaids And Braces, tracing the lives of three working-class women as they grow up over a 12-year period; This Is The ABC, a 20-minute review of the operations of the ABC in the 1950s; and the 1979 telemovie A Good Thing Going, starring Chris Haywood and Veronica Lang.
Source: TV Week (Victoria Country edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 18 January 1992. Southdown Press