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Date: 07/03/1993
Words: 1623
          Publication: The Sun Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 18

THE biggest TV Land story in Australia next week will be the Logies, so isn't it timely that the top-secret Logies list fell off the back of a truck on Friday and bounced into the Airwaves bunker? TV Week publishes a whole special issue next week of the details but we can't wait that long, so here goes (with apologies to TV Week). As Airwaves tipped last week, former ratings queen Jana Wendt has dipped out of the running for the Gold Logie this year. Although the list for gold is not final so far for some reason, the TV Week voters have gone instead for Hey Hey It's Saturday's Daryl Somers, Tonight Live's Steve Vizard, Ray Martin and Scott Michaelson from Neighbours. Funnily enough, the line-up for top light entertainment personality is almost identical: Somers, Vizard, Martin and Ten's Bert Newton (what's that they say about the same old faces on Australian TV?). Meanwhile, the Silver Logie for best actor could go to Cameron Daddo, E Street's Bruce Samazan, Neighbours'Scott Michaelson or ABC-TV Police Rescue's Gary Sweet. And the silver for best actress could go to former Home and Away star Rebekah Elmaloglou, former Acropolis Now star Georgie Parker, former E Street star Toni Pearen or A Country Practice's Kym Wilson. Guest presenters at the Logies are also tipped to be actress sisters Hayley and Juliet Mills, who'll be in Oz to do a play called Fallen Angels, and A Martinez from LA Law. Actor Jean Claude van Damme pulled out at the last minute. So there.


HEY Hey It's Saturday's Red Symons is a dad again | From a late start at fatherhood, the former tongue-twisting Skyhook seems to be making up for lost breeding time. Symons has taken a few weeks' paternity leave from narrating the Rocky Horror stage show in Sydney to go home to Melbourne to attend to wife Elly and second son Raphael. (Molly Meldrum has taken over Symons'narration in the show and Airwaves has heard he's made a few stumbles on his first nights.) The first Symons baby, Samuel Peter, was born in June 1991. The second name of the new baby, who was born last week, is Redmond, just like pop.


THE future of The Norman Gunston Show is still in jeopardy with star Garry McDonald missing last week's show because of severe stress. A Channel Seven spokeswoman said yesterday a decision would be made on the show when advice was received from McDonald's doctors. She said "a certain amount" of pre-recorded material could possibly carry the program through on a short-term basis with a guest host. But she said the show would not proceed without McDonald if his doctors said he was too ill to carry on. McDonald was photographed last week "power-walking" near his Bellevue Hill home, but a worried friend described him as being "very ill". McDonald is believed to have fled to his farm near Sydney.


STEVE Vizard is off to the United States for two weeks to do business for his company Artist Services, so all the usual suspects are being rounded up to stand in for him. Tomorrow night Sir Bob Geldof, in Australia to promote his new album The Happy Club, drinks from Vizard's coffee cup.


FURTHER to last week's item about Sex show presenter Darren McDonald, we hear he did play master of ceremonies in a suit to judge the costume show after the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. But what a suit | Turns out it was held together by nothing but hope and velcro and some drag queens ripped it off him to reveal a cute little vest and skimpy shorts underneath. Lucky he had his legs waxed for the occasion. McDonald was working that night on a story for Sex about Mardi Gras but curiously enough his own cameras were switched off when he stripped. Why?


AIRWAVES has heard of a three-week frost that is finally thawing between Denise Drysdale and Ernie Sigley, of Nine's Ernie And Denise morning show. Drysdale is a Logies presenter but her long-time TV offsider, Sigley, is not. Could this be a factor? Airwaves hears there was quite a ding dong, so to speak, between the two in an airport flight deck lounge about three weeks ago. But the pair are knocking themselves out taping five separate shows a week each for Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so it's not surprising.


