1978: August 12-18

tvtimes_120878 Diana: The inventors’ dynamo
A Sydney radio presenter famously dubbed her “Bubbles”, and for Diana Fisher of ABC‘s The Inventors, the nickname rings true – particularly given her belief in the restorative powers of champagne to cure anything from jet lag to a broken heart. But don’t be fooled by her effusive and happy manner, her colleagues remark that she is highly energetic with a fierce capacity for hard work and self-discipline, and is proud of the fact that she’s not missed taping a single episode of The Inventors in its eight years on-air. (Pictured: Diana Fisher and The Inventors‘ host Geoff Stone)

geraldstone 60 Minutes is ticking over
“It’s highly unlikely I’ll be on camera,” says Gerald Stone (pictured), executive producer of the new Nine Network current affairs program 60 Minutes which goes into production later in the month: “With a budget of $2 million and a staff of 28, it’ll be a full-time job organising and running the show.” Stone is working toward an on-air launch in November, and while the actual date and timeslot are “a heavily guarded” secret, some hint might be taken from its US namesake which is shown in prime time on Sunday nights. Stone also would not name any of the “three or four” reporters that would make up the show, although it appears certain that former This Day Tonight and A Current Affair political commentator George Negus, will be one of them.

Dear Star….
Fan mail comes from all walks of life and can be the barometer of success or popularity. Tony Alvarez – Dr Tony Garcia in The Young Doctors – receives regular fan mail from a nun in a Brisbane convent and her letters are his most treasured. Former Number 96 star Bunney Brooke once received ashes in the mail to replace the ashes of her character Flo Patterson’s cat when dotty Dorrie Evans (Pat McDonald) thought it was garlic salt and threw the ashes away. Blankety BlanksUgly Dave Gray receives applauds for his jokes from the show, and receives suggestions for material that he admits are “the filthiest thing you could imagine and there’s no way I could tell it on TV.” And Melbourne HSV7 weather girl Ilona Komescaroff is often held accountable for Melbourne’s ever-changing weather, with some viewers tending to think that she orders the weather, rather than report it.

Whatever happened to Alvin Purple?
Graeme Blundell, the actor who played the little man that women found irresistable in Alvin Purple TV series and movies, is being kept very busy with commitments with ABC‘s new series The Truckies, his work as director for Sydney’s Hoopla Theatre company, and preparing for work on the new movie The Odd Angry Shot, although he admits that the role he most wanted in the movie ended up going to Graham Kennedy.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“I am complaining about certain shows being taken off the air. The Incredible Hulk is one of the best shows on TV for a long time. My family and I looked forward to Monday nights to see it, when suddenly it’s taken off the air! What is wrong with people in TV? They get an original show and then take it off and all we ever see are police or doctor shows or re-runs of movies.” H. Smith, QLD.

“Being a recuperating stroke case myself, I am interested in the case of Dr Tom Horton in Days Of Our Lives. If he was, say, 25 when Addie was born, and Addie was 25 when Julie was born, Tom would then be 50. Then another 25 years till David’s birth makes him 75. As David appears to be about 30, Tom would be 105! Rather old to be going back to work as a doctor. And poor Alice is about to have a hysterectomy at about the same age. American medicine must be far more advanced than ours!” L. Jones, NSW.

“It is difficult to put into words exactly what one feels about a TV show, especially one like Flashez which used to provide entertainment, information or just give us a glimpse at anything interesting. Although this show was taken from us more than seven months ago, I still think about it. Some people might say the comperes were off their heads – I agree, but I don’t think this is any reason to damn the show. Anyway, I love people who are off their heads!” J. McMahon, NSW.

What’s On (August 12-18):
This week marks the first anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, and various movies and specials are programmed as a result. On Wednesday night, 16 August, HSV7 screens a three-hour special Memories Of Elvis, presented by Ann-Margret, including footage from Presley’s first TV special from 1968, and the 1973 special Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii. Later in the evening, HSV7 screens the movie documentary Elvis That’s The Way It Is and on the following night, HSV7’s Norman Gunston Show features a special tribute to Elvis. On Friday night, ATV0 screens a Presley movie double, Change Of Heart followed by Kid Galahad.

