The TV Week Logie Awards have been a part of Australian television culture since 1958.
The first awards were initiated by Melbourne-based TV publication TV Week in late 1958, only two years after the introduction of television in Australia.
The awards were primarily voted by readers of the magazine, but were supplemented by some award categories judged by an industry panel. The first voting coupons were published in TV Week in late 1958 with the first TV Week Awards presented in early 1959 as a Melbourne-only event.
Graham Kennedy and Panda Lisner from GTV9’s In Melbourne Tonight won the first TV Week Star Of The Year awards. It was Kennedy who then named the awards the Logies after the middle name of the inventor of television, John Logie Baird. Kennedy thought Baird’s middle name sounded like the name of an award, he also chose the name as it was “short, easy to remember and had a link to the history of television”. The first presentation of the awards known as the Logies also coincided with the launch of the Gold Logie award – to be awarded to the Most Popular Personality on television as voted by TV Week readers. Kennedy would go on to win the first Gold Logie in 1960.
By 1961 the Logies had expanded nationally. Bob Dyer from the popular game show Pick A Box was the first winner of the nationally-voted Gold Logie.
Early Logies presentations were not televised — in early days the awards were presented off-air or as segments on live programs such as In Melbourne Tonight and Sunnyside Up. In 1961, ABC broadcast an edited coverage of the Logies presentation. During the 1960s Logie presentations continued largely off-air until 1967 when the Logies were telecast in two segments — first as a segment on In Melbourne Tonight and then a one-hour edited highlights program later in the evening.
Also in 1967, Bert Newton had taken on the role as host — a role that became his own and Newton was to dominate the Logies for over twenty years. The following year the Nine Network telecast the Logie Awards in full for the first time.
By 1969 a new award category, Best New Talent (now Most Popular New Talent), was created to recognise and encourage new performers on television. The first Best New Talent winner was actor Gerard Kennedy, who later went on to win two Gold Logies for his work on Division 4. Later recipients of the New Talent award included Jamie Redfern (1972), Paul Hogan (1973), John Waters (1975), Gary Sweet (1982), Peter O’Brien (1986), Jason Donovan (1987), Lisa McCune (1995) and Jamie Durie (2001).
In 1973, visiting overseas star Michael Cole appeared on the Logies and in an acceptance speech to the audience dropped the word “s—“. While this barely raises an eyebrow these days, it created headlines in the early 1970s. Viewers rang in to complain about the word being broadcast, but when the awards were replayed the following day with the word edited out, even more viewers called up to complain that it had been cut. A few years later, in 1979, host Bert Newton made his own unfortunate gaffe when he said “I like the boy!” in reference to boxing champion Muhammad Ali. The term “boy”, while innocent in Australia, has racist connotations in America and saw a quick ad-lib by Newton save himself from an unfavourable reaction from Ali.
Up until 1980, the Logies were mostly televised from Melbourne on the Nine Network with Bert Newton as host. 1981 saw a break with tradition with the awards coming from Sydney and telecast on Network Ten with Michael Parkinson presenting. From then on, the awards alternated between the Nine and Ten Networks with various presenters during that time including Bert Newton, Ray Martin, Greg Evans, Don Lane, Daryl Somers and Michael Willesee.
In 1984 TV Week initiated the Hall Of Fame Logie — an industry-voted category awarded to recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals or programs to the Australian television industry.
Neighbours star Kylie Minogue created Logies history in 1988 by winning four awards on the one night, including the Gold. The then 19-year old was also the youngest recipient of the Gold.
In 1989 the Logie Awards were telecast for the first time on the Seven Network, with Bert Newton once again as host. The following years saw the awards alternate between all three commercial networks with presenters including Mark Mitchell, Bert Newton, Ray Martin and, in 1995, Noni Hazlehurst and Andrew Daddo.
