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The Sydney Morning Herald

SWITCHED ON

Author: Heather Chapman, Michael Idato, Robin Oliver, Tony Davis,
Date: 27/03/2000
Words: 300
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 2
See you Latter

Ron Casey's producer, Paul Latter, apparently became so fed up with 2GB's hot-tempered weekend presenter that he resigned last Monday.

Latter says tactfully he's "looking for new challenges". Casey says he was told by program director Mike Jeffreys that Latter didn't want to work with him "because I was too abrasive". And was he? "Yes," says Casey, explaining that he "got too abrasive" when Latter ordered the panel operator to press the dump button on Casey a couple of times and Casey didn't believe it was warranted.

"I referred to Camilla Parker-Bowles as a 'royal slut' because she was married when she started an affair with Prince Charles and it continued when he was married to Princess Diana," he says.

"Another time I said Prince Charles was a stuck-up prig." Does he feel that this was misheard? "Probably, but if they were bloody listening hard enough they'd know I didn't say something else," says Casey.

"If I can't say that, what can I possibly say on talkback radio? I am an avid listener to Stan Zemanek [2GB's morning presenter] and what he gets away with leaves me in the shade."

In the meantime, Latter is saying he had to order the dump button just a few times "but it wouldn't have been major - not like a dozen times in the program or anything". Latter is moving to 2SM to produce Clive Robertson.

Heather Chapman

Who wants to be ... lost

The trend towards rough and tumble reality shows continues, with US network CBS unveiling the latest in the line - Survivor. Sixteen finalists, culled from 6,000 applicants, will compete in endurance tests on an isolated island in the South China Sea. Over 13 one-hour episodes, the group will be reduced to two finalists, with the previously eliminated contestants deciding which of them wins the $US1 million prize money.

The show is filmed by remote cameras and small camera crews who will also be on the island but will not interact with the contestants.

A version of the show that screened in Sweden three years ago created a stir when one of its contestants committed suicide after returning home. At the time, the Swedish TV network denied any responsibility. CBS says each of its contestants has been psychologically tested to avoid such an incident.

Ranging in age from 22 to 72, the contestants include a college student, retired Navy SEAL, lawyer, neurologist, truck driver, travelling salesman and river guide.

No Australian broadcaster has been announced for the program, but the Nine Network has a standing agreement to consider CBS program material offered to the international market.

Meanwhile, Seven's reality/survival program, The Mole, will soon wrap up, with the mole's identity to be revealed on April 12.

Michael Idato

Home and hosed

It's a long way from Summer Bay, but one of Home and Away's sun-bronzed kids has made it onto the Radio Times cover, the BBC-produced weekly guide to British TV programs, which sells nearly two million copies a week.

Naomi Watts spent what she describes inside as "six miserable weeks" in 1991 playing Julie Gibson in the Australian soap. She became better known to viewers in Brides of Christ, playing Frances Heffenam, the rebellious daughter of a woman who defied the church by obtaining a divorce.

Born in England, Watts migrated to Australia as a teenager. Now all eyes are upon her as she plays opposite Derek Jacobi in the leading role of Alice Maybell in the BBC's latest period drama, The Wyvern Mystery. This is a chilling tale by 19th-century horror writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The two-part series is coming soon on the ABC.

Meanwhile, another former member of the Summer Bay crowd, Isla Fisher, gets her big moment in the final episode of Oliver Twist (ABC, Sunday, 8.30pm), playing Bet, the friend of Nancy (Emily Woof). Fisher played the young Shannon in Home and Away for three seasons from 1994.

Robin Oliver

ABC runs strong

In the wake of SBS's Global Outstanding Achievement Award, the ABC is sharing in a gong from The Royal Television Society. It's for Best Children's Drama in the UK, awarded for the three-part thriller See How They Run, a joint ABC-BBC production which screened here last year.

Filmed on location in Britain and Australia and starring Peter O'Brien (Neighbours) and Anne Looby (A Country Practice, Simone de Beauvoir's Babies), See How They Run beat early favourites Pig Heart Boy and My Parents are Aliens.

Tony Davis

Conde's winning form

Not only has a move to expel 2UE from the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters failed, but FARB has invited John Conde, 2UE's executive chairman, to join its codes committee.

The chairman of FARB, Gary Roberts, says: "We felt it was an invitation that was an obvious one to extend, given the circumstances."

Conde says the FARB board told him: "We think you know more about the codes than anyone, John." And he was delighted to accept.

The move to expel 2UE, for breaching the industry's voluntary codes of practice, came from John Singleton, major shareholder of the rival Macquarie Network, in a letter tabled at the February meeting of FARB. Following that meeting, Singleton was quoted as saying: "Either 2UE goes down or FARB goes down. If the voluntary code is to survive, 2UE has to go."

Asked about Singleton's letter, Roberts says: "The correspondence from Macquarie was tabled and given due consideration. It serves no purpose to expel anyone. The decision was how to work constructively together to move forward ... 2UE and the board will work constructively together to move forward. We're very positive about it."

Heather Chapman

Ten's rev-fest

Forget about playing sport ... or even watching it. The trend is to talk about it. The latest sweat-propelled, panel-format gab-fest is Ten's V8 Superstars, a one-hour effort featuring race drivers Mark Skaife, Neil Crompton and Russell Ingall plus Network Ten commentators Bill Woods and Mark Oastler.

The official line is that this crew - with two guests per show - will discuss, debate and outright argue issues "from on and off the track, in an open forum normally reserved

for the pits".

The first episode will be recorded in front of a live audience this Friday and broadcast on Sunday at 1pm. Additional episodes are planned: two in June and one to coincide with the Bathurst V8 race in November.

Tony Davis

 
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