Since model Elle Macpherson‘s recent TV special earned huge ratings for Nine — winning its timeslot in every city and in Sydney was only a whisker below the ratings for the Olympic Games closing ceremony — all three networks had been vying for her attention in the lead up to her Australian promotional tour. The Nine Network has since emerged as the successful applicant but then the battle was on between the network’s two current affairs stalwarts, 60 Minutes and A Current Affair. The two programs have long had a bitter rivalry between them. As a result they have never agreed to share an exclusive story — until now. The programs have come to a rare agreement over the rights to interview Macpherson. The A Current Affair interview to screen this week will form part of 60 Minutes‘ story the following Sunday. It is a co-operation between the rival programs that has shocked even Nine staffers.
Sarah flies out
Sarah Monahan, Hey Dad‘s youngest cast member, is quitting the long-running series with plans to go overseas as an exchange student. The 15-year-old, who has played the part of Jenny Kelly since the age of seven, will leave the show when its current series winds up in November. Producer Gary Reilly has supported her decision to leave. “I would love for Sarah to stay on the show, but if she doesn’t want to, that’s also fine — it’s up to her,” he told TV Week. “She has spent nearly half her life in Hey Dad! We’ve watched her grow up.” Hey Dad! writers have yet to decide how they will write out Jenny from the series.
Production begins in Melbourne this week on the $7 million mini-series Stark, based on British comedian Ben Elton‘s (pictured) novel of the same name. The ABC and BBC joint venture will star Elton with Colin Friels, Deborra-Lee Furness, Bill Hunter, Gus Mercurio, Colette Mann and Jacqueline McKenzie. Stark is a comedy-thriller about a powerful syndicate of industrialists with a cynical plan to overcome an impending economic disaster. The group are thwarted by a motley group of greenies. “We are going to be making a hugely impressive mini-series here,” Elton told TV Week. “I think the project is going to be a hit worldwide. It’ll turn a profit — there’s no question of that.”
- Seven‘s Melbourne newsreader Jennifer Keyte (pictured) is about to sign a lucrative three-year deal to stay with the network following a ratings boost on the back of Seven’s recent coverage of the Olympic Games. “The Olympics meant that many people watched our news for the first time, sampling what he have to offer,” she said. “We know the ratings were obviously inflated, but what we hope is that people liked what they saw… and will stay with us.”
- Two Neighbours cast members are soon to be leaving the long-running series. Maggie Dence, who has played headmistress Dorothy Burke for three years, is leaving the show in November and Felice Arena, who joined the series earlier this year, will be taping his last scenes this month.
- Seven has denied last week‘s report that Stan Grant would soon be removed from the host’s chair on Real Life. Although Seven sources have said that 60 Minutes reporter Mike Munro was being discussed by management as a replacement.
- The Nine Network has given the go-ahead to Snowy, a 13-part series about the Snowy Mountain Scheme. The network also plans a new series from Village Roadshow Pictures to be filmed on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, the Seven Network has five pilots in progress, including a Sunday current affairs program, a travel/lifestyle show and a comedy project featuring Garry McDonald.
- Danny Bonaduce, former child star from the ’70s American sitcom The Partridge Family, will be a guest host of Tonight Live this week, following a guest appearance on the show back in May.
Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here
“Of all the scripts, submissions and even germs of ideas which must pass through the ABC‘s drama department each year, why specifically was Frankie’s House annointed? This is not meant to dismiss the program out of hand or even cast aspersions on its production values… far from it. But for a start, Frankie’s House is yet another look at the Vietnam War, a conflict and era which have been revisited so many times now by movie and television producers that even the subsequent generation knows most of the stock standard music by heart.”
Program Highlights (Melbourne, October 4-10):
Sunday: Seven crosses to Mount Panorama for the Tooheys 1000, the 30th running of the Bathurst motor race. The ten-hour telecast, from 8.00am, will be covered by over 30 cameras including nine racecam units. Nine and Ten both have tennis coverage in the afternoon — the final of the Queensland Open from Brisbane (Ten) and the Exhibition Challenge between Andre Agassi and John McEnroe from the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne (Nine). Nine’s documentary series Our World presents a Burke’s Backyard special, Listen To Our Kids, addressing why modern society is failing the development of children in particular due to sterile play environments on offer. Sunday night movies are Rocky V (Seven), Triumph Of The Spirit (Nine) and the long-awaited TV release of 1982 film ET The Extra Terrestrial (Ten).
Monday: In A Country Practice (Seven), Perce (Allan Penney) suffers a heart attack after Bernice (Judith McGrath) fails to pay the electricity bill.
Tuesday: In GP (ABC), Tessa (Marilynne Paspaley) is thrown into a medical and moral dilemma when a woman of Middle Eastern culture asks her to circumcise her daughter. In the final episode of Sylvania Waters (ABC), Laurie and Noeline are at each other about relatives staying at their house while they’re away. In the year’s final episode of The Flying Doctors (Nine), Penny (Sophie Lee) and Steve (Paul Kelman) split up, Jackie (Nikki Coghill) and Guy (David Reyne) split up, Rowie (Sarah Chadwick) decides to leave town, and Geoff (Robert Grubb) is making a video for daughter Scarlett’s first birthday.
Wednesday: ABC debuts two-part mini-series Frankie’s House (pictured), starring Iain Glen, Ally Fowler and Kevin Dillon, telling the story of a group of young photo journalists during the Vietnam War.
Thursday: The final episode of mini-series Frankie’s House on ABC. Sketch comedy series Fast Forward returns to Seven.
Friday: Elle McFeast (Libby Gore) is this week’s guest on Burke’s Backyard (Nine).
Saturday: SBS presents live coverage of the 22nd annual NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Final from Henson Park, Sydney. Cricket season starts with the Mercantile Mutual Cup, live from Brisbane, on Nine. Frankie J Holden, David Franklin and Ian Scott guest star in drama series Bony (Seven).
Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 3 October 1992. Southdown Press.