A Current Affair (Australian TV program)

A Current Affair (or ACA) is an Australian current affairs program airing weeknights and Saturday nights on the Nine Network. The program is currently hosted by Tracy Grimshaw (Monday–Thursday) and Deborah Knight (Friday and Saturday).

A Current Affair
A Current Affair logo.png
A Current Affair logo
Also known asACA
GenreCurrent affairs
Presented by
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons
  • 8 (1971–1978)
  • 25 (1988–)
Production
Running time30 minutes - including commercials
Release
Original networkNine Network
Picture format
Audio formatStereo
Original release22 November 1971 (1971-11-22) –
present

History

1970s

A Current Affair was first broadcast on 22 November 1971, with Mike Willesee, screening weeknights at 7:00 p.m., and was broadcast for GTV-9. For part of its early run, the comedian and actor Paul Hogan had a comic social commentary segment. Under Willesee, ACA was a Transmedia production for the Nine Network.[1]

When Willesee left Nine in 1974 to move to the rival 0–10 Network (now known as Network 10), journalist Mike Minehan took over presenting ACA. Other hosts included Sue Smith, Kevin Sanders and Michael Schildberger.[1][2][3][4]

The original A Current Affair was cancelled on 28 April 1978 due to strong competition in the 7:00 p.m. timeslot from Willesee at Seven on Seven Network and Graham Kennedy's Blankety Blanks on the 0–10 Network.

In 1984, Willesee returned to the Nine Network to revive the format in a series titled Willesee, screening Monday to Thursday nights at 9:30. The following year, Willesee moved to the earlier 6:30 p.m. timeslot and extended to five nights a week, running until 1988, when Willesee's production company, Transmedia, sold the rights to the program to the Nine Network.

1988 revival

When Willesee left the presenting role, former 60 Minutes presenter Jana Wendt took over on 18 January 1988 and the show once again became A Current Affair. This was the same week the Seven Network's soap opera Home and Away was introduced, and in Melbourne where Derryn Hinch debuted rival current affairs program Hinch at Seven.

The Seven Network introduced direct competition with Real Life, which later became Today Tonight. Jana Wendt left the program in November 1992, unhappy with an ACA story showing topless women.[5]

In 1993, original ACA host Mike Willesee took over for the whole year. In February 1994, Ray Martin took over. Martin signed off at the end of November 1998.

From 1999 to 2002, Mike Munro hosted. When he left the program in 2002, he returned to This Is Your Life, 60 Minutes, and later National Nine News in Sydney.

After Mike Munro's departure, Ray Martin returned in February 2003, and signed off again at the start of December 2005. During the 2005/2006 holiday period, the Nine Network announced that ACA was to be "rested" for four weeks to enable a major revamp of the production to take place. On 30 January 2006, two weeks after the program's return, ACA was re-launched with new host Tracy Grimshaw.

National edition

Weeknights

Leila McKinnon, Deborah Knight and Sylvia Jeffreys are the main fill-in presenter when Grimshaw is on leave. Ben Fordham, Karl Stefanovic, Dimity Clancey, Brady Halls, Peter Overton and Eddie McGuire, among others, have also filled in for Grimshaw.

In January 2022, Grimshaw scaled back to 4 days a week hosting from Monday to Thursday with Deborah Knight hosting on Friday.

Weekends

In March 2020, a Saturday edition was launched during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hosted by Deborah Knight. It was made permanent in December 2020.[6]

Reporters

State editions

Launching in 1991, QTQ-9 in Brisbane produced a local version of the program, titled Extra. It carried local stories including the lead up to its NRL Grand Finals. Despite its eighteen long years of popularity and ratings success, the local current affairs program was axed, due to a major schedule cleanup for making space for Nine's now-scrapped one-hour current affairs program, This Afternoon, hosted by Andrew Daddo, Katrina Blowers and Mark Ferguson from 4:30pm weekdays starting the following Monday after its final ever broadcast. The decision was part of a push to nationalise lead-in content for the network's struggling news bulletins. The game show Hot Seat was moved to replace Extra at 5.30pm.

In 2002, NWS-9 in Adelaide produced a local version of the program hosted by weekend news presenter Georgina McGuinness. It carried national stories, but featured more local stories including the lead up to the 2002 AFL Grand Final. The Adelaide edition was short lived due to the very heavy competition of the Seven Network Adelaide's Today Tonight.

In January 2008, WIN Corporation announced that a new local version of ACA would be produced in Western Australia to replace the east coast version hosted by Tracy Grimshaw. It was hosted by Louise Momber, with special investigators Peter van Onselen and Michael Southwell.[7] The first state based edition since Adelaide in 2002, the Perth program's initial host, former news presenter Sonia Vinci, resigned prior to the show's commencement and was replaced by Louise Momber. The program was launched on 20 October 2008. A week later on 27 October, WIN launched an Adelaide version of the show on Adelaide, with Adelaide's National Nine News reporter Kate Collins presenting.[8] Both versions were short-lived – on 30 November 2009, WIN announced that Perth and Adelaide would return to the national format.[9]

Brisbane (as Extra)

In 2009, Extra was axed with the Nine Network investing money into other areas within the network. All Extra reporters were spread across the network in other reporting capacities from A Current Affair to Nine News.

