Nine wins 2019

The Nine Network has claimed victory the ratings year for 2019 (OzTAM, 5 cities, 6pm-12mn).

It is Nine’s first win since 2006 and ends the Seven Network‘s 12-year run of overall wins.

For the weeks 7 to 48 — covering the period from 10 February to 30 November, and excluding the weeks around Easter — the Nine Network claimed 29.3% market share, followed by Seven (29.0%), Ten (17.2%), ABC (16.6%) and SBS (7.9%).

For the primary channels: Nine (20.4%) was ahead of Seven (19.3%), ABC (11.8%), Ten (11.7%) and SBS (5.1%).

Some minor adjustments to shares may occur as consolidated 28-day viewing numbers for the last few weeks of the ratings year is taken into account.

Nine started the year with its first coverage of the Australian Open tennis. Although the two weeks of competition are outside of the ratings calendar, the event provides an ideal springboard for promotion and viewer momentum into the ratings year — as Seven often found in previous years.

Married At First Sight, The Block, Australian Ninja Warrior and new franchise Lego Masters were highlights for Nine in the reality portfolio.

The NRL State Of Origin and NRL Grand Final were also huge rating performers — all played in prime time.

The Seven Network took over as lead cricket broadcaster last Summer but it didn’t seem to give it the same leverage going into the ratings year. It still had success with another series of My Kitchen Rules and House Rules. And although it falls outside of prime time, the AFL Grand Final was the most watched program of the year.

Seven has also claimed victory in the lower rating but highly coveted breakfast battle — with Sunrise easily topping Nine’s Today, which never really recovered from a change to its presenting line-up at the start of the year, and ABC News Breakfast.

The Ten Network recorded year on year growth towards the second half of the year — largely attributed to an 11th season of MasterChef Australia, the return of Australian Survivor, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and new novelty act The Masked Singer.

Regular series Gogglebox Australia and Have You Been Paying Attention? have also been top performers for Ten.

Ten’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup race — its first since 2001 — was its most watched program of the year.

ABC and SBS — traditionally not as focused on ratings as their commercial network rivals — have yet to provide any rundown of their ratings year.

The 2020 ratings year begins on 9 February and continues through to 28 November, with a two-week break over the Easter period.

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2019. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM.



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The end for Today Tonight… again

Viewers on the east coast may have thought that Seven‘s Today Tonight ended years ago — but in Adelaide and Perth, local editions of the show have continued up until this week.

The Adelaide version, fronted by Rosanna Mangiarelli, wound up on Thursday night. The Perth edition, hosted by Monika Kos, finished on Friday.

It marks the end of a 25-year brand for the network. Seven launched Today Tonight in January 1995 as individual programs in each state, replacing the national Real Life. The early editions of Today Tonight aimed to tackle investigative journalism and more serious topics to reverse the trend set by A Current Affair to settle on more tabloid fare.  But viewers didn’t easily flock to the new show and eventually Today Tonight plummeted to the same depths that it was trying to avoid.

YouTube: Rewind The Cassette

In its new guise Today Tonight (with Naomi Robson) picked up in the ratings — and won a Logie in 2002 for Most Popular Current Affairs Program — but also became a magnet for controversy, largely due to its sensationalist style of current affairs and had been hauled up to the broadcasting authority and taken to task by Media Watch on a number of occasions for misleading reporting.

Despite the east coast versions being axed in February 2014, Seven’s strength in Adelaide and Perth saw the current affairs format continue there until this week. Both editions will now be replaced by an extended Seven News bulletin as happened in the eastern states.

YouTube: AM News Videos

Seven’s other current affairs brand, Sunday Night, also came to an end earlier this week after an 11-year run. This leaves Seven without any current affairs lineup, with the portfolio covered by news programs Seven News, The Latest and Sunrise.

The Nine Network has sought to capitalise on this lack of current affairs depth by running promos emphasising its range of news and current affairs titles including Nine News, Today, 60 Minutes and A Current Affair.



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Obituary: Clive James

Clive James, the Sydney-born writer who became a cultural icon, has died at the age of 80.

He died at his home in Cambridge on Sunday, almost ten years after he was diagnosed with leukaemia and emphysema.

Starting his career in the 1950s at the Sydney Morning Herald, James made the move to the United Kingdom in the early 1960s, becoming part of a growing cultural wave of Australians into the country. He was appointed television critic for The Observer newspaper in 1972 and while he continued to become a prolific poet, writer and author, he eventually made his way to TV with his own show, Clive James On Television for the ITV network, shown in Australia on ABC. The show took a comical look at some of the most bizarre and unusual TV moments from around the world, with a particular focus on the physical endurance game shows popular in Japan.

