Cover Story: Inside the Game Show business:
TV Times talks to producer Reg Grundy, the radio game show host of the 1950s that went on to head a TV production empire worth around $6 million (in 1978 dollars) turnover a year. Famous for taking US game show formats and franchising them for local audiences, Grundy had launched over 50 game show titles since he launched Wheel Of Fortune in 1959. Despite his longevity in the game show business, his latest venture, the top-rating Blankety Blanks almost never got to air after being offered and refused by the other networks but eventually picked up by the 0-10 Network where it became a huge ratings hit (Cover photo: Noelene Brown and Ugly Dave Gray, two of the resident panellists on Blankety Blanks)
TV Times’ preview of new shows for 1978 was already covered in our blog post on New Year’s Day. New shows to launch during the year included drama series Catspaw, Twenty Good Years and Truckies – all on ABC. ABC also promises a new series of Marcia Hines Music and an Australian version of the British quiz Mastermind.
Entertainer Sammy Davis Jnr is reportedly to be planning a trip to Australia to appear on Nine’s The Don Lane Show. Don Lane is a fan of Davis and had arranged the visit while staying with him at his Nevada property. Meanwhile, The Don Lane Show is about to launch its 1978 season and producer Peter Faiman is promising changes to the show including a $1 million revamp of the show’s studio and as many as 15 international celebrity appearances via satellite over the first few months of the year.
Rock star Jon English is announced as heading the lineup for the upcoming Seven Network/Pegasus Productions mini-series Against The Wind, about to commence production. English is signed up to play convict Jonathon Garrett in the historical drama that has a $1 million budget for 13 episodes. English’s only prior acting experience was as a rock star involved in a murder case in the police drama Homicide.
TV Times announced that “increased production and paper costs have regretably caused us to raise the cover price of TV Times from 30 to 40 cents. It is our first price rise in two-and-a-half years”.