Adelaide

Michael Smyth was a fill-in presenter for Kate Collins

Criticism

Like Today Tonight, the program's former rival on Seven, A Current Affair is often considered by media critics and the public at large to use sensationalist journalism – as depicted in the parody television show Frontline – and to deliberately present advertising as editorial content, as previously exposed on the ABC program Media Watch.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Stories covered by ACA rotate around community issues i.e. diet fads, miracle cures, welfare cheats, shonky builders, negligent doctors, poorly run businesses and corrupt government officials.

Paxton controversy

In 1996, the show reported on the Paxton family from the impoverished Melbourne suburb of St Albans. The family were told that the show was about helping the family members to get jobs, but the version that aired claimed that the family were "dole bludgers" refusing reasonable offers of employment. After the story aired, the family received death threats.[18]

Greg Hodge defamation

In September 2006 ACA was ordered to pay over $320,000 to former Australian swimming coach Greg Hodge in relation to indefensible defamatory allegations made in a 2003 story relating to Hodge's conduct towards a former swim student.[19]

Peter Anthony Haertsch defamation

In March 2010 ACA was found to have defamed acclaimed plastic surgeon Peter Anthony Haertsch in allegations aired in a 2008 report about a Gold Coast woman's breast enlargement procedure, and ordered to pay $268,000 damages.[20]

Lev Mizikovsky defamation

In June 2008 ACA broadcast a program about Queensland property developer Lev Mizikovsky. Mizikovsky sued ACA claiming he was defamed by the broadcast and in November 2011 a jury agreed, but found the defamatory meanings were defensible.[21] Mizikovsky is now liable for costs, which are reported to exceed $2 million.[21]

All-Asian Mall controversy

On 7 November 2012, a segment was broadcast giving the impression that Asian people were taking over a shopping centre in Castle Hill, New South Wales. After numerous viewer complaints, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found the segment had breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice in three clauses, including "containing inaccurate factual material", "placing gratuitous emphasis on ethnic origin" and "likely to provoke intense dislike and serious contempt on the grounds of ethnic origin". Stand-in host, Leila McKinnon made an on-air apology on 13 September 2013.[22][23]

References

  1. ^ a b "TV AUSTRALIA - CLASS OF 74 to CYCLONE TRACY". Memorable TV. Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  2. ^ Chai, Paul (15 May 2006). "Sue Smith". Variety. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011.
  3. ^ Stephens, Tony (23 May 2006). "A trailblazer in current affairs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  4. ^ "CLASSIC TV GUIDES - Friday 25 March 1977 - SYDNEY". TelevisionAU. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Nine wins Sunday, as Jana watches her back". eBroadcast. 6 March 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  6. ^ Knox, David (8 December 2020). "Nine to stick with A Current Affair on Saturdays". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 7 December 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  7. ^ Knox, David (20 October 2008). "WIN launches ACA in Perth". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  8. ^ Kevin (12 June 2008). "Local ACA for Perth and Adelaide". Australian-Media.com.au. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Knox, David (25 November 2009). "WIN dumps local ACA format and returns to Tracy Grimshaw". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 28 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  10. ^ Meade, Amanda (19 March 2008). "A Current Affair 'must apologise'". The Australian. Archived from the original on 19 March 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  11. ^ Ricketson, Matthew (13 June 2008). "A Current Affair rapped over 'one-sided' report". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 3 July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  12. ^ "A Current Affair in breach of industry code: ACMA". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 March 2008. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  13. ^ "Investigation Report No. 1248" (PDF). Australian Communications and Media Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  14. ^ "Investigation Report No. 1882" (PDF). Australian Communications and Media Authority. 30 September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  15. ^ "Investigation Report No. 1779" (PDF). Australian Communications and Media Authority. 11 May 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  16. ^ "Investigation Report No. 1641" (PDF). Australian Communications and Media Authority. 24 April 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Investigation Report No. 1409" (PDF). Australian Communications and Media Authority. 10 December 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  18. ^ Turner, Graeme (April 1999). "Tabloidization, journalism and the possibility of critique". International Journal of Cultural Studies. 2 (1): 59–76. doi:10.1177/136787799900200104. ISSN 0004-9522. S2CID 145519792.
  19. ^ "Swim coach wins $320,000 damages". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 19 September 2006. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  20. ^ "A Current Affair forced to pay doctor $270K after 'botched boob job' report". news.com.au. AAP. 16 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  21. ^ a b Oberhardt, Mark (13 December 2011). "Developer Lev Mizikovsky faces court costs after losing defamation bid against A Current Affair". The Courier-Mail. Archived from the original on 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  22. ^ Sams, Christine (13 September 2013). "A Current Affair breached code with 'All-Asian Mall' story". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on 15 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  23. ^ "A Current Affair accused of racism after call for stories on 'cheap' Asian tradies". news.com.au. 3 March 2016. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.

External links