Cover: Nicky Buckley (Sale Of The Century) and Catriona Rowntree (Getaway)

Long lost Friends
The battle between the Seven and Nine networks over the rights to the top ratings US sitcom Friends has been won by Seven… and Nine. Seven has secured the rights to the first season but Nine will have any subsequent series through the recent output deal it has signed with Warner Bros (the same deal that has seen Lois & Clark The New Adventures Of Superman swap networks this year). Nine had been hoping to secure series one from Seven in exchange for something that Seven wanted. So Nine issued a somewhat premature press release that it had also secured series one. “Not true,” according to Seven’s programming chief, Chris O’Mara. “We still have series one of Friends and I plan to screen it any day now.” But while Seven and Nine are knocking each other out, passengers on Ansett Airlines have already been watching Friends on its in-flight entertainment via a separate agreement.

magdaszubanskigarrymcdonaldGarry looks back
With a list of credits including some of Australia’s most beloved shows, including The Aunty Jack Show, The Norman Gunston Show and Mother And Son, it seemed inevitable that Garry McDonald would be co-hosting (with Magda Szubanski) Seven‘s 40 Years Of Television special. In the lead up to the upcoming special, McDonald recalls his early memories of television. “I used to go across the road where they had a television and we would stand on the fence looking in their lounge-room window,” he told TV Week. “Occasionally, the big thing was you’d be invited in.” 40 Years Of Television looks at some of TV’s favourite moments, covering variety, comedy, drama and music through the decades. “There are things in the 40 Years Of Television that I don’t even remember, such as Autumn Affair. That was Australia’s first soap opera, and obviously about a relationship in its later years. Now when you look at it, it’s very funny, very melodramatic.”

claudiakarvan_0001Claudia turns up the heat!
Claudia Karvan (pictured) stars as a lawyer travelling around the countryside on a motorbike in the upcoming telemovie Heat. The $1.9 million production is the first of three planned telemovies based on the 1986 film Shame. Karvan’s character, Asta Caddell, was played by Deborra-lee Furness in the original. “I’m very excited about Asta,” Karvan told TV Week. “She is searching for the truth all the time and causing a lot of trouble. I get to pull beers, paint sheds, ride a motorbike and fight the law. I don’t even have a love interest — it’s fantastic!” Heat is currently filming in Western Australia and co-stars Sonia Todd and John Moore.


  • Network Ten has signed up Wendy Hughes, currently appearing in Nine‘s Banjo Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River, to take the lead role in its new drama series, State Coroner. Filming for the two-hour pilot of State Coroner is due to be completed before production resumes on The Man From Snowy River — but it is unclear if Hughes will return to the Nine series. State Coroner is a joint production between Crawford Productions and Harvey Taft Productions.
  • sylvaniawaters_0002The Donaher family (pictured) — made famous in the ABC reality series Sylvania Waters — are returning to TV screens for their first appearance since the series wound up three years ago. The family is being reunited for a 60 Minutes interview with reporter Charles Woolley.
  • Nine‘s Midday With Kerri-Anne has been an instant hit, although producers are still to sort out who will host the show’s weekly sports segment. ABC‘s Tracey Holmes has so far been presenting the segment but it is still to be decided who will sit opposite her. Producers are still unsure whether to use former test cricketer Simon O’Donnell or sign up an AFL player.
  • Dieter Brummer, who this week makes his final appearance in Home And Away after four years, has been given an open invitation be a guest reporter on Seven‘s The Great Outdoors. “I start with the show in May and that will be fun, really cool,” he told TV Week. “The only thing with travelling around and seeing everything is, because it’s work, you can’t really do it with anybody else. It gets a bit lonely.” Dieter is also to star in Foxtel‘s new soap parody Shark Bay, to be produced in Melbourne, and host the pay TV network’s teen show Future Active.

