60 Minutes (Australian TV program)

60 Minutes is an Australian version of the United States television newsmagazine show of the same title, airing on the Nine Network since 1979 on Sunday nights. A New Zealand version uses segments of the show. The program is one of five inducted into Australia's television Logie Hall of Fame.[1]

60 Minutes
GenreNews magazine
Created byDon Hewitt (original format)
Presented by
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons40
Executive producerKirsty Thomson
Production locationTCN-9 North Sydney, New South Wales
Running time60 minutes
Original release
NetworkNine Network
Release11 February 1979 (1979-02-11) –
60 Minutes (1968–present)

History edit

The program was founded by United States television producer Gerald Stone, who was appointed its inaugural executive producer in 1979 by media tycoon Kerry Packer.[2]

Stone devised it to be an Australian version of CBS's US 60 Minute's program and it featured upon its inauguration well known reporters George Negus, Ray Martin, Ian Leslie. Its prominent early programs included a 1981 interview Negus conducted with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, during which the prime minister aggressively countered his questions.[3] Negus asked Thatcher why people described her as ''pig-headed'' and the Prime Minister demanded he tell her who, when and where such comments were made.[4]

In 1982, Jana Wendt interviewed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and asked him why he had been so often described as a terrorist, a butcher, a gangster and a madman.[5]

In 2019, the program produced a report on the infiltration of organised crime into listed Australian casino firm Crown Resorts. It led to multiple state and federal inquiries, including the NSW Bergin Inquiry, that recommended Crown Resorts may be unfit to hold a casino licence.[6]

Antony Blinken (United States Secretary of State) being interviewed for the program in July 2023 by Amelia Adams

In March 2021, the Nine Network launched a one-hour, one-story, studio-based 60 Minutes spin-off Under Investigation presented by Liz Hayes and produced by Gareth Harvey that features a panel of guests.[7][8][9]

Staff edit

Current correspondents edit


Former correspondents edit


Contributing reporters edit


Commentators edit

Executive producers edit

Awards edit

60 Minutes has won numerous awards for broadcasting, including five Silver Logies, one Special Achievement Logie, and received nominations for a further six Logie awards. In 2018, 60 Minutes was inducted into the TV Week Logie Hall of Fame.[14] In 2019, its report on the organised crime infiltration of gaming giant Crown Resorts was awarded a Walkley Award and led to two Royal Commissions.[6] In 2020, its program on political malfeasance, The Faceless Man, was awarded a Walkley Award for best long format television reporting.[15]

Controversies edit

In February 1988, 60 Minutes collaborated with James Randi to create a fictional psychic called "Carlos", played by José Alvarez, for an elaborate investigation into how much free publicity a fraudulent medium could garner through the Australian media, and how such people could manipulate the gullibility of vulnerable people.[16][17] However, during their investigation and successful attempt at convincing the Australian media that "Carlos" was a genuinely notable medium who had a strong following in America, other Channel 9 programs were caught out reporting on the fake "Carlos" who appeared on Today and A Current Affair and was featured on Sunday and Nine News.[16] An orchestrated incident where his assistant threw water on George Negus during a second appearance on Today garnered even more attention for "Carlos".[16] When the sting was revealed on 60 Minutes, anger at the network was palpable and reports soon circulated about staff sackings as a result.[18][19]

In April 2016, Tara Brown and eight other people (including three other staff members of Nine, David Ballment, Stephen Rice, and Ben Williamson)[20] were arrested on allegations of child abduction in Beirut. According to Lebanese authorities, 60 Minutes allegedly paid $115,000 directly to the Child Abduction Recovery International Agency, despite claims that the exchange was made by the mother of the children. The abduction agency used has also been widely discredited, with fake recovery stories being posted on Facebook and their operators having been arrested all over the world. The recovery involved the team waiting in a parked car on the street and then snatching the children from their grandmother and nanny before driving away. "A Lebanese judicial source" told The Guardian that the group were to be charged with "armed abduction, purveying threats and physical harm" – crimes which carry sentences of twenty years' imprisonment with hard labour.[21] The group were released from custody only after Nine paid a substantial money settlement to the father of the children the subject of the abduction attempt. This operation sparked wide debate about the ethics of the journalism being conducted.

In May 2019, a jury ruled that a 60 Minutes story aired in 2015 about the 2011 Grantham floods defamed four members of the Wagner family, from Toowoomba, Queensland, by implying they were responsible for the 12 deaths that occurred during the disaster. In November, a court ordered Channel Nine to pay $2.4 million plus $63,000 in interest to the family. Nick Cater, a journalist featured in the program, was ordered to pay an additional $1.2 million in damages.[22][23] Justice Peter Applegarth, who was in charge of the case, stated that while Cater had information contradicting the program's allegations, he did not include them in the story. Applegarth also concluded that Channel Nine failed to inform the Wagners of the allegations until after the program had been publicised, and when the family did send a statement to Nine, they did not include it in the program.[22]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Quinn, Karl (2 October 2019). "Vale Sunday Night, the decade-long rival to 60 Minutes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  2. ^ Idato, Michael (5 November 2020). "60 Minutes trailblazer and legendary TV producer Gerald Stone dead". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  3. ^ "'It was pretty scary' – George Negus on THAT 1981 interview with Margaret Thatcher – ABC (none) – Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  4. ^ Marszalek, Jessica (9 April 2013). "Pig headed qualities led to downfall". news. Archived from the original on 10 September 2021. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Interview with a madman". dailytelegraph. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b "'The state era is over': Crown inquiry shows national gambling regulation is needed". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 February 2021. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Under Investigation". Nine Entertainment Company. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Under Investigation with Liz Hayes coming to Nine's premium news service". Mediaweek. 16 September 2020.
  9. ^ Idato, Michael (3 March 2021). "Experts around the dinner table: Liz Hayes' new show aims to intrigue". Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ a b c 'MEET THE TEAM'. Nine.com.au
  11. ^ a b c d e f 'sixtyminues'. Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Two new reporters join 60 Minutes for 2024". 9now.nine.com.au. Retrieved 22 January 2024.
  13. ^ '60 MINUTES'. nostalgiacentral.com.
  14. ^ "Awards for 60 Minutes: Logie Awards". IMDb. 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey". The Walkley Foundation. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  16. ^ a b c Carleton, Richard (1988). "The great Carlos hoax: the 'spirit channeller' that fooled the world". Official 60 Minutes YouTube channel. Nine Network. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  17. ^ Carleton, Sharon (14 November 2020). "Revisiting the great Carlos hoax". The Science Show. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  18. ^ Clark, David; Samuelson, Steve (2006). 50 Years: Celebrating a half-century of Australian television. Random House Australia. p. 214. ISBN 1-7416-6024-6.
  19. ^ "Journalist denies sacking over hoax". The Canberra Times. 2 March 1988. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  20. ^ Miranda, Charles (13 April 2016). "Kidnapping charges filed against 60 Minutes crew over botched child recovery mission in Lebanon". Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  21. ^ Shaheen, Kareem; Safi, Michael; Elgot, Jessica (12 April 2016). "Suspects in alleged Beirut kidnapping face jail and hard labour". Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  22. ^ a b Chen, David (22 November 2019). "Channel Nine ordered to pay Wagner family $2 million over defamatory 60 Minutes report". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  23. ^ Knox, David (22 November 2019). "60 Minutes case leads to $3.6m defamation payout". TV Tonight. Retrieved 5 December 2019.

External links edit