COMICS Andrew Denton and Wendy Harmer may work on rival radio stations in Sydney but that won't stop them from twisting the political knife together on Friday on election eve on ABC-TV. Denton and Harmer will lead opposing debating teams on the subject of "Are Elections a Waste of Time"? Harmer is for the affirmative, Denton for the negative in the clash, to be filmed in the Senate Chamber in the old Parliament House on Tuesday. Aside from that, Harmer is tipping the Liberal "yuppies from hell" to win the election by four seats. "It's a choice of Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Even Dumber", she said. And of the Doug Mulray comeback in last week's ratings on 2MMM, the new 2DAY-FM recruit said: "We'll just sit quietly and carry a big stick."


IN the Ray Martin Hall of Fame bookshelf, located in the Midday cottage last week, Airwaves spied a pair of white boxer shorts complete with eight tiny pockets, seven of them containing a coloured condom and the eighth labelled Rest Day. The joke gift was sent to Martin from Nine's new Sex show host Pamela Stephenson after he interviewed her for an in-house story. "The staff round here keep checking to see if I've used any of the condoms," Martin said. Well, none was missing.


INTERESTING to see among the sea of faces at Labor's cultural policy launch that ABC people were thin on the ground. This is apparently because ABC boss David Hill made it well known to staff that they shouldn't attend because to do so might not be seen as kosher. Airwaves heard one rumour that as much as$1 million could be lopped off the Four Corners budget if the Coalition is elected, so their staff alone must have found it hard to stay away.


SEVEN is really giving Nine a run for its money this year in ratings. Seven has won nationally for the past three weeks. But last week could be the first time since the Olympics last year that Seven jumps ahead of Nine over one whole week in Sydney. On Friday, Seven was just ahead at 29.7 for Sunday to Thursday and Nine was on 28.3 (Friday and Saturday figures come out tomorrow)


SAM Laws, son of Sydney radio king John Laws, is over the moon at being hired by Lithgow station 2LT for a trial fortnight to see how he goes at copywriting and, if he's any good, spinning discs in the afternoons. Sam has an edge of the same famous timbre in his voice but sounds a lot more laid back than dad. Sam, 22, left school in fourth form, something he regrets, "but I wasn't really the best student". For the past six months he has worked at 2UE as a production assistant but before that spent a few years as a jackaroo-rouseabout on a sheep station at Goodooga, out west, building trucks in a factory and in promotions for car dealerships. "I'm very keen to get into radio now," he said. "It was something I was shy of for a long time. I sort of freaked because I do have pretty big shoes to follow." (Sam is one of nine children that Caroline and John have between them from their various marriages.) Sam said he "finally got the guts" to submit a tape to 2LT when he heard they needed someone. He made the tape last Thursday, sent it off on Monday and within two hours landed the job. Another hopeful at 2UE sent off more than 75 tapes but didn't even have one interview. The famous Laws name working miracles, perhaps? "I think it definitely had something to do with it. I'd be stupid to say it didn't. But I'm not shy to admit that these days, because things are so hard, you have to be ruthless to get a job," Sam said. And does he see himself as tough talkback material? "If someone annoys me I don't worry about getting stuck into them." Meanwhile, Caroline Laws underwent a major hip operation last week. Caroline, who went into hospital last Sunday, was reportedly in pain for the first couple of days but was comfortable at the end of last week. Husband John left the gold microphone after his shifts to be at her bedside most of the time. Laws said she would be out of hospital early this week.


NATIONAL Party Leader Tim Fischer, who with his faithful Akubra must qualify as a leader in the "drivers with hats" stakes, has been elevated to cult status in the election campaign. So much so that a TV show and a radio station were fighting over him | Word is that heavies from Steve Vizard's Tonight Live show have threatened to sue the pants off Triple J if two of their announcers, Ian Rogerson and Debbie Spillane, don't stop accusing Vizard's show of ripping off their Fischer campaign notebook idea.

Vizard stand-in


IN the next two weeks, Ten's heavy line-up of the Logies and other specials means the network could also score some of its best ratings for about two years. The first week of ratings this year in February was their highest since February 1991. And they won the under-40s slot, with a share of 31.4 compared with Nine's 28.5.

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