The Commonwealth Games from Edmonton, Canada, are coming to a close with live and delayed coverage all day Saturday, and the closing ceremony going to air live on ABC at 6.00am Sunday morning with one-hour highlights at 11.05pm Sunday night.

Federal Treasurer John Howard is announcing his Budget for the year and all networks are planning coverage, with ABC planning a half-hour special report presented by newsreader James Dibble and featuring interviews with Mr Howard and Opposition leader Mr Bill Hayden. HSV7 has a Budget Update in the mid-evening, followed by a late-night round-up with political correspondents Laurie Wilson and Mike Peterson. GTV9 has a 45-minute National Nine News presentation The Budget And You, with Peter Hitchener in Melbourne joined by Canberra correspondent Peter Harvey interviewing Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Opposition leader Bill Hayden and ACTU President Bob Hawke. ATV0 keeping its coverage understated with a five-minute update at 9.30pm and a fifteen-minute summary of the Budget at 11.30pm.

Sex shockers like Number 96 and The Box might now be things of the past, but ATV0 is still not averse to stretching the boundaries with a one-hour special Queensland Exposed, exploring nude sunbathing on the Gold and Sunshine coasts and interviews with people at a nudist colony called The Sunshine Families. Beach inspectors and business people also offering their views on what is seen as an alternative lifestyle.

Sunday night movies are Vanishing Point (HSV7), Vampira (GTV9) and Hunters Are For Killing (ATV0), although there’s also some big movies during the week with GTV9 screening the TV premiere of The Godfather over two nights, with the second night up against a repeat of The Great Escape on ATV0.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 12 August 1978. ABC/ACP

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/08/1978-august-12-18.html

TV and the Olympic Games

olympics_2008 The Games Of The XXIX Olympiad have kicked off in Beijing in an opening ceremony exhibiting Chinese history and culture in a show of technical marvel and precision.

Now, for the next two weeks, Australian viewers will be served by wall-to-wall coverage across two networks, Seven and SBS, both promising around fourteen hours a day of coverage. Plus there is radio coverage and Seven’s Olympic program is also being made available via a certain mobile telephone provider. Meanwhile, a mountain of websites are being updated constantly with all the latest news, controversies and results.

It’s easy to take this level of coverage for granted but of course it was not always this way.

memory01 The first Olympic Games to be televised in Australia were, of course, the Melbourne Games of 1956 (athlete Ron Clark lighting the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony, pictured) with channels ABV2, HSV7 and GTV9 all barely on the air, and yet providing hours of coverage each day.

But later Olympic Games would be held in Rome (1960) and Tokyo (1964) and saw the various networks embark in a rare co-operation to get coverage back to Australia, but even then the amount of coverage was extremely limited and film would arrive in Australia for screening whole days after the events took place.

mexico_1968 Forty years ago, October 1968, the Games Of The XIX Olympiad (official Games poster, pictured) were held in Mexico City. Bringing Olympic Games coverage to Australians was again a co-operative effort between ABC and the commercial networks, but the cost of using the fledgling satellite technology was extremely prohibitive and the networks had to rely on film being sent over from Mexico.

In Melbourne, the first glimpse of the 1968 Olympic Games was a 40-minute highlights package of the opening ceremony which was shown on ABC on Tuesday 15 October 1968, three days after the ceremony actually took place. HSV7 also aired a half-hour package of the opening ceremony the same night.

mexico_1968_a For the next two weeks, Olympic Games coverage consisted only of nightly half-hour highlights packages, aired late at night on ABC, HSV7 and GTV9. ATV0 had elected to screen their Olympics segments in the mid-afternoon, often incorporating them into their afternoon coverage of horse racing, and also featuring more reports in their evening 6.00pm news.

The Olympic Games closing ceremony aired on Wednesday 30 October, three days after it took place in Mexico City, in a 40-minute program at 10.35pm on ABC and half-hour programs on HSV7 at 10.45pm and GTV9 at 11.15pm. ATV0 included highlights as part of the next day’s coverage of the Warrnambool races.