Other TV credits in the UK included Saturday Night Clive, Clive James In…, Clive James’ Postcards From…, The Clive James Show, Review Of The Year and the documentary series Fame In The 20th Century.

In 1988, James made a return to Australia to be one of three co-hosts for the four-hour special Australia Live, showcasing a day in the life of Australia via satellite link ups to 70 locations across the country.

In 1996 he made a guest appearance as a postie in Neighbours.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1992 and an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013.

Clive James is survived by wife Prue Shaw and two daughters. His funeral was held on Wednesday.

Source: IMDB, ABC, Wikipedia, United Agents


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Obituary: Anne Phelan

Actress Anne Phelan, best known from Bellbird and Prisoner and more recently in Winners And Losers, has died at the age of 71.

With a career starting in 1968, Phelan went on to a successful career in stage, film and television, displaying a range from comedy to drama to musical theatre.

Early TV credits included guest appearances in the Crawford Productions cop shows of the 1970s — Division 4, Homicide, Matlock Police and Ryan. In 1974, she scored the ongoing role of Kate Ashwood (pictured) in the long-running ABC rural series Bellbird. She stayed with the series for three years.

She also starred in the TV adaptation of the musical The Sentimental Bloke (pictured with Jon Finlayson and Laine Lamont), made for ABC in 1976.

After Bellbird wound up in 1977, Phelan and a number of her Bellbird colleagues found new roles in Prisoner. Phelan played a couple of minor guest roles in early episodes of the series before she was cast as Myra Desmond, a former inmate and representative of the Prison Reform Group who ends up back inside and elevated to the role of ‘top dog’.

She had the leading role of “Mumma Darcy” in the mini-series The Harp In The South and Poor Man’s Orange and made guest appearances in Special Squad, Starting Out, Mother And Son, GP and The Bartons.

She was one of the cast of the Nine Network soap Family And Friends and played the part of Mrs Fuller in the sitcom Col’n Carpenter.

Other credits included Late For School, Law Of The Land, Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies, Blue Heelers and The Micallef Program. 

By 2000, her career had come full circle — returning to ABC for its rural drama Something In The Air. She played the part of Monica Taylor in the series for two years.

Later guest roles included Neighbours, The Librarians, Marshall Law, The Worst Year Of My Life, Again! and Sleuth 101.

Her last major TV role was as Dot Gross in the Seven Network drama Winners And Losers.

As well as her acting achievements, Phelan was a tireless supporter for charities, including patron of Positive Women, a support organisation for women living with HIV.

She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007 for services to the arts and for her support for women living with HIV, refugees and asylum seekers.

Well after Prisoner‘s demise in 1986, Phelan continued to support fans of the show, including an appearance at Prisoner‘s 25th anniversary held at the former ATV10 Nunawading studios in 2004, and one of her last public appearances was earlier this year at a cast reunion for the show’s 40th anniversary.

Source: ABC, TV Tonight, IMDB, It’s An Honour. TV Guide, 27 June 1971.


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Obituary: Roger Cardwell

Former Adelaide newsreader Roger Cardwell has died at the age of 85. He was surrounded by family when he passed away at a nursing home on Saturday morning. He had long suffered from lung cancer.

Cardwell was a newsreader at NWS9 from the early 1960s, hosted the national Country And Western Hour and appeared in the channel’s Christmas pantomimes. In 1965 he made the surprise announcement that he was leaving Nine to join the new channel SAS10 as its main newsreader.

After a few years at Ten, he then moved across to ADS7 to read the news and host country music show Country Style. He also appeared on local variety show Here’s Parry, hosted by English comedian Ron Parry.

YouTube: potrzebie74

In May 1969, Cardwell resigned from Seven, claiming a breach of contract after he was suspended from hosting Country Style.

He then worked as a guest presenter on ABC‘s Today Tonight in Adelaide before returning to Nine. While at Nine, in 1978 and 1981 he won the TV Week Logie Award for Most Popular Male Personality in South Australia.

in 1996 he was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in recognition of the part he played in pioneering country music on television in Australia.

For 14 years he was also newsreader at Adelaide radio stations 5DN and 5AD.

Cardwell was also a familiar presenter and voice over talent on TV and radio commercials and recorded narrations for audio books. In recent years he also conducted book readings at a local Adelaide library.

Source: Adelaide Now. Seven News. TV-Radio Guide, 9 May 1965, 1 June 1969, 8 June 1969.


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Ten Adelaide turns 60

One of the quirks in Australia’s television history is that the Ten Network celebrated its 50th anniversary just a few years ago.

However, today, its Adelaide station — ADS Ten — turned 60.

The anomaly has come about as ADS originally began as ADS7 on 24 October 1959 (You can read more about that here). It went on to join what became the Seven Network.

