Today Tonight


Today Tonight

Infobox Television
show_name = Today Tonight


caption = "Today Tonight" title card
show_name_2 =
genre = Current affairs
creator =
director =
creative_director =
developer =
presenter = Matthew White (East Coast)
Rosanna Mangiarelli (South Australia)
Monika Kos (Western Australia)
starring =
voices =
narrated =
theme_music_composer =
opentheme =
endtheme =
composer =
country = AUS
language = English
num_seasons = 13
num_episodes =
list_episodes =
executive_producer =
producer =
supervising_producer =
asst_producer =
co-producer =
editor =
story_editor =
location =
cinematography =
camera =
runtime = 23 minutes
network = Seven Network
picture_format = 576i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
audio_format =
first_run =
first_aired = 1995
last_aired = present
preceded_by = "Real Life" (1992 – 1994)
followed_by =
related =
website = http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/
imdb_id = 0824229
tv_com_id = 33626

"Today Tonight" is an Australian tabloid current affairs program, produced by the Seven Network and shown weeknightly at nowrap|6.30 pm in direct competition with rival Nine Network program "A Current Affair".

There are three different editions of the program: an 'East Coast' edition presented by Matthew White seen in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, a South Australian edition presented by Rosanna Mangiarelli, and a Western Australian edition presented by Monika Kos.

History

"Today Tonight" was a program first aired in Brisbane in the late 1970s on the Nine Network, [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clpnhYupMu8 YouTube - QTQ 9 Today Tonight Opener 1983 ] ] . The current series initially began as "Real Life", hosted by Stan Grant. This program was replaced by local editions of a new program, "Today Tonight" at the beginning of 1995 in each of the main metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth).

East Coast

. Over summer it was usual for "Today Tonight" to present a summer edition, which consisted of a single edition broadcast across the entire east coast.

In 1996, Singer collapsed on-air and was rushed to hospital. [cite web
last = Warren | first = Agnes
title = The Media Report Transcript
publisher = ABC Radio National
date = 1996-05-16
url = http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/mediarpt/mstories/mr160501.htm
accessdate = 2007-01-12
] Singer subsequently took leave for a number of months and was replaced on-air by Naomi Robson. Singer returned in late 1996 but was replaced once again by Robson in January 1997. [cite news
last = Watkins | first = Sian
title = Jill Singer's departure described as amicable
publisher = The Age
page = 4
date = 1997-01-13
] .

The Sydney program was presented by a myriad of presenters from 1995 until 2001. Neil Mercer initially fronted the Sydney edition, later succeeded by Helen Wellings (1996) [cite news
last = Freeman | first = Jane
title = Seven '96 news attack
work = Sydney Morning Herald
page = 7
date = 1996-01-08
] [cite news
last = Farmer | first = Monique
title = Wellings steps down as Today Tonight host
work = Sydney Morning Herald
page = 3
date = 1996-12-20
] and Peter Luck (1997-1998) [cite news
last = Browne | first = Rachel
title = Peter to try his luck against old foe Martin
work = Sun Herald
page = 3
date = 1996-12-22
] Stan Grant, ex-host of "Today Tonight"-predecessor "Real Life", returned in 1999 following the departure of Peter Luck. [cite news
title = Granted, Seven's down on its luck
work = Daily Telegraph
page = 3
date = 1999-01-19
] Grant was sacked by the Seven Network in 2000 after it was exposed he was having an affair with another then Seven Network personality, Tracey Holmes, [cite web
last = Bormann | first = Trevor
title = Private affair ends in public sacking for Stan Grant
work = ABC Radio
publisher = The World Today
date = 2000-08-17
url = http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/stories/s164622.htm
accessdate = 2007-01-13
] and was subsequently replaced by Melissa Doyle. When Doyle went on maternity leave in 2001, the Melbourne edition of "Today Tonight" hosted by Robson was broadcast into Sydney. This was intended to last only 12 weeks, but the Melbourne-presented version rated higher in Sydney as the local version. [cite news
last = Miller | first = Kylie
title = Networking
work = The Age
page = 7
date = 2002-01-31
] This led to Seven Network executives axing the Sydney edition in favour of an East Coast Edition. Doyle returned at the end of 2002 to present the summer edition. [cite news
last = Torpy | first = Kathryn
title = Doyle can sleep in
work = The Courier-Mail
page = 48
date = 2002-10-16
]

