1996: February 3-9

tvweek_030296Cover: Nicole Kidman

The gang of four
60 Minutes producer John Westacott insists that, despite Jana Wendt leaving the program to join the Seven Network, “We’re still the winning team!” Westacott concedes that losing Wendt is disappointing but still has full confidence in his team of reporters — Tracey Curro, Richard Carleton, Charles Wooley and Jeff McMullen. “They are the best television journalists in the country. So I am unconcerned about whoever may stack up against us. Clearly Jana is a great talent, but I wont think it (her leaving) will have any effect on the overall product or the stories we are covering.” Westacott also denied press reports that he was still looking for a fifth reporter to replace Wendt. “I don’t think we need to think about an extra body,” he said. Seven has yet to announce its plans for Wendt’s new much-talked-about current affairs program.

samanthakumeSamantha and Babe!
Wild Life reporter Samantha Kume (pictured) can no longer keep it a secret… she is having a baby. Kume, who also reads the weekend National Nine News in Brisbane, credits clever camerawork for her baby bump to have gone unnoticed by the public. “The cameras have been kind,” she told TV Week. “I am amazed we have been able to keep it a secret.”

Aussie stars stalked in LA
Former Home And Away stars Julian McMahon and Alistair MacDougall have become the target of a stalker while living in LA. The incident occurred just before Christmas when the pair were sharing a flat in Hollywood. “We were sitting at a restaurant and there was a guy sitting next to us. He was a psycho — a freaky looking guy,” MacDougall told TV Week. “He was staring at us the whole meal and when we left he was parked across the street and ran so quickly to get to his car he nearly got hit.” The pair drove off, and their stalker followed them home. “We were getting seriously scared.” Although both actors managed to score some high profile roles when first arriving in LA, the last 12 months have been quieter. “It’s hard, but LA is definitely home,” McMahon told TV Week. “You’ve got to keep plugging away and wait for that big one.”

TV Turns 40: Daryl’s Saturday Night Fever
darylsomersossieostrich_0002“Long-running hit show Hey Hey It’s Saturday would never get off the ground today, according to its host, Daryl Somers. Daryl, who has hosted the show since it began 25 years ago, says the concept is too risky for today’s networks. “If you walked into a producer’s office and told them what the show was about, you’d have no hope.” Daryl said it was Graham Kennedy who inspired him to follow a career into television. “I used to watch Graham on In Melbourne Tonight in the Sixties, and I’d think, ‘Gosh, what a great job. He looks like he’s having so much fun’. And he was, of course. I never, ever though then that I would end up being in a similar situation on a TV show where I could have so much fun for 25 years.” Daryl started on Hey Hey It’s Saturday appearing between cartoons. “I was the Sophie Lee of the Seventies!” he says. “Eventually the banter between Ossie (Ostrich) and me took over the show and we got rid of the cartoons,” Daryl says. “The show sort of fell together! John (Blackman) happened to be rostered on as a voice-over man one weekend. It was a three-hour show then and I used to ask what the weather was like outside. John came up with some pretty funny answers, so we made sure he was rostered on every weekend from then on!”.”


  • The Great Outdoors reporter Bridget Adams and radio man Rob Elliott (pictured) have been signed up to host Seven‘s new interactive entertainment show, Talking Telephone Numbers. Based on a UK program, the live show features variety acts which will be used to generate numbers. Viewers will have the chance to win up to $50,000 if the seven numbers generated during the show match the last six digits of their telephone number in any order.
  • Weddings host Jane Hall has not had her contract renewed for hosting Foxtel‘s Breakfast Time program. It was earlier suspected that Hall would lose the Weddings gig on the back of hosting the Foxtel show with former E Street star Scott McRae… when actually the reverse has happened. Alyssa-Jane Cook is tipped to replace Hall as McRae’s co-host.
  • Filming has begun in Perth on Network Ten‘s new drama Sweat. The series, based on a group of young Aussie athletes with hopes of Olympic gold, features Martin Henderson (Echo Point), Melissa Thomas (E Street), Inge Hornstra (Heartbreak High) and newcomer Heath Ledger. Sweat is a production of Barron Films, which is also working on a series of telemovies for the Seven Network as a spin-off from the 1988 Australian film Shame.
  • A Frontline cast member tells TV Week that the popular ABC series, with two seasons under its belt, won’t be back in production until 1997.

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 14 January 1996): 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 National Nine News Nine Sat 2081000
2 Cricket: Australia v Sri Lanka (night) Nine Tue 1654000
3 National Nine News Nine M-F 1637000
4 The X Files Ten Wed 1597000
5 Cricket: Australia v Sri Lanka (night) Nine Thu 1580000
6 Cricket: Australia v Sri Lanka (day) Nine Sat 1558000
7 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1530000
8 Cricket: Australia v Sri Lanka (night) Nine Sun 1422000
9 The Mommies Seven Mon 1420000
10 Home And Away Seven M-F 1395000
11 Seven Nightly News Seven Sun 1386000
12 National Nine News Nine Sun 1378000
13 Sale Of The Century Nine M-F 1360000
14 Movie: Days Of Thunder Seven Sun 1311000
15 Cricket: Australia v Sri Lanka (night) Nine Sat 1299000
16 The Simpsons Ten Wed 1279000
17 Seven Nightly News Seven M-F 1270000
18 Ellen Seven Mon 1260000
19 University Hospital Ten Tue 1244000
20 Grace Under Fire Seven Thu 1190000

Program Highlights (Melbourne, February 3-9):
Saturday: The Mercantile Mutual Cup (9.59am, Nine), Tasmania versus Queensland, is live from Hobart.

Sunday: Current affairs programs Business Sunday (8am, Nine) and Sunday (9am, Nine) return for the new year. The Mercantile Mutual Cup (11am, Nine), NSW versus South Australia, is live from Sydney. Indigenous activist Lois O’Donoghue is featured in Australian Biography (7pm, SBS). Sunday night movies are Men At Work (repeat, Seven), Flashback (repeat, Nine), Mississippi Burning (repeat, Ten) and A Month In The Country (ABC).

Monday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Irene (Lynne McGranger) tells Marilyn (Emily Symons) that she wants a baby. Sandra Sully hosts the special John Howard: True Colours (7.30pm, Ten), a profile of Opposition Leader John Howard, featuring interviews by Paul Bongiorno. In Pacific Drive (11.15pm, Nine), with the inquest into the death of Sonia Kingsley well underway, Trey Devlin (Lloyd Morris) continues to criticise the beach patrol.

Tuesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Danni (Eliza Szonert) decides to drop out of school after a shocking first day. Last night’s John Howard special is followed up tonight with Paul Keating: True Colours (7.30pm, Ten), featuring Prime Minister Paul Keating, hosted by Sandra Sully with interviews again by Paul Bongiorno.

Wednesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Joanne (Kimberley Joseph) destroys Steven’s (Adam Willits) chances with Lindsay (Kate Agnew). Documentary Shifting Sands (7.30pm, SBS) features Arabic women in Australia sharing their experiences with dance, art, sex, marriage, racism, stereotyping and politics.

Thursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Luke (Bernard Curry) is on cloud nine after a romantic evening with Nadia (Dale Stevens).

Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane (Dieter Brummer) is in a life threatening situation. Footy season is almost back, with the AFL Centenary Lightning Premiership (7.30pm, Seven) starting with Round One matches North Melbourne versus Melbourne, Fitzroy versus Collingwood, St Kilda versus Hawthorn and Brisbane versus Carlton, live from Waverley Park, Melbourne.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 3 February 1996. Pacific Publications Pty Ltd.



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