In 1987, ADS7 ended up under control of interests associated with the Ten Network, while rival channel SAS10 was firming up ties with the Seven Network. The two channels did a swap of frequencies and network affiliations to match their numbers up with the rest of the network. ADS7 therefore became ADS10 and joined Ten.

Back in the the 1960s and ’70s, well before any awkward channel swaps took place, ADS7 took out many full page ads in South Australia’s local TV magazine TV Radio Guide. Here is just a sample, in no particular order:



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Seven West Media to merge with Prime

The changing, challenging and shrinking media landscape has seen some significant deals in recent times.

In 2017, Network Ten was in receivership and was rescued by a takeover from American network CBS. Last year, the Nine Network completed a merger with Fairfax Media to create a giant of online and print media, radio and television.

Now it appears that the Seven Network is set to made the next big media pounce — with Seven West Media bidding to takeover its long-time regional partner Prime Media Group in a deal worth $64 million.

Prime’s board has endorsed the bid but it is still subject to a shareholder vote and regulatory approval from ACMA and ACCC.

Seven West Media controls the Seven Network stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and regional Queensland. Seven West Media also owns Pacific Magazines, The West Australian, The Sunday Times (Perth) and regional newspapers across Western Australia.

Prime Media Group operates the Prime7 regional network in Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Gold Coast, and GWN7 in Western Australia. Prime also has half shares in supplementary licences for West Digital Television (the Nine affiliate in regional WA) and Nine Mildura.

Prime, formed by Paul Ramsay in 1986 when he purchased a number of independent regional stations in New South Wales and Victoria. has been Seven’s regional affiliate partner since aggregation commenced in regional markets in 1989.

The merged entity is estimated to give Seven West Media a total potential audience of 18 million people across the mainland eastern states and Western Australia.

Seven expects that the merger will deliver $11 million in cost savings, although Seven recently-appointed CEO James Warburton has claimed that there will be no cutbacks to regional news services.

In a separate deal, Seven West Media has also sold off its Western Australia radio network Redwave to Southern Cross Austereo for $28 million. Redwave operates two radio networks, Spirit Radio and Red FM.

Source: Seven News, ABC, The Age

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TV At 60: TV comes to Perth

Perth was the third of the four cities in Stage 2 of the introduction of television in Australia. Like with Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, Perth was to be covered by both the national broadcaster ABC and commercial television.

While the other cities had established two commercial channels each, Perth was ultimately allocated one commercial licence. The government agreed with the view of the two licence applicants for the Perth area that only one commercial licence should be granted.

On 13 October 1958, the licence to operate Perth’s first commercial television station was issued to TVW Limited, owned by West Australian Newspapers. The only other applicant for the licence was Western Television Services which had ties with News Limited, based in Adelaide. (News Limited was successful in gaining one of the two commercial licences for Adelaide)

The new channel call-sign was to become TVW7.

TVW made its first test transmissions from 31 August 1959 and was officially opened on Friday 16 October 1959. The station, employing 92 people at the time, was operating from studios in the suburb of Tuart Hill and from a transmitter located in Bickley.

The opening night’s line-up started with speeches from TVW general manager James Cruthers and Western Australian governor Sir Charles Gairdner, who officially declared the station open. Later in the evening, TVW7 presented the debut of its first variety show, Spotlight, featuring Rolf Harris who had returned from London to become a presenter and producer for TVW.


TVW’s opening night also included American series Leave It To Beaver, Sea Hunt, Father Knows Best, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason, and the station’s first news bulletin running for 15 minutes.

As with the introduction of TV in other cities, many of the estimated 70,000 to watch TVW’s opening night were doing so by peering into electrical store windows to watch the TVs on display.

And the introduction of TV sparked a boom in the local industry — with TV repair businesses springing up, insurance companies offering coverage on TV sets and picture tubes, furniture retailers selling TV-friendly chairs and lounge suites, and antenna installers to put antennas on rooftops. One such installer was a 19-year-old from Melbourne named Kerry Stokes. Stokes went on to much bigger things, going from installing antennas to property development, and eventually building a massive business empire which now includes the Seven Network, which includes TVW7.

When TVW7 began, the usual custom for selling advertising on television was for sponsors to buy out whole programs — which is why many early shows had brand names in their titles. For a market the size and relative isolation of Perth, this was not thought to be a sustainable model as local advertisers would not have the advertising budgets of larger eastern states companies. TVW, therefore, adopted the “spot” advertising model, where advertisers would buy specific ad slots rather than sponsor whole programs. It was a novel concept at the time but has become the norm.

Like most Australian stations at the time, a majority of TVW’s early programming was imported. But within its first six months, TVW had claimed to have just under 40 per cent of programming made up of Australian content — and just over a quarter of that was programming made at TVW itself from its single studio.

TVW would have Perth’s TV viewers all to itself for the next few months — as ABC’s local channel, ABW2, did not commence transmission until May 1960.