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 18 February 1996): 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 Blue Heelers Seven Tue 2119000
2 ER Nine Thu 2096000
3 Burke’s Backyard Nine Fri 1736000
4 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman Nine Tue 1697000
5 JAG Seven Mon 1672000
6 National Nine News Nine M-F 1653000
7 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1635000
8 Better Homes And Gardens Seven Tue 1632000
9 Home Improvement Seven Sun 1553000
10 National Nine News Nine Sun 1552000
11 The Great Outdoors Seven Tue 1529000
12 The Nanny Ten Sun 1517000
13 Water Rats Nine Mon 1510000
14 Chicago Hope Seven Wed 1492000
15 Our House Nine Wed 1490000
16 Great Aussie Bloopers Seven Wed 1449000
17 Sale Of The Century Nine M-F 1443000
18 60 Minutes Nine Sun 1441000
19 World’s Greatest TV Commercials Seven Sun 1438000
20 Weddings Nine Wed 1434000

Program Highlights (Melbourne, March 9-15):
Saturday: The Final Qualifying Session of the Australian Grand Prix (11am, Nine) is live from Albert Park, Melbourne. The Cricket World Cup continues with the First Quarter Final (3pm, Nine) from Faisalabad, Pakistan, and the Second Quarter Final (8.30pm, Nine) live from Bangalore. Beyond 2000 (4.30pm, Ten) reports on Italy’s Mount Vesuvius, the volcano which is set to erupt again, endangering the millions of people living at its base.

Sunday: The Australian Grand Prix (11am, Nine) is live from its new home at Albert Park, Melbourne. Ken Sutcliffe and Jackie Stewart host the coverage which includes commentary by Alan Jones, Darrell Eastlake, Murray Walker and Jonathan Palmer. Background reports are provided by Anne-Maree Sparkman, Geoff Hutchinson, Mary Gearin and Eddie McGuire. Sports Sunday (4pm, Nine) returns with a special post-Grand Prix edition. In Banjo Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River (6.30pm, Nine), the arrival of Jewish refugees in Patersons Ridge causes friction. Sunday night movies are Crocodile Dundee (repeat, Nine) and Back To The Future Part III (repeat, Ten). This week’s episode of drama anthology Naked: Stories Of Men (8.30pm, ABC) is Fisherman’s Wake, a deeply personal account of one man’s relationship with his father.

Monday: The Labour Day long weekend in Melbourne brings the annual Moomba festival to TV, with the Moomba Street Parade (11am, Seven), featuring 1996 Moomba Monarch Marina Prior, followed by the International Moomba Masters water-skiing (12pm, Seven), live from the Yarra River. The Third Quarter Final of the Cricket World Cup (3pm to 6pm, 7.30pm to 10.30pm, Nine) is telecast from Karachi, Pakistan. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa George) spend their last night in Summer Bay. After The Beep (8pm, ABC), a new seven-part comedy series from the producers of Mother And Son, debuts — starring Genevieve Lemon (Prisoner, Neighbours), Genevieve Mooy (Frontline), Kerry Walker and Emily Weare. 

kimgyngell_0001Tuesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane (Dieter Brummer) passes away in Angel’s (Melissa George) arms. In Blue Heelers (8.30pm, Seven), tensions run high as a prison is proposed for Mount Thomas. In GP (8.30pm, ABC), Henry’s (Steve Bisley) nephew Max (Daniel Taylor) causes problems for the family when he becomes engrossed in his computer. In Fire (9.30pm, Seven), Seldom (Damian Pike) comes face to face with a figure from his past, criminal nightclub owner Jimmy Runyon (Kim Gyngell, pictured).

Wednesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Susan (Jackie Woodburne) is given a birthday surprise by her family. The First Semi-Final of the Cricket World Cup (8pm, Nine) is telecast from Calcutta, India.

Thursday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Fisher (Norman Coburn) helps Angel (Melissa George) make the funeral arrangements. The Second Semi-Final of the Cricket World Cup (8pm, Nine) is live from Chandigarh, India.

Friday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), the police stake out Ramsay Street to catch the drug fiends. Due to the Cricket World Cup coverage, The Footy Show (8.30pm, Nine) makes a special appearance on Friday, hosted by Eddie McGuire.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 9 March 1996. Pacific Publications Pty Ltd.



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