The move to receiving Olympic Games coverage via satellite was made with the Munich Games in 1972, with ABC and Seven jointly screening live and delayed coverage. Then in 1976, ABC, Seven and Nine formed a joint coverage for the Games in Montreal, again with limited highlights packages sent via satellite. Despite the joint venture, Nine stirred the pot somewhat by also breaking away from the arrangement to provide their own additional coverage not seen on the other networks. And with a lot of their exclusive coverage being shown overnight, Nine used the Olympic Games to serve as a launch to 24 hour transmission in Sydney and Melbourne.

In 1977. the Seven Network signed a landmark $1 million deal to have exclusive coverage rights to the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, which included a mix of both live and delayed satellite coverage.

Having successfully taken control of Network Ten stations in Sydney and Melbourne, Rupert Murdoch scored the rights to the 1984 Los Angeles (for a reported $10 million) and 1988 Seoul Olympic Games for the network, for both Games promising in excess of fourteen hours a day of live coverage. Coverage of the two Olympiads helped the network score among its best ever ratings to date.

Then in 1989, Christopher Skase‘s Seven Network secured exclusive rights to the Games from Barcelona in 1992 for a mere $40 million, followed by Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. For the Sydney Games, Seven and its then pay-TV channel C7 provided round-the-clock coverage, and for Seven earned the highest ratings for any telecast ever in the history of Australian television.

For the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Seven no longer had the C7 venture, so they entered into partnership with multicultural broadcaster SBS to provide joint coverage, with Seven focusing more on the big ticket events, and those featuring Australian competitors, with SBS taking on an alternative range of events. This same arrangement has come into play with the Olympic Games from Beijing, but for the next Olympic Games in London in 2012, Australian television coverage will be between the Nine Network and pay-TV operator Foxtel.

The Games Of The XXIX Olympiad, daily to 24 August. Seven/SBS


Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/08/tv-and-the-olympic-games.html

Access denied?

access31 A month ago it seemed that there could be a future for ailing community TV channel Access 31, but today the station is now no more.

Station chief Andrew Brine had resigned from the station earlier this week but as recently as yesterday was quoted in the press saying that he felt the station still had potential.  Today it is off the air.

From this afternoon, Access 31 has ceased all program transmission and in its place is a simple caption:

“18th June 1999 – 6th August 2008.  Access 31 thanks all our loyal viewers, sponsors and program providers for your support.”

The channel was offered a financial lifeline last month with an offer of $500,000 from a local Perth businessman Gary Baverstock, plus $250,000 from LotteryWest, enough to keep the station afloat for another year, but both offers were seemingly withdrawn by today.

Source: WAToday, WAToday, TV Tonight
Related: TV’s newest endangered species

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/08/access-denied.html

Reg Lindsay

reglindsay Australian country music legend and former TV presenter Reg Lindsay has died in a Newcastle hospital today following a battle with pneumonia. He was 79.

Lindsay wrote more than 500 songs and recorded 64 albums over his extended career, and was the first Australian artist to be recognised with a plaque on Nashville’s Walkway of Stars. In 1971, Lindsay recorded the song Armstrong, in tribute to the first landing on the moon, which became a chart topper.

From the mid-1960s, Lindsay appeared on TV as host of the weekly country music program The Country And Western Hour, produced at NWS9 Adelaide, and later Reg Lindsay’s Country Homestead which continued into the 1980s. He won a number of TV Week Logie awards and country music awards the Golden Guitars.

Lindsay suffered a cerebral haemorrhage at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 1994, and after a long rehabilitation period, he then suffered a heart attack and underwent a triple bypass.

Since 2003 he had been in care in a Newcastle nursing home.

Reg Lindsay is survived by his wife Roslyn and three daughters.

Source: ABC, NBN, The Age
Picture: NWS9

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/08/reg-lindsay.html

1978: August 5-11

tvtimes_050878 Cover: The Love Boat

Tasmania’s holocaust
The Australian-made film The Last Tasmanians, which has already aired in Britain and been sold to other countries, is to be shown on Australian TV later in the year. The 90-minute movie tells of the extermination of Tasmanian Aboriginals in the late nineteenth century, and received rave reviews when shown on BBC earlier in the year. While there was no interest from Australian networks in financially backing the “slightly dramatised” documentary when in production (it ended up being partially funded by BBC and French group SFP), ABC and the three commercial networks had since made bids to buy the rights to screen the movie – with the 0-10 Network successful.