ABW2 conducted its first test transmissions from 19 April 1960, also with a transmitter in Bickley, and had its opening night on Saturday 7 May 1960.  The opening night’s proceedings included fifteen minutes of speeches from dignitaries, including ABC Chairman Sir Richard Boyer, before the Postmaster-General Charles Davidson officially opened the channel at 7.00pm.  More than 300 invited guests witnessed the opening night from ABW’s new Rosehill studios in Adelaide Terrace, Perth.

James Fisher read ABW2’s first news bulletin.  The rest of the evening featured Tales Of Wells Fargo and The Phil Silvers Show then British series Portraits Of Power and Boyd QC.  A sports review followed and then the night concluded with the prize winning documentary Growing Up With Guba, the story of the development of New Guinea, before transmission closed at 10.35pm.

With television now established in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, the next city to come was Hobart in 1960 — thus completing the introduction of television to each of the state capital cities.

Source: Eric FisherWA TV History. The West Australian, 16 October 1959, 7 May 1960, 14 October 1989, 16 October 2009. Broadcasting & Television, 14 April 1960.

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Obituary: Patrick Ward

Actor Patrick Ward, star of various Australian films and television series, has died at the age of 69.

He left school in Sydney at the age of 14 and at the age of 16 began as a dancer before joining the Independent Theatre in Sydney and trained as an actor.

He starred as lawyer Mike Parsons in early episodes of Number 96 in 1972.

He re-appeared at Number 96 in the series’ movie spin-off, released in 1974, but this time playing the part of bikie Tony Brent.

Other credits included The Spoiler, Spyforce, Matlock Police, Catch Kandy, Class Of ’74, Homicide ,The Unisexers and sitcom Up The Convicts.

He played a police officer in Cop Shop when it began in 1977, was sports shop owner Craig Carmichael in the short-lived series Arcade in 1980 and starred in the 1992 sitcom My Two Wives.

Mini-series credits included Anzacs, Fields Of Fire and Body Surfer and telemovies Kindred Spirits and Supersleuth.

He also made guest appearances in Runaway Island, Holiday Island, A Country Practice, Rafferty’s Rules, Chances, Home And Away, Over The Hill, All Saints and Farscape.

Source: TV Tonight, IMDB. TV Times, 8 February 1975.


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Obituary: Reg Watson

Reg Watson, the creator of Neighbours and many other successful soaps, has died at the age of 93.

Born in Maryborough, Queensland, in 1926, Watson’s career started as a radio actor and announcer and he had also dabbled in theatre. By the mid-1950s, he had moved to the United Kingdom and in 1956 was appointed Head of Light Entertainment for the new commercial station, ATV, being launched in Birmingham. As well as his executive role at the new channel, he also helped set up the sales department, wrote scripts for announcers and advised on presentation.

He produced various programs for ATV, including a popular daytime variety show, Lunchbox, and a game show called Hit The Limit. At ATV he offered a proposal for a new serial drama which would ultimately launch as Crossroads, starring Lunchbox presenter Noele Gordon. It was the UK’s first five-day-a-week soap, and Watson produced the series to high ratings for over 2000 episodes.

In 1973, Watson and director Alan Coleman were headhunted by Reg Grundy to help build his fledgling drama empire in Australia — although Watson had been turning down offers from Grundy for two years.

He was a director for Grundy’s first soap, Class Of ’74, and his first creation for Grundy was a Brisbane-based daytime serial, Until Tomorrow, starring Hazel Phillips, Barry Otto and Babette Stephens. Until Tomorrow was short-lived, and another proposal called Two-Way Mirror was not picked up, but Watson had far greater success in creating The Young Doctors a year later for Nine. The Young Doctors ran for six years and at the time became the longest running serial drama produced in Australia, clocking up 1396 episodes.

Watson went on to create popular dramas The Restless Years, Prisoner and Sons And Daughters for the Grundy Organisation. His next creation was a suburban-based drama in the early 1980s that had working titles like One Way Street and Living Together. It became Neighbours and debuted on the Seven Network in 1985.

He was given the task to re-launch the series when Network Ten took over the series from 1986. Neighbours became one of Australia’s most successful television exports, screening in up to 50 countries at its peak and is now approaching its 35th anniversary with over 8000 episodes.

Other series credits included Glenview High, Taurus Rising, Starting Out, Waterloo Station, Possession and Richmond Hill. He also worked on Grundy’s overseas dramas Goede tijden, slechte tijden (Netherlands), Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten (Germany) and Dangerous Women (USA).

Watson retired in the 1990s. In 2010 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List, “for service to the media as a pioneer in the creation and production of serial television drama”.

Source: TV Tonight, ATV Today, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. TV Times, 11 January 1975.

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