1996: Kerri-Anne Kennerley made the successful transition from breakfast TV to revive The Midday Show. She continued to host Midday for three years.

The decade started in recession and with two networks in receivership, and a third being sold back to its former owner for a fraction of what it had been bought for. Cost cutting and tight budgets became increasingly common. Despite this, regional television was expanding at a rapid rate to give country viewers the same choices as their city counterparts. Then came the countdown to the new millennium.


  • January: The 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand are televised on Nine.
  • February: Steve Vizard’s Tonight Live begins on Seven. Ten launches two spin-offs from The Comedy Company — Larger Than Life with Mark Mitchell and the sitcom Col’n Carpenter.
  • The Seven and Ten networks go into receivership. Kerry Packer’s PBL purchases the Nine Network stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane back from Alan Bond for $A200 million — a fifth of what Bond paid PBL for them in 1987.
  • June: Corporate sponsorship of SBS’ coverage of the FIFA World Cup is the precursor to limited advertising content appearing on the network.
  • July 15: After a six month absence, The Comedy Company returns on Ten but fails to repeat the success of its earlier seasons.
  • December 31: Queensland becomes the second Aggregated market with local stations Sunshine Television, WIN and QTV.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Craig McLachlan (Neighbours, Ten)
Glenn Ridge and Jo Bailey, Sale Of The Century


  • January:  Nine’s latest attempt at popular drama, Chances, begins a two year run, while Ten revives the axed Perfect Match under the title Blind Date.
  • The Gulf War sparks saturation television coverage.
  • February 10:  Animated US series The Simpsons premieres on Ten
  • April: Glenn Ridge and Jo Bailey replace Tony Barber and Alyce Platt on Sale Of The Century.
  • August 5: US talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show makes its debut as a late-night program on Network Ten.
  • September 4: The mini-series Brides Of Christ debuts on ABC. The six-part series, starring Sandy Gore, Naomi Watts, Josephine Byrnes, Brenda Fricker and Lisa Hensley, was a ratings hit for the national broadcaster.
  • December 31: Aggregation arrives in Northern NSW with local networks Prime, NBN and NRTV now in competition across the entire region, including the Gold Coast.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Steve Vizard (Tonight Live and Fast Forward, Seven)
Bert Newton


  • January 1: Aggregation arrives in regional Victoria with local commercial networks Prime, VICTV and Southern Cross Network.
  • January 20: Ten Eyewitness News becomes the first 5pm news service, and Bert Newton returns to television as host of Ten’s new The Morning Show.
  • January: Former ABC reporter Stan Grant fronts Seven’s new nightly current affairs program, Real Life.
  • February: Healthy Wealthy And Wise begins a seven-year run on Ten.
  • July 18: The Late Show with the D Generation starts on ABC, running for two seasons.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Jana Wendt (A Current Affair, Nine)


  • January 11: Tony Barber’s Jeopardy begins a brief run on Ten.
  • February 1: Ten’s The Morning Show adopts the title Good Morning Australia, taking the name from the network’s former long-running breakfast TV program.
  • March 7: ABC begins 24 hour, 7 days transmission
  • August 30: Ten’s late night sports round-up Sports Tonight begins.
  • November 22: A Country Practice screens for the last time on Seven, to be picked up by Ten for a brief run in 1994.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Ray Martin (Midday With Ray Martin, Nine)


  • January 18: Seven premieres its new rural police drama Blue Heelers.
  • February: Ten launches its new schoolroom drama Heartbreak High, a spin-off of the movie The Heartbreak Kid, and Derryn Hinch takes over from Ray Martin as host of Nine’s Midday.
  • April 30: Aggregation of commercial television services is completed in Tasmania with TAS TV (now WIN) and Southern Cross Television broadcasting statewide.
  • May 9: Frontline, a satirical look at current affairs television from the D Generation, begins on ABC.
  • May 20: SBS commences transmission in Darwin
  • August 1: Melbourne’s ATV10 celebrates 30 years of transmission.
  • August: The Commonwealth Games are televised live on Ten from Victoria, Canada.
  • Community Television starts with long-term trials of stations in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Ray Martin (Midday With Ray Martin, Nine)


  • January 1: Pay TV commences in Australia with Galaxy launching its first channel, Premier Sports Network, in Sydney and Melbourne.
  • January 30: Today Tonight launches on Seven with individual editions in each of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
  • January: Southern Cross Broadcasting, owner of Ten Victoria and Southern Cross Network in Tasmania, purchases Canberra-based Capital Television for $40 million.
  • February: The Seven Network secures TV broadcast rights to the Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) Olympic Games for around $A100 million.
  • Seven premieres its new drama series Fire, and Nine’s series of Halifax fp telemovies continue to earn strong ratings.
  • Optusvision (September) and Foxtel (October) join Galaxy as new pay TV providers.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Ray Martin (A Current Affair, Nine)


  • Australian television celebrates 40 years with commemorative specials on ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten networks.
  • Nine premieres its new action drama series Water Rats and relaunches Midday with new host Kerri-Anne Kennerley.
  • Nine launches a new version of In Melbourne Tonight hosted by Frankie J Holden with Denise Drysdale. Screening once a week in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, it is axed two years later.
  • Two years after its US premiere, the first series of Friends screens on Seven, with subsequent series screening on Nine.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Ray Martin (A Current Affair, Nine)


  • March 7: The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is televised for the first time on commercial television.
  • July 1:  Prime Television expands to Mildura in regional Victoria.
  • September 6: The funeral of Princess Diana is televised live on all ABC and commercial free-to-air television stations.
  • December: South Park, the politically incorrect animated series from America’s Comedy Central pay-TV channel, begins on SBS and becomes the network’s highest rating series to date.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers, Seven)
The Day Of The Roses


  • February 18: The Panel, from Working Dog Productions (formerly the D Generation), begins on Ten.
  • February 24: Seven’s hospital drama All Saints begins.
  • March 27: Darwin’s second commercial television station, Seven Darwin, commences transmission.
  • July 31: Children’s entertainment group The Wiggles debut their new 13-episode self-titled TV series, screening weekly on the Seven Network
  • November: Midday is axed by Nine, ending a daytime TV tradition that started in 1973.
  • Seachange, ABC’s new weekly drama starring Sigrid Thornton, becomes a huge hit on Sunday nights.
  • The two-part mini series The Day Of The Roses, based on the 1977 Granville train disaster, screens on Ten.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers, Seven)
Eleven AM


  • ABC’s popular Good News Week moves across to Ten.
  • The second season of Seachange achieves record ratings for ABC.
  • March 26: WIN expands into regional Western Australia as the second local commercial TV broadcaster, up against former monopoly broadcaster GWN.
  • Aggregation between Imparja Television (Northern Territory/South Australia) and Seven Central (outback Queensland) commences, giving outback viewers a choice of two commercial TV networks.
  • May 28: National morning news program Eleven AM is axed by Seven after 24 years.
  • Seven begins transmitting its logo watermark on all programs.
  • Jana Wendt becomes presenter of Dateline on SBS.
  • Millennium specials begins with tribute programs from Nine (Our Century and Simply The Best), Seven (a remake of the 1979 series This Fabulous Century) and ABC (Barry Humphries’ Flashbacks).
  • Lisa McCune

    November 20:  Nine’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday ends after 28 years on air, ending a forty year tradition of live television variety from GTV9.

  • December 31:  ABC is the host Australian broadcaster of the international TV event 2000 Today, a 26-hour live telecast of new year celebrations around the world, commencing at 8.30pm (AEDST) on 31 December.
  • TV Week Gold Logie Winner: Lisa McCune (Blue Heelers, Seven)