1996 in Australian television

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List of years in Australian television


  • Australian television celebrates its 40th birthday with celebrations lasting throughout the year. The actual birthday was on 16 September.
  • Jessica Rowe joins Ten News Sydney in January to co-anchor with Ron Wilson for the next nine years.
  • 1 January - To celebrate the start of the new year, ABC-TV debuts a series of new idents featuring people doing various activities using inspiration and fun. As they do so, they draw the ABC's famous worm logo. The logo then fades before the video fades to black and the words "it's your abc" appear.
  • 16 February - A brand new state-based news and currents affairs program titled Stateline premieres on ABC at 6:00pm and was shown every Friday evening. The show focus on issues
  • 19 February - Australia's favourite koala Blinky Bill returns to the ABC for a brand new series titled Blinky Bill's Extraordinary Excursion at 4:30pm. The series follows the adventures of Blinky and the gang who were lost while on an excursion and helping other animals in a situation while trying to find their way back to Greenpatch.
  • April - Constable Wayne Patterson, portrayed by Grant Bowler, is killed in a car crash on the Blue Heelers episode An Act of Random Violence. Bowler departed the series.
  • 8 May - The Animals of Farthing Wood, a British children's animated series based on the books by Colin Dann premieres on ABC at 5:00pm
  • June - Liz Hayes quits the Today Show after 11 years and joins the 60 Minutes team, Tracy Grimshaw replaces Hayes on Today to co-host for the next nine years before leading up to A Current Affair from 2006 onwards.
  • 15 July - Wheel Of Fortune John Burgess is sacked as host. Former Sale of the Century quizmaster, Tony Barber begins hosting for an ill-fated run which lasts for the remainder of the year. WOF relocates from Adelaide to Sydney during this time.
  • 18 July - Australian long running children's television series Play School celebrates its 30th birthday with a one hour special on ABC at 4:00pm.
  • August - After a stand-off over who would air the show first with Seven owning the rights to the first season and Nine the subsequent seasons despite Seven not renewing the Warner Bros. output deal,[1] the first season of Friends screens on the Seven Network, almost two years after it premiered in the United States. Season two begins on the Nine Network in December.
  • 19 September - 1.9 million watch Kerri-Anne Kennerley and treasurer Peter Costello dancing the Macarena on the Midday Show.
  • 1 December - Grant Piro presents the final episode of Couch Potato for 1996 on ABC with reruns of the Australian children's educational TV series Lift Off and the American children's mystery TV series Ghostwriter. This also marks his very last day as presenter of the series since 1991.

New channels[edit]




Program Channel Debut date
United Kingdom Goggle-Eyes ABC 17 January
United States Cro ABC 4 February
United Kingdom The Animals of Farthing Wood ABC 8 May
Canada Madison ABC 17 May
United States Aaahh!!! Real Monsters ABC 29 May
Japan Sailor Moon Seven Network 10 June
United States The Secret Life of Toys ABC 1 July
France Insektors ABC 1 July
United States Friends[1] Seven Network 4 August
France Mot ABC 5 August
United Kingdom William's Wish Wellingtons ABC 22 October
United States Bump in the Night ABC 5 November
France United States Iznogoud Seven Network 7 December
United States Santo Bugito ABC 19 December
United States Dexter's Laboratory Seven Network 28 December
United States Earthworm Jim Network Ten 1996
United States Fudge Network Ten 1996
United Kingdom Just William ABC 1996
United Kingdom Elidor ABC 1996

Changes to network affiliation[edit]

This is a list of programs which made their premiere on an Australian television network that had previously premiered on another Australian television network. The networks involved in the switch of allegiances are predominantly both free-to-air networks or both subscription television networks. Programs that have their free-to-air/subscription television premiere, after previously premiering on the opposite platform (free-to air to subscription/subscription to free-to air) are not included. In some cases, programs may still air on the original television network. This occurs predominantly with programs shared between subscription television networks.


Program New network(s) Previous network(s) Date
United Kingdom Count Duckula Network Ten ABC 22 August
United States Friends [6] Nine Network Seven Network 9 December

Subscription premieres[edit]

This is a list of programs which made their premiere on Australian subscription television that had previously premiered on Australian free-to-air television. Programs may still air on the original free-to-air television network.


Program Subscription network Free-to-air network Date
United States Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous[7] TV1 [citation needed] 4 November


Seven Network

Nine Network

Network Ten

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Channel Debut
10 December G.P. ABC 1989


  1. ^ a b Browne, Rachel (3 August 1996). "Friends for life". The Sun-Herald (Sydney, Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 9. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Elder, Bruce (2 June 1996). "Disney to the rescue". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). p. 1. Retrieved 21 December 2009. The Disney Channel, which kicks off with the TV premiere of Aladdin at 6.30 pm on Saturday, June 8 
  3. ^ Eliezer, Christie (25 May 1996). "Oz to get 2nd music TV channel.". Billboard 108 (21): 64. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 21 December 2009. Australia's second 24-hour music TV channel is set to roll out June 14. 
  4. ^ Freeman, Jane; Andrew Conway (30 June 1996). "The Joke Stops Here". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). p. 2. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Browne, Rachel (4 August 1996). "Sex On TV". The Sun-Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Mitchell, Lisa (28 November 1996). "Summer in the sitting room". The Age (Melbourne, Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 5. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 
  7. ^ BROWNE, RACHEL (12 October 1996). "In a bit of a stew". The Sun-Herald (Sydney, Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 100. Retrieved 27 December 2009.