WIN and Nine.. friends again!

After months of negotiations and more than a fair share of hostility – even as recent as only days ago (see previous post) – the Nine Network and regional WIN Television have patched up their tattered relationship.

WIN has announced that it has signed a five-year agreement to source programming from Nine for its regional network and also its recently-purchased STW9 in Perth.

The deal will be a welcome relief for both networks as failure to come to an agreement could have had dire effects for either party, and also the viewers in WIN’s coverage areas that could have lost their Nine Network programs – although for those in South Australia’s south east and Riverland districts the deal may be too late as WIN has signed those respective stations to a program deal with the Seven Network.

So now we can all get some sleep!!

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WIN fires next shot in Nine battle

It seems to be a case of another day, another shot by regional WIN Television in their souring relationship with the Nine Network.

Negotiations between Nine and WIN, over the issue of affiliation fees, have been going on and off for most of the year, and has seen WIN act defiantly against Nine’s program line-up including dropping a number of Nine’s daytime and news programs from its schedule as well as the late-night Quizmania (now The Mint) – and now the latest blow to Nine comes as WIN chums up with the Seven Network to feed programs to its South Australian regional channels.

WIN and Seven have today announced their new-formed friendship which will see South Australian regional channels SES8 Mount Gambier and RTS5A Riverland change from a Nine-fed line-up, to a Seven Network schedule. This will mean that local viewers will now lose access to Nine’s programs as the only other commercial TV outlet in the area is also owned by the WIN group and carries a program feed from Network Ten.

WIN’s pairing up with Seven, while representing only a relatively small number of viewers, represents a significant change for the regional broadcaster which in the past has had a tight relationship with Nine, with some dealings with Ten. It will be with some interest to see how Nine reacts to this latest development – and how local viewers react to losing their McLeod’s Daughters in favour of City Homicide, and losing Days Of Our Lives to repeats of All Saints.

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Robert Fidgeon

Some sad news this weekend with the passing of TV writer Robert Fidgeon after a battle with cancer. He was 65.

Joining the Herald and Weekly Times (HWT) group in the 1960s, Fidgeon became a well known cartoonist and was famous for his weekly caricatures of TV personalities published in the now-defunct TV Scene newspaper.

After the demise of TV Scene in the late 1980s, he later returned to the HWT stable to head the art department but also found himself fulfilling an ambition to write about television for the Herald Sun. He later became the editor of the Herald Sun’s weekly television guide.

Fidgeon was well respected by industry identities, both on- and off-air, even the ones who he may have savaged in his newspaper column.

One of Robert Fidgeon’s cartoons, featuring Channel Ten newsreaders David Johnston and Jo Pearson, that appeared in TV Scene in 1987.

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Do we need SBS?

The Sydney Morning Herald has published an opinion piece by Paul Sheehan pondering the issue, do we need SBS?

Mr Sheehan is of the opinion that SBS, created at a time when there was little alternative media available, and which continues to cost taxpayers many millions of dollars a year for something that is only watched by around 4 per cent of the population, has now been made obsolete by the plethora of specialist news, sport and entertainment channels now available by other media such as pay-TV. A nice idea, for those that have or can afford pay television.

For the rest of us without pay-TV – and at this point that still makes up the vast majority of households in Australia – does SBS still have a valid place in society as an alternative to ABC and commercial free-to-air television? Or should the government, as Mr Sheehan suggests, disband SBS and sell of its valueable broadcast spectrum to the highest bidder?

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Do you know… ??

I received an email from an overseas visitor to the website asking the following:

My question, and I hope you can point me in the right direction for further research if you don’t know the answer, is this: There was a short run musical mini-series on, probably in late ’76 – I think it was on 0-10, but who knows. 6 hour long episodes, about three women, who form a band, are discovered, and eventually bought out by evil corporate management -losing their artistic freedom, trashing their ideals, et al. But I liked it because it was actually quite a bit like what happened in the industry – at least as far as it could be distilled into 6 hours on the smallscreen. Any idea what the name of the series was? Thanks much.”

