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Nine banking on laughter

LAUGHTER is emerging as Channel Nine’s key weapon in the battle for the prime time market share in 2001.

Building on the success of Friends and Spin City, Channel Nine is introducing the quirky US comedy Malcolm in the Middle and Flatchat, a new Australian sitcom with Jean Kitson, to keep the viewers glued to Channel Nine.

With the February 10 deadline for the start of the ratings season, Channel Nine has rolled out a number of glossy, big budget US dramas and feature films to entice viewers to choose Nine in 2001.

Unlike Channel Nine in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Channel Nine in Perth is independently owned and remains an affiliate of the Nine Network which gives the station more scope to pursue local productions such as the internationally recognised Postcards. The WA-produced Postcards has been revised for 2001 for the new 7pm timeslot on Sunday nights, said Channel Nine promotions supervisor Rob Pedretti.

“Postcards needed a new look to address the new market, we’ve got a new opener and two new presenters,” he said.

In response to viewer demand, Postcards will focus more heavily on travel in 2001 and for the first time the program will feature overseas destinations.

“It’s not Getaway though, there won’t be an international destination every week, we’ll only go international if there is a local reason” Mr Pendretti said.

In their first international segment Postcards will look at a successful Perth travel company operating in Bali.

A new feature for Postcards in 2001 will be Hot Deals, where for the first time the program will publish the cost of special travel deals for their viewers.

“From now on we can pass on great deals we find out about while we’re travelling around,” Mr Pedretti said.

2001 will also see the Australian version of Survivor and the introduction of a new reality TV series, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

This unusual program revolves around an unsuspecting contestant, chosen by friends or a relative, who is accosted in the street and told that in four hours they are hosting a dinner party for their favourite celebrity.

The program follows the frantic preparations for the perfect dinner party with the help of some hospitality professionals.

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