Walsh’s Walkabout
With The Mike Walsh Show about to be based in Melbourne for a week, host Mike Walsh has announced plans to take the popular daytime show to other parts of the country. “We get a huge response from all over Australia. After we announced that we were going to Melbourne, GTV9 called us to say they had been inundated with calls from people wanting to be in the studio audience,” he told TV Times.

bertnewton_bootBert gets the boot
Nine Network personality Bert Newton (pictured) has been awarded The Footlighter Award (a cigarette lighter shaped like a foot) for personality of the year at the annual Footlighters showbusiness ball in Melbourne. The night was highlighted by an off-beat floorshow featuring The Naked Vicar Show‘s Colin McEwan as an un-angelic Charlie’s Angel, Maurie Fields as a girl guide and Ross D Wylie as a limping nun. After accepting his award, Newton had to race off to the Nine studios to appear on The Don Lane Show.

saturdayshow_2 Peter can lend you an ear
In a dance routine on this week’s The Saturday Show, don’t be fooled into thinking there are nine John MacNally‘s on screen. No special effects, but rather, there will be MacNally (pictured with co-star Suzanne Steele) accompanied by eight dancers all wearing latex masks in his likeness – the work of ABC props artist Peter Dack whose desk is surrounded by relics of former ABC productions; such as fake snakes from Bellbird, a rubber hand used in a Bellbird scene where Lynette Curran had to touch a live electric fence (‘the producer wanted real sparks’), and a lump of latex that was stuck to Graham Kennedy‘s face to show a nasty bruise after his character had been beaten up in a scene in Power Without Glory.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
“I greatly enjoyed the program Mastermind, but disagree with the method of questioning. The method of asking an entirely different set of general knowledge questions is, I think, most unfair. They are so varied it is impossible to make an even test of the competitors’ knowledge.” B. O’Shea, NSW.

mikewillesee “I cannot understand how Willesee At Seven is such a highly rated program. Mike Willesee (pictured) himself blunders his way through the show, mutters useless comments almost inaudibly, and half the time doesn’t even bother to look to camera.” G. Jackson, New Zealand

Country Road is excellent. It is good family viewing and full of good talent. So why must it be shoved into a late timeslot? Surely it’s more feasible to put Dave Allen and Soap on later?” P. Martin, QLD

What’s On (August 5-11):
ABC presents limited live coverage, about an hour on each of the first two days only, of events from the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada, with half-hour evening and late-night highlights packages each night during the week.

Dame Enid Lyons, the first female member of the House of Representatives, and later the first female Cabinet Minister, is the guest on the final episode of interview program Woman In Question.

The series may have been axed a year beforehand, but the movie version of the former hit series Number 96 is shown on ATV0 on Tuesday night – and on Friday night, the comedy All At Sea, featuring some of the former cast members of Number 96 and game shows Blankety Blanks and The Celebrity Game.

Sunday night movies are The Strange Vengeance Of Rosalie (HSV7), Save The Tiger (GTV9) and Avanti! (ATV0).

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 5 August 1978. ABC/ACP

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/08/1978-august-5-11.html

Mike Munro leaves Nine

mikemunro A week is a long time in television, and Mike Munro has just announced his retirement after 30 years in television – most of those with the Nine Network.

Beginning as a copy boy with The Australian and The Daily Mirror newspapers in 1971, Munro joined Sydney’s TEN10 Eyewitness News in 1978 but later went back to newspapers, working as a US correspondent for News Limited.

In 1982, Munro returned to Australia to Network Ten and two years later was signed up for the Nine Network’s Willesee current affairs program, the predecessor to today’s A Current Affair.

