While other current affairs shows may have skirted around describing themselves as ‘tabloid’, Hard Copy went into it unashamedly with its mix of sensationalist stories, loud music and over-the-top headlines.
The Australian version of Hard Copy, debuting on Network Ten on 19 September 1991, was a franchise of the American show of the same name. It was hosted by Gordon Elliott (pictured), a former co-host of Good Morning Australia who had made a name for himself on American television in shows like A Current Affair and Good Day New York, both for Fox. He hosted the Australian Hard Copy from a studio in Los Angeles, commuting each week from New York where he continued his local TV commitments there.
At the time of its Australian debut, Elliott described Hard Copy to TV Week: “It brings the extraordinary lives of ordinary people to the public. The stories are wonderful melodramas. It’s real-life soap opera and I think the viewers will love it.”
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Producing Hard Copy was former News Limited journalist and Good Morning Australia producer Peter Brennan, who’d been producing the American A Current Affair for three years, inspired by the original Mike Willesee current affairs shows in Australia but, as Elliott put it, “gave it more punch”.
Brennan was then put in charge of the American Hard Copy, successfully boosting its ratings, and then leading the Australian spin-off.
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As well as featuring international stories, Ten’s Hard Copy also had its own team of locally-based reporters: Richard Willis, Iain Gillespie, Jane Hansen and Meni Caroutas.
Hard Copy continued on Ten for just two years, coming to an end after 88 episodes.
The debut of Hard Copy is among the latest addition of Classic TV Guides:
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- Sunday 10 June 1962 — VICTORIA The Patriots
- Wednesday 17 July 1963 — VICTORIA In Yallourn Tonight
- Wednesday 17 July 1963 — SYDNEY Ballad For One Gun
- Tuesday 10 September 1963 — MELBOURNE
- Thursday 6 May 1965 — VICTORIA Double Your Dollars
- Friday 7 May 1965 — BRISBANE Double Your Dollars
- Tuesday 13 September 1966 — VICTORIA Ten Years Of Television
- Saturday 26 November 1966 — VICTORIA 1966 Federal Election and From London By Satellite
- Monday 28 June 1971 — BRISBANE Final Pick-A-Box
- Monday 5 July 1971 — VICTORIA The Great Temptation begins
- Sunday 30 July 1972 — MELBOURNE
- Thursday 1 May 1975 — SYDNEY Hasham
- Wednesday 7 April 1976 — MELBOURNE Luke’s Kingdom
- Saturday 15 May 1976 — MELBOURNE Nerve Deafness Telethon
- Tuesday 7 June 1977 — MELBOURNE Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee
- Tuesday 7 June 1977 — QUEENSLAND Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee
- Friday 4 August 1978 — MELBOURNE Opening Ceremony XI Commonwealth Games
- Monday 28 May 1979 — MELBOURNE Roots: The Next Generations
- Wednesday 26 September 1979 — SYDNEY
- Wednesday 26 September 1979 — MELBOURNE
- Monday 4 August 1980 — SYDNEY Closing Ceremony Games Of The XXII Olympiad
- Monday 4 August 1980 — ADELAIDE Closing Ceremony Games Of The XXII Olympiad
- Monday 17 August 1981 — CANBERRA
- Tuesday 3 November 1981 — ADELAIDE Melbourne Cup
- Sunday 8 August 1982 — MELBOURNE Henry V
- Tuesday 24 August 1982 — CANBERRA Winner Take All
- Sunday 12 August 1984 — BRISBANE QTQ9 celebrates 25 years
- Tuesday 18 June 1985 — ADELAIDE
- Sunday 1 June 1986 — SYDNEY Opening Ceremony FIFA World Cup
- Monday 16 February 1987 — ADELAIDE You’ve Got To Be Joking
- Monday 8 February 1988 — WESTERN AUSTRALIA
- Thursday 19 September 1991 — MELBOURNE Hard Copy begins
- Sunday 29 September 1991 — MELBOURNE Rose Against The Odds
- Sunday 7 March 1993 — MELBOURNE The Great Debate
- Saturday 30 April 1994 — TASMANIA Aggregation
- Monday 30 May 2005 — MELBOURNE Temptation begins
Source: TV Week, 21 September 1991.