On Monday 13 April 1987, Melbourne’s HSV7 — under new management from Sydney-based media group Fairfax — launched its revamped Seven National News and started airing the Sydney-based Terry Willesee Tonight.
Seven’s new newsreader was Greg Pearce, formerly from Perth but coming to Melbourne seemingly oblivious to the storm of resentment from Melbourne viewers who weeks earlier had witnessed veteran Seven newsreader Mal Walden trying to hold back tears as he had announced that he had just been sacked by Seven’s new management.
Even though HSV7 was now producing a one-hour news bulletin for the first time in its 30-year history, Melbourne viewers were abandoning Seven’s new look in droves in protest at the raft of changes initiated by the Sydney-based management.
Seven National News found itself in the unenviable position of falling to literally the bottom of the ratings. Initial ratings results (as percentages of TV households) were down to ones and zeros — seeing it beaten by cartoon series Inspector Gadget on ABC and UK-soap Brookside on SBS.
Seven’s change to a one-hour news also led to all Victorian regional stations switching their national news feed from Seven to National Nine News, enabling them to maintain a half-hour slot for national news from Melbourne.
The launch of Seven’s ill-fated news and current affairs line-up are among the latest additions to Classic TV Guides:
- Friday 17 February 1961 — MELBOURNE Premiere Consider Your Verdict
- Saturday 20 February 1965 — SYDNEY Prince Philip arrives in Canberra
- Monday 12 July 1965 — ADELAIDE
- Saturday 8 July 1972 — WESTERN AUSTRALIA Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final
- Saturday 1 March 1975 — MELBOURNE C-Day — the first day of full-scale colour television
- Sunday 15 January 1978 — VICTORIA
- Sunday 11 February 1979 — MELBOURNE Premiere 60 Minutes
- Tuesday 27 February 1979 — BRISBANE Premiere Prisoner
- Saturday 19 July 1980 — ADELAIDE Opening Ceremony Games Of The XXII Olympiad
- Friday 12 March 1982 — CANBERRA TV Week Logie Awards
- Thursday 10 March 1983 — MELBOURNE Final Episode The Sullivans
- Tuesday 27 March 1984 — SOUTH AUSTRALIA Eureka Stockade
- Saturday 19 October 1985 — SOUTH AUSTRALIA Music Express 10th Anniversary, Miss South Australia Quest
- Friday 3 April 1987 — VICTORIA TV Week Logie Awards
- Monday 13 April 1987 — VICTORIA Seven National News, Terry Willesee Tonight
- Friday 8 November 1996 — WESTERN AUSTRALIA
- Monday 10 February 1997 — MELBOURNE
I remember working in the Audio/Visual section of a large department store in Frankston in 1987 when poor Mal Walden was sacked from HSV and the next day channel 7 had a black ban on all TVs on display (over 50 sets at the time) and that went on for months except for the football with late night shoppers on a Friday night. The blackban came from management and staff and that`s how detested channel 7 was at the time. .
Never really had much time for Fairfax from then on.
The late 80s (1986 onwards) were a tumultuous time for TV networks and a lot of changes took place.
Good times though and some good memories.