Two years after joining Willesee, Munro moved up to Nine’s 60 Minutes where he combined serious current affairs stories with some well-known celebrity interviews including Barbra Streisand, Katharine Hepburn and Bette Midler. His interview with politician’s wife Jan Murray created headlines when she revealed that she “did the business on the desk and left her knickers in the ashtray” at Parliament House.

The years of constant overseas travel took its toll and Munro decided to move to A Current Affair in 1993 initially as a reporter before taking over from Ray Martin as host in 1999. During this period he also took on a different role as host of Nine’s This Is Your Life when it launched in 1995.

Munro then returned to 60 Minutes as an investigative reporter, while continuing to host This Is Your Life, and later reading National Nine News‘ afternoon edition and weekend edition in Sydney. He also narrated the factual program Missing Persons Unit, co-hosted a series of What A Year and last week launched his twelfth season hosting This Is Your Life.

Mike Munro will stay with Nine until the end of October, continuing to read the weekend National Nine News in Sydney up until then.

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/07/mike-munro-leaves-nine.html

1978: July 29-August 4

tvtimes_290778 Cover: Mike Walsh nominates his ten all-time favourite films. Among the list are The Sound Of Music, Cleopatra, Singin’ In The Rain, The Getting Of Wisdom and Gone With The Wind.

Dramatic ABC switch
ABC has announced a dramatic change to its prime-time line-up with plans to schedule drama and comedy programs in the 7.30pm timeslot, meaning the end for current affairs program This Day Tonight which has occupied the timeslot for the past eleven years. This Day Tonight will be replaced by a new program Nationwide, to be shown in the later 9.30pm timeslot. The launch of Nationwide early in 1979 will also mean the end of ABC’s long-running discussion program Monday Conference.

Truckies set to roll
ABC‘s latest drama series, The Truckies, is finally ready to go to air despite being dogged by problems during production. The show’s main leading lady, a 65-tonne Volvo truck called Maggie D, was found to be drinking fuel much faster than producers had budgeted on. As for human cast members, John Wood fell ill and ended up in hospital, Colleen Hewett fell pregnant and had to be written out from later episodes when her baby bump could not be disguised, but was then written back at the last minute in when producers decided to make her character pregnant, and the four male leads (Wood, Michael Aitken, Mike Carmen and John Hewitt) were all discovered to not have truck licences and were sent off to a Melbourne driving school for a crash course in prime mover techniques. But producer Oscar Whitbread only had one complaint during production – the weather – particularly when one drought-inspired episode was being filmed and they were caught out by rain!

7_black In search for a soap
The Seven Network has put the call out – if you could write a soap opera not set in an apartment block or a hospital, then they want to hear from you. Seven is currently showing re-runs of the US sitcom Bewitched in the early evenings and would instead like to add a new early-evening soap to its line-up to challenge Nine‘s The Young Doctors.

Regional channels unite for quest
A new talent quest is to go into production in a unique venture between 25 regional TV stations. National Star Quest, being co-ordinated by Reg Grundy Productions for Australian Television Facilities (ATF) which represents the 25 participating stations, will feature acts performed at their local regional station with all videotaped performances sent to WIN4 Wollongong to be compiled into a single program with a studio compere and judges. If successful, ATF may then look to making more regional-based production for national screening. Allan Hoy, manager of WIN4 told TV Times, “We’re not really aiming to set up a fourth commercial network, but it is entirely possible that in a few years the big city stations might be taking programs from us, rather than the other way around, as at present.” Thirteen episodes of National Star Quest are being planned with production starting in September. Executive producer of the program will be Hal Croxon, a former producer of the 0-10 Network‘s Pot Of Gold.

saturdayshow Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor
“What has ABC done to Saturday nights? How could it follow Shirley Bassey with such sweet and tacky entertainment as The Saturday Show (pictured)? The opening numbers were supposed to warm you up, but they couldn’t warm up an anaemic bullfrog. The Saturday Show may be ideal for the Bullamakanka Choral Society, but not the ABC.” J. McArthur, NSW.

“I have watched Mastermind since its inception and shall do so until the end, looking forward to Mastermind 1979. Huw Evans is a most charming and extremely well-spoken compere – not a gaudy Bob Dyer trying to be funny as well as asking questions.” Y. Farr, NSW.