The Brisbane edition of "Today Tonight" was fronted by three different presenters in the course of its 7-8 year run, with Lexy Hamilton Smith and Michelle Reiken presenting after Tucker. On December 9 2002, Michelle Reiken went on maternity leave over the summer non-ratings period. During this time, the Melbourne/Sydney edition was broadcast into Brisbane. When the 2003 ratings period commenced, Seven Brisbane continued to air the Melbourne/Sydney edition instead of returning to a local version with an alternate presenter. Although the Seven Network announced that a local edition would return when Reiken returned from maternity leave, this never happened. In May 2003, Seven Brisbane officially axed its local version. [cite news
last = Chalmers | first = Emma
title = Seven dumps local show and host
work = The Courier-Mail
page = 3
date = 2003-04-01
]

Until late 2006, the east coast edition of "Today Tonight" continued to be hosted by Naomi Robson. In November 2006, Robson announced she would be leaving "Today Tonight" to pursue other projects. She presented her last show on December 1. 2006. [cite news
first = Daniel | last = Ziffer
title = Naomi Robson signs off after a year to forget
url = http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/11/27/1164476136524.html
date = 2006-11-28
accessdate = 2006-11-28
work = The Age
] According to news reports on January 27 and 28, 2007, Anna Coren was appointed Robson's permanent replacement after six weeks of filling in as the show's summer host as part of the program's major revamp following the production shifted from Melbourne to the Seven Network's Martin Place studios. [cite web
title=End of a casual affair
publisher=News Limited
url=http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,21122313-5006002,00.html
] Earlier reports suggested the network had been seeking "A Current Affair" host Tracy Grimshaw for the role. [cite news

last = Connolly | first = Ellen
title = Grimshaw tipped for Today Tonight chair
work = News.com.au
date = 2006-12-17
url = http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20941338-2,00.html
accessdate = 2007-01-12
]

On 28 September 2008, Anna Coren resigned as presenter of "Today Tonight" to pursue a career at CNN in Hong Kong [cite news

last = Reines | first = Ros
title = Anna Coren quits Seven for Hong Kong
work = The Sunday Telegraph
date = 2008-09-28
url = http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24411978-5009160,00.html
accessdate = 2008-09-28
] . Her replacement was announced on 30 September 2008 to be Matthew White. Anna Coren signed off from the Seven Network on 10 October, 2008. Coren was initially to remain host of Today Tonight until December 2008, but was sacked from the role in October with Matthew White taking the seat on a permanent basis from October 13, 2008.

Currently, Samantha Armytage is the substitute anchor and summer presenter for the program. The East Coast edition is broadcast from Seven's Martin Place studios in Sydney.

Today Tonight East Coast does not air in Wide Bay, Mackay, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Tamworth or Taree.

outh Australia

Since the program's inception in South Australia in 1995, Leigh McClusky fronted the South Australian edition of the program, only taking leave over summer and to give birth to her son in 2002 (John Riddell filled-in [cite news
last = Yeaman | first = Simon
title = Ready for pregnant pause
publisher = The Advertiser
date = 2002-07-19
page = 49
] ) and to have a daughter in 2006 (Rosanna Mangiarelli filled in [cite news
author = Devlin, Rebekah
coauthors = Caruso, Carla, Novak, Lauren, Jellicoe, Naomi
title = Leigh's baby joy
publisher = The Advertiser
date = 2006-05-30
page = 21
] ), until 2007. When the program first started it rated 100,000 behind its competitor, "A Current Affair", although ratings steadily increased under McClusky. In 2001, "Today Tonight" began outrating "A Current Affair" in what would become a 4 year winning streak. [cite news
last = Yeaman | first = Simon
title = Channel 7 40 years: Hard-line tactics win in current affairs war
publisher = The Advertiser
date = 2005-07-23
page = L.06
]

Leigh announced on 6 February 2007 that she would be leaving Today Tonight Adelaide to have twins, but unlike previous occasions, she will not return. She presented her last show on 17 August 2007. Rosanna Mangiarelli began as anchor on Monday 20 August 2007 after several years as substitute anchor.cite web
title = Leigh leaves TT on a high
work = Adelaide Now
date = 2007-07-06
url = http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,22030290-5012985,00.html
accessdate = 2007-07-09
]

On 1 October 2007, the Adelaide edition of the program began airing in regional South Australia after WIN Television changed their affiliation in the state from the Nine Network to the Seven Network.

Western Australia

The Western Australian edition of "Today Tonight" was originally hosted by Yvette Mooney. In 1997, Mooney resigned from her presenting role, [cite news
last = Brown | First - Pam
title = Things look up for a moody Madson
work = The West Australian
page = 7
date = 1997-07-25
] and was replaced by Monika Kos.

