‘I’m anchored to the chair!’
Despite her recent working trip to Czechoslovakia, A Current Affair host Jana Wendt (pictured) says it’s likely to be a long time before she goes anywhere else for an extended break. “I am anchored to this chair,” she told TV Week. “I wish I had a chain to prove it to you.” But combining the job of current affairs host and mother to two-year-old Daniel she says is never easy, and, if she ever does move on from ACA in the distant future, considers doing something a bit more laid back in television. “Peter Ross is on a lovely wicket at the ABC doing nice things where you can sit back and relax and enjoy it… Something where you can take a deep breath, be a bit more reflective and work consistently for a while without having to keep up with this kind of momentum.” TV Week also reveals one of TV’s best kept secrets – the day that the Nine Network almost lost Wendt to Network Ten. While it was widely reported that Wendt was headed to the American Fox network, at the invitation of former boss Gerald Stone, in reality she was involved in negotiations for an even bigger deal with Ten. Wendt said she only consider moving to Ten if most of her A Current Affair team could come over as well – so Ten managed to verbally tie up most of the ACA crew. Then news of the deal leaked out, and Nine chief Sam Chisholm reacted quickly and signed up Wendt and her team with generous contracts – leaving Wendt with a contract worth $2 million over three years.
Dannii’s set to quit Summer Bay
Home And Away star Dannii Minogue is set to leave the series when her contract expires in June. “(The producers) want me to stay, but I’ve got other commitments,” she told TV Week. Her first single, Love And Kisses, will be released later this month and she plans to finish recording her debut album while on a two-week break from Home And Away in March. Minogue plans to promote the new album’s release in London after she finishes up on Home And Away. “I may go back to Home And Away but it’s too hard to do that and promote the record too.”
Family first for Carol
The recent premiere of Nine’s Family And Friends also marked another long-awaited TV debut – the TV acting debut of Carol Willesee (pictured), former wife of current affairs host Mike Willesee. The mother of three made headlines in 1987 when she walked off the set of new series Home And Away after only two days of production, citing fears that the role of Pippa Fletcher would take too much time away from her family. But producers of Family And Friends are happy with Willesee’s performance in her guest role and have already indicated that an ongoing role is ready for her, but appreciate that her family commitments are still a priority. “That’s quite understandable,” says producer John Holmes. “It’s up to Carol.”
Former The Comedy Company stars Mark Mitchell and Kim Gyngell make their debut in their own new shows on Network Ten this week. Mitchell stars in a sketch comedy series, Larger Than Life, and Gyngell reprises his popular character Col’n Carpenter in a new half-hour sitcom also starring Vicki Blanche, Monica Maughan and Stig Wemyss.
60 Minutes reporter Jeff McMullen spent four weeks of his Christmas break in blizzard conditions in Antarctica, filming a story for the current affairs show. “People are outraged that I was allowed to take this risk… but I was the one who wanted to do it,” he told TV Week. The 6400 kilometre trek, reported to be the longest polar journey ever made, was led by six scientists and three dozen huskies.
US actor Telly Savalas, best known for his role as New York cop Kojak, is in Melbourne for a major role in the Seven Network mini-series Rose Against The Odds, based on the life of boxer Lionel Rose. Savalas plays boxing promoter George Parnassus, who promoted many of Rose’s professional fights in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ‘70s.
John Laws says…
”Little did I know when I heartily praised ABC’s Inside Running drama series that it had already fallen victim to the axe. Inside Running was a compelling and wonderfully scripted and acted series about barristers in Melbourne. I regard it as one of the best drama productions made in Australia.”
Program Highlights (February 10-16):
Saturday: HSV7 crosses to Port Douglas, Queensland, for the Super Skins Golf, then in the evening covers the Fosters Cup, Essendon versus West Coast Eagles, live from VFL Park, Melbourne. GTV9 crosses to the Gabba, Brisbane, for the Benson and Hedges World Series: Pakistan versus Sri Lanka.
Sunday: The 1990 ratings season kicks off in earnest. GTV9’s Sunday morning news programs Business Sunday and Sunday are back for another year. Super Skins Golf (HSV7) and World Series Cricket (GTV9) dominate the afternoon, and the evening is highlighted by ATV10’s new comedy double, Larger Than Life and Col’n Carpenter. GTV9’s Our World presents Part 1 of G’day Comrade, featuring George Negus on location in Russia, followed by the return of 60 Minutes. Sunday night movies are Three Men And A Baby (HSV7), The Last Emperor (GTV9) and The Golden Child (ATV10).
Monday: Midday With Ray Martin (GTV9) returns for another year, and ABC’s The Afternoon Show and Countdown Revolution return in the late afternoon and early evening. Four Corners and Media Watch both return to ABC in the mid-evening.
Tuesday: Returning shows for 1990 include The Investigators (ABC) and Candid Camera In Australia (ATV10). Kerry O’Brien presents the debut of a new late night current affairs program, Lateline, on ABC.
Thursday: HSV7 crosses to Huntingdale Golf Course, Melbourne, for the annual Australian Masters.
Friday: ABC’s rural affairs program Countrywide returns for a new year, as does Burke’s Backyard (GTV9).
Source: TV Week (Victoria edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 10 February 1990. Southdown Press.