“The excellent British science-fiction series Dr Who has been running for sixteen years, and it has never yet had a fair go from ABC. They continue to waste it in ridiculous screening times. If inane garbage like Space 1999 can command a 7.30pm timeslot, then surely Dr Who can claim the same.” S. Collins, QLD.

What’s On (July 29-August 4)
Pop star Ray Burgess is special guest on ATV0‘s Young Talent Time, while later in the evening on HSV7‘s Penthouse ’78, Mary Hardy and Ernie Sigley are joined by Bartholomew John, Norman Banks and Frank Dyer, a finalist of the show’s Search For A Star talent quest.

memory03 Blankety Blanks (pictured) is shifted from prime-time to afternoons, with ATV0 moving it to 12.00pm from Monday, followed at 12.30pm by repeats of racy soap opera The Box. In place of Blankety Blanks at 7.00pm is re-runs of The Six Million Dollar Man, with one-hour episodes cut into half-hour episodes over two nights.

ABC presents the 150th episode of The Inventors and to celebrate has invited some of their previous winners to present their latest inventions.

The 1978 Commonwealth Games opens in Edmonton, Canada – with ABC providing live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at 6.00am Friday morning and highlights of the ceremony Friday night at 8.00pm and again at 11.20pm.

Sunday night movies are Night Of The Lepus (HSV7), Little Ladies Of The Night (GTV9) and The Go-Between (ATV0). Renowned concert pianist Isador Goodman is the special guest on ABC‘s Sunday night music show Capriccio! hosted by Carol Raye.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 29 July 1978, ABC/ACP

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/07/1978-july-29-august-4.html

Pantyhose Strangler strikes in September


Umbrella Entertainment’s second Number 96 DVD release, centred around the Pantyhose Stranger storyline, is set for September.  It is available to pre-order at online retailers such as Sanity, JB and Ezydvd as well as from Umbrella directly.

Number 96: The Pantyhose Strangler features 32 episodes from the hit series, spanning a period from late 1974 to early 1975, when Sydney’s most famous apartment block was under threat from the mysterious murderer.  Everyone in the block was a potential victim, or suspect.  The identity of the notorious murderer is finally discovered by Marilyn MacDonald (Frances Hargreaves) late one night in the local laundrette: “Oh my God – it’s you!”

Although the Pantyhose Strangler struck at a time when Number 96 was perhaps beyond the ratings peak of its earlier days, it was not to be the last mysterious murderer to enter the building.  Several months later, the apartment block was under attack yet again from the bomb blast which wiped out four of the show’s regular characters.

Related: Number 96 DVD #2

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/07/pantyhose-strangler-strikes-in-september.html

Sunday, Nightline given the chop

The Nine Network has announced the axing of two of its long-running news and current affairs programs – Sunday and Nightline.

raymartin08 The axing of Sunday perhaps came as no real surprise.  The program has been the subject of rumours for some time, particularly since the departure of host Jana Wendt and the show’s change in direction to tackle the more casual format of Seven‘s Weekend Sunrise which was dominating the timeslot.  The situation for Sunday was not helped when Nine stalwart Ray Martin (pictured), who was appointed the show’s new co-host last year, resigned from the program just days before it was due to resume for 2008 in the earlier timeslot of 7.30am.

The demise of Sunday brings to an end a program with a proud history although it had plenty of critics when it began in November 1981.  The show’s emphasis on quality journalism, investigative reporting, international current affairs and long-form stories were a far cry from the usual commercial TV style of current affairs and the timeslot – 9.00am Sunday – was also one that was largely unknown territory for current affairs programming.  Most other channels at the time of the week were either showing test patterns or children’s programs or religious content.