Achievement

Today Tonight nationally was the last program to win the Logie for Most Popular Public Affairs Program before that award was discontinued.

The Adelaide edition has also won the ratings in Adelaide for now over 250 consecutive weeks. This achievement was announced to coincide with the departure of host Leigh McClusky

Criticism

Like "A Current Affair", "Today Tonight" is notorious for its sensationalist reporting, and is an example of tabloid television where stories rotate around sensationalised community issues i.e. diet fads, miracle cures, welfare cheats, shonky builders, negligent doctors etc. For this reason the program is constantly under criticism and ridicule, especially by satirical groups such as The Chaser. The show has also been known to have complaints from the public to the Australian Communications and Media Authority regarding misrepresentation of facts leading to investigations of such claims [http://www.smokinghat.com.au/bush/1358.pdf] . The show is sometimes sarcastically referred to by "Media Watch" and The Chaser as "Barcelona Tonight", a sarcastic reference to the Christopher Skase Controversy.

Christopher Skase controversy

ABC TV's "Media Watch" program revealed that "Today Tonight", on their 12 November 1996 broadcast, had fabricated much of a report about disgraced Australian businessman Christopher Skase. "Today Tonight" sent producer Chris Adams and reporter David "Sluggo" Richardson, along with a camera crew, to pursue Skase who was claiming that his health prevented him from being tried. Richardson alleged that because the "Today Tonight" crew's videos showed that Skase was in good health, Skase used his connections to the Majorcan authorities in order to establish police roadblocks to seize the "Today Tonight" crew's videotapes. The only support for these claims was a video of Dave Richardson driving past police, exclaiming "Roadblocks! Let's get out of here". "Media Watch" proved, through examining the broadcast report, that this footage was in fact shot in Barcelona, not on the island of Majorca. The "police" that Richardson was passing were in fact Spanish urban guards, who use roadblocks to control traffic flow in the centre of the city. [cite web
title = Sluggo in Baghdad Tonight
work = Media Watch
date = 2003-03-25
url = http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s820500.htm
accessdate = 2007-01-12
]

Promoting racist attitudes

On 8 May 2007, Today Tonight reported about a welfare cheat, Dat Van Vu; though using the generalised title "Vietnamese Sting" and using the opposed Vietnamese flag, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam flag. Both resulted in anger amongst the Australian Vietnamese community. [cite news
last = Tamhane | first = Mark
title = A Sting in the Tale
work = Media Watch
date = 2007-05-16
url = http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1935709.htm
accessdate = 2007-06-09
]

Dole Army hoax

On 4 February 2002, "Today Tonight" and their main rival "A Current Affair" both broadcast stories about a so-called "Dole Army" operating from Melbourne's subterranean stormwater drains, and recruiting for an organised effort to defraud the Australian government of unemployment benefits. The next day, an anarchist group claimed they had sold both programs a hoax story, and due to lack of research and a desire to vilify the unemployed, both networks had fallen for the elaborate prank. [cite news
last = Tamhane | first = Mark
title = Group owns up to media hoax
work = Lateline
date = 2002-02-05
url = http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/stories/s474408.htm
accessdate = 2007-01-12
]

The "Serial Single Mum" controversy

On 18 July 2005, "Today Tonight" screened a report by David Richardson about "Australia's Serial Single Mum". The report was about a single mother named "Mary-Anne", a private citizen who lives in suburban Sydney. The program asserted that Mary-Anne "had five children to five different men and pocketed tens of thousands in welfare" from Centrelink. It was later revealed by "Media Watch" that Mary-Anne was working full-time and had the children to four fathers not five."Media Watch" described the exchange between Richardson and Mary-Anne as an "appalling attack", and "Another offensive beat up from Dave 'Sluggo' Richardson". [cite web
title = Sluggo takes the high moral ground, darling
work = Media Watch
date = 2005-07-25
url = http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1421583.htm
accessdate = 2007-01-12
]

Contempt of court allegations

In 2004, "Today Tonight" picked up on a story published in Melbourne's "Sunday Herald Sun" about a boy allegedly "divorcing" his mother. "Today Tonight"'s story was subsequently discussed on Seven's breakfast television program "Sunrise" program. In 2005, journalists, editors and producers from all three media outlets were taken to the Sydney Magistrates' Court for breaching the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 for allegedly naming the child in question. Host Naomi Robson was found not guilty of contempt of court, as the magistrate found she did not have editorial control over the story, but producers of the show were fined. [cite news
last = Burrow | first = Vanessa
title = Court fines journalists
work = The Age
date = 2006-05-17
url = http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/05/17/1147545379187.html
accessdate = 2007-01-10
] [cite web
title = Journos divorced from the courts
work = Media Watch
date = 2005-10-03
url = http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1473150.htm
accessdate = 2007-01-12
]