Since 1996 the awards have been telecast every year on Nine with hosts including Daryl Somers (1996-1998), Andrew Denton (1999-2000), Shaun Micallef (2001), Wendy Harmer (2002), Eddie McGuire (2003-4), Gretel Killeen (2009) and Shane Bourne (2011).
For the 2005 Logie Awards, the hosting was shared amongst three hosts — McGuire, Network Ten’s Rove McManus and Seven’s Andrew O’Keefe — thus representing all three commercial networks, with backstage interviews by ABC’s Spicks And Specks host Adam Hills.
In 2006, for the fiftieth anniversary of television, the Logies were hosted by five former Gold Logie winners — Bert Newton, Lisa McCune, Georgie Parker, Ray Martin and Daryl Somers.
Newton returned to host the Logies solo in 2010.
Gold Logie winners have included Tommy Hanlon Jnr, Bobby Limb, Jimmy Hannan, Lorrae Desmond, Mike Walsh, Barry Crocker, Hazel Phillips, Ernie Sigley, Denise Drysdale, Pat McDonald, Jeanne Little, Don Lane, Bert Newton, Norman Gunston (Garry McDonald), Rowena Wallace, Steve Vizard, Craig McLachlan, Lisa McCune, Georgie Parker, Rove McManus, Rebecca Gibney, Kate Ritchie, John Wood, Ray Meagher, Karl Stefanovic and Hamish Blake. In 1970 the Apollo 11 crew, the crew to walk on the moon in 1969, also were awarded a special Gold Logie.
Graham Kennedy has gone on to win the most number of Gold Logies since their inception with a total of six in his collection (1960, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1978 and a Hall of Fame Gold Logie in 1998). Following Kennedy’s passing in 2005, TV Week in 2006 have honoured the man dubbed “the King” of Australian television by initiating the Graham Kennedy Award For Outstanding New Talent as an industry-voted award to supplement the publicly-voted Most Popular New Talent categories. Winners of this award have included MasterChef Australia judge Matt Preston (2010) and actresses Emma Lung (2007), Tammy Clarkson (2008), Jessica Marais (2009), Emma Booth (2011) and Chelsie Preston Crayford (2012).
International celebrities have also been a part of the Logies each year. International guests have included John Wayne, Sammy Davis Jnr, Roger Moore, Robert Reed, ‘Big Bird’, Rock Hudson, Priscilla Presley, Tony Randall, Juliet Mills, Florence Henderson, Robin Williams, Michael Crawford, Chuck Norris, Lindsay Wagner, Larry Hagman, Bea Arthur, Mickey Rooney, Henry Winkler, Tom Jones, Matt Le Blanc, Ricky Martin, k.d. Lang, Andre Rieu and British boyband One Direction.
TV WEEK LOGIE AWARDS’ HALL OF FAME
1984 Hector Crawford
1985 Ken G Hall
1986 Neil Davis *
1987 Paul Hogan
1988 Bert Newton
1989 Bryan Brown
1990 Johnny Young
1991 James Davern
1992 Four Corners
1993 Reg Grundy
1994 Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell
1995 Jack Thompson
1996 Maurie Fields *
1997 Garry McDonald
1998 Graham Kennedy
1999 Mike Walsh
2000 Bruce Gyngell
2001 Ruth Cracknell
2002 Michael Willesee
2003 Don Lane
2004 Sam Chisholm
2006 Play School
2007 Steve Irwin *
2008 John Clarke
2009 Bill Collins
2010 Brian Naylor *
2011 Laurie Oakes
2012 Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum
2013 Brian Henderson
2014 Peter Harvey *
2015 Home And Away
2016 Noni Hazlehurst
2017 Kerri-Anne Kennerley
2018 60 Minutes
2019 Kerry O’Brien
2020 (Logie Awards cancelled due to pandemic)
2021 (Logie Awards cancelled due to pandemic)
2022 Bruce McAvaney
2023 Brian Walsh *
original text @ TelevisionAU