So if anyone knows the answer, feel free to respond via the Comments link

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TelevisionAU Website Update 5-Aug-07

A reunion of familiar Melbourne television identities from the 1960s on the set of Tonight With Bert Newton in 1984. Pictured with Bert Newton (centre) are Ken Delo and Jonathan Daly – a popular American night club act that came to Australia in the early 1960s and were subsequently offered their own late night TV program, The Delo And Daly Show, for the Seven Network in competition with GTV9’s In Melbourne Tonight, featuring Newton. (Pictures: TV Week, 2 June 1984)

Melbourne (1973, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1988)
Victoria (1969, 1976)
Sydney (1981)
Brisbane (1974, 1989)
Western Australia (1975, 1980)


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Lucky Grills

Making news this weekend was the passing of veteran actor and performer Lucky Grills who died early on Saturday morning at his Gold Coast home. He was 79.

Grills’ most famous role came in 1976 as the unlikely detective Bluey Hills in the Melbourne-based police drama Bluey. The series had only a short run but gained a cult following almost 20 years later when the D Generation’s The Late Show overdubbed footage and the character Bluey Hills was renamed the comical Bargearse, a cop with a penchant for donuts and over-eating.

Other television roles included appearances in Matlock Police, A Country Practice, Glenview High, Special Squad, Fire and the mini-series Vietnam.

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Somebody else’s Sons & Daughters?

Last year, Seven decided to roll out early episodes of their hit ’80s soap Sons And Daughters in a daytime timeslot. The revival – loosely timed to coincide with the show’s 25th anniversary and DVD release – was short-lived as no sooner had lovers John (Peter Phelps) and Angela (Ally Fowler) been revealed to be long-lost brother and sister, that the re-runs were taken out of the schedule.

Fans could have therefore been excited to see the title re-appear in Seven’s afternoon line-up this week but would have since found that instead of the suburban Palmers and the snobby Hamiltons, there was an American sitcom which just happens to have the same title.

The US-styled Sons And Daughters was a short-lived production (only thirteen episodes) for commercial network ABC. For Australians the only familiar face among the cast list is Dee Wallace, best known for her role in the movie ET – The Extra Terrestrial.

Sons And Daughters, American-style, weekday afternoons on Seven*

Pictured: Rowena Wallace, Pat McDonald and Kim Lewis from the Australian Sons And Daughters.

* Melbourne. Other areas check local guides/affiliates

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TelevisionAU Website Update 8-Jul-07

Here’s two more weather girl presenters that did not get included in our Flashback #38 tribute. Briony Behets (pictured left with newsreader Bruce Mansfield) was a model before turning actress with roles in steamy soap operas Number 96 and The Box, and then later becoming a weather presenter at Melbourne ATV0‘s Eyewitness News in 1976. At the same time, Melbourne’s GTV9 announced their new weather presenter, Kerry Armstrong – fresh out of school and later to go onto an acting career in movies and television. (Pictures: TV Week, 7 February 1976)

In over fifty years of Australian television, only one name has been an almost constant presence during that time – Bert Newton.

Melbourne & Regional Victoria (1967, 1973)
Melbourne (1973, 1975, 1976, 1979)
Sydney (1978, 1980, 1985, 1989)
Brisbane (1976)
Brisbane & Regional Queensland (1984)
Adelaide (1987)


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Number 96: Where are they now..?

Ever wondered what happened to the cast members of Number 96?

Following from a recent reunion of cast members from The Young Doctors (1976-83), this week’s episode of Seven‘s Where Are They Now? features a reunion of former cast members of the saucy 1970s soap that was a ratings giant.

Sadly, favourites like Ron Shand and Pat McDonald (pictured) are no longer with us, but it will be interesting if Seven concedes to feature possibly the only 96 cast member to still have a prime-time role on television, Tom Oliver from rival Network Ten‘s Neighbours.

Where Are They Now?, Sunday night at 6.30pm on Seven*

* Seven Melbourne. Other areas check local guides/affiliates

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