The "Wa-Wa" controversy

On 13 September 2006, Naomi Robson and a "Today Tonight" crew were detained by Indonesian authorities in Papua for working as journalists despite entering the country on tourist visas. [cite news
last = Hawthorne | first = Maria
title = Robson detained in Indonesia
work = News.com.au
date = 2006-09-13
accessdate = 2006-09-15
]

The Seven Network claimed that its team was sent to the region to do a story on Wa-Wa, a young boy who was apparently in danger of being ritually killed by his tribe, the Korowai (according to a "60 Minutes" story on the Nine Network some months earlier). Seven also claimed that their rivals at Nine had sabotaged their story and their mission to "rescue" Wa-Wa from his tribe (who are believed to practise cannibalism), by informing the Indonesian authorities of their visa arrangements. Nine refuted Seven's claims and threatened legal action. Seven alleges that a Nine reporter offered about $100,000 to a guide not to help Seven with their story. Seven's director of news and current affairs, Peter Meakin said "There is evidence to support the claims that, in particular, this man Cornelius was offered $100,000 not to rescue the boy." "I think the phrase was 'name your own price'", he said. [cite news
title = Robson may return to Papua
url = http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/09/15/1157827137231.html
publisher = The Age
date = 2006-09-15
accessdate = 2006-09-15
]

Defamation of Mark McGaw

On 2 November 2006 the Supreme Court of New South Wales awarded former "Gladiator" and rugby league star Mark McGaw $385,000 for a defamatory story "Today Tonight" broadcast in June 2003. The Supreme Court jury found that the story made two defamatory imputations: that McGaw was "a man of dangerous domestic violence", and that he "bashed his lover so severely that she was hospitalised with horrific injuries". [cite news
title = Today Tonight hammered for $385,000
url = http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/11/02/1162339960730.html
publisher = The Sydney Morning Herald
date = 2006-11-02
accessdate = 2006-11-02
]

Chain stunt

On 20 February 2007, Today Tonight led with a story about an 84-year-old nursing home resident who was fighting attempts to evict her. The story featured footage of her chained up in her room, and the reporter, Nicolas Boot, said she was "refusing to budge, chaining herself to her room".cite news
author= Staff writer
title= Today Tonight reporter suspended over chain stunt
url= http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21266841-2,00.html
work= News.com.au
publisher= News Limited
date= 2007-02-22
accessdate= 2007-02-22
language= English

] cite news
first= Jano
last= Gibson
title= Truth the missing link in chain stunt
url= http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/02/22/1171733911238.html
work= smh.com.au
publisher= Fairfax
date= 2007-02-22
accessdate= 2007-02-22
language= English
]

In response to the airing of that story, the following day Federal Government officials visited the nursing home. According to a spokesman for the Minister for Ageing, they were told by the resident that the chains had been brought along by the crew, and the process of chaining her up had been instigated by the program.

In response to this incident, host Anna Coren was forced to read an apology to viewers on 21 February, and announced that Nicolas Boot had been stood down pending an internal investigation. The following day, Seven released a statement indicating Boot had left his employment with the Seven Network.cite news
first= Michael
last= Gadd
title= Chain TV reporter gets the boot
url= http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21275730-2,00.html
work= News.com.au
publisher= News Limited
date= 2007-02-23
accessdate= 2007-02-23
language= English
] However, no announcement was made as to any actions taken against off-camera staff, such as producers, over this incident, which Seven Head of News and Current Affairs Peter Meakin described as "one of the more embarrassing" incidents which he has had to deal with.

Mercedes Corby deception

On 14 March 2007, "Today Tonight" host Anna Coren admitted hiring a private investigator who had lied about being an official to set up Mercedes Corby, sister of convicted drug trafficker Schapelle Corby. [cite news
title=Today Tonight admits private eye lied to Corby
url= http://www.news.com.au/story/0,4057,21377895-2,00.html
work= News.com.au
publisher= News Limited
date= 2007-03-12
language= English
]

References

External links

* Official network websites
** [http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/ East coast edition]
** [http://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au Adelaide edition]
** [http://www.7perth.com.au/view/today-tonight Perth edition]
*
* [http://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au/nfsa/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;holdingType=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A324521;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10 Today Tonight at the National Film and Sound Archive]


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