But in initiating the program, Nine saw the program as the perfect vehicle for attracting the higher-income viewers who did not traditionally watch commercial television – hence Sunday would be capturing a market that no other commercial TV program was aiming at, and could therefore charge a premium for advertisers in what was traditionally a low-revenue timeslot.  Quality viewers as opposed to quantity.  This strategy was later picked up by other networks with programs such as Meet The Press (Network Ten).

jimwaley Sunday continued for around twenty years with original host Jim Waley (pictured) at the helm, and along with National Nine News, 60 Minutes, A Current Affair, Nightline and Today was a steady contributor to Nine’s image as the news leader – and with the support of network owner Kerry Packer, who often regarded Sunday as his ‘baby’, the program was protected from the usual pressures of ratings as the goal was to provide quality reporting and viewers.  The efforts of Sunday were reflected in the program winning a number of awards, both in Australia and overseas, for journalistic excellence.

janawendt In 2002, Waley was moved to reading Sydney’s National Nine News after the retirement of veteran newsreader Brian Henderson.  In Waley’s place at Sunday was a familiar name to the Nine Network, Jana Wendt (pictured) – the former ‘perfumed steamroller’ of 60 Minutes and A Current Affair, returning to Nine after several years as host of rival SBS‘ international current affairs program Dateline

The passing of Kerry Packer and changes in management saw a period of unrest for Sunday.  The show was now no longer seen as a protected species despite its strategic positioning, and was also coming under attack from the Seven Network which had expanded its popular Sunrise format to Sunday mornings.  The launch of ABC‘s Sunday morning current affairs program Insiders also provided a potent competitor.  Sunday no longer had the monopoly on viewers in that timeslot.

By 2006, Wendt had departed the program following failed negotiations with management over her role in the revamped budget-slashed Sunday.  In her place was former 60 Minutes reporter Ellen Fanning with finance journalist Ross Greenwood.  The new-look program was seen as an attempt to downgrade the show to a position somewhere in between the Sunday of old, and the light-hearted Weekend Sunrise on Seven.  Greenwood was later replaced by Ray Martin, perhaps as a band-aid measure to try and restore some of the show’s credibility as a serious current affairs outlet.  But since Martin’s resignation from Nine early this year, Fanning has fronted the program solo.  The program, now moved to the earlier 7.30am timeslot, has since failed to regain any of its ratings status, continuing to be out-rated by its Seven rival.

laurieoakes The final edition of Sunday goes to air on Nine on 3 August.  The program will be replaced by a one-hour news bulletin Sunday Morning News which will incorporate news and sports coverage with political analysis from one of Sunday‘s most enduring presenters, political commentator Laurie Oakes (pictured).

The demise of late-night news bulletin Nightline comes just weeks after Nine had expanded its news coverage to include a 5.00am weekday news bulletin as a lead-in to the breakfast program Today

The Nightline format was launched around fifteen years ago in competition with Network Ten’s popular 10.30pm news bulletin that had launched a couple of years earlier, but in recent years Nightline had often found itself bumped later and later into the evening, sometimes not appearing until after midnight.

The final edition of Nightline aired last night (Friday 25 July).   This leaves Ten News and ABC’s Lateline as the only regular late-night news bulletins.

Nine has announced that no staff cuts are intended by axing Sunday and Nightline, and that staff from the two programs are expected to be redeployed to other positions.

Source: Sunday, The Age
YouTube: aussiebeachut
More: What’s On The Tube

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/07/sunday-nightline-given-the-chop.html

Happy Birthday, Bert!

bert1978There’s not many people that can claim to have been featured on This Is Your Life three times, but Bert Newton achieves that with this week’s tribute special to coincide with his 70th birthday – following from his first appearance in the 1970s version hosted by Roger Climpson, and his second which followed twenty years later.

Appearing in the special event, which in usual This Is Your Life custom was sprung onto Bert by surprise when it was taped a few weeks ago, are guests including Hugh Jackman, Olivia Newton-John, Rove McManus, Ugly Dave Gray, Lisa McCune, Julia Morris, Anthony Callea, Eddie McGuire and overseas stars Joan Rivers, k.d. Lang, Julian Clary, Michael Buble and Clive James.

This Is Your Life: Bert’s 70th Birthday, Wednesday 23 July, 7.30pm, Nine.

Pictured: Bert Newton (right) celebrating his 40th birthday in 1978 with wife Patti and friend and colleague Don Lane. (Picture: TV Week)

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2008/07/happy-birthday-bert.html