I am really concerned about the state of children’s and family TV in Australia. I know that ABC2 and several of the stations on Foxtel like Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have some shows appropriate for kids, but not everyone has access to Foxtel (just 20% of the Australian population), while there is just one hour a day devoted to kid friendly programming. To prove my point, let’s look at what the commercial free to air channels are showing tomorrow.

Channel 7

At 3.30pm 7 are showing All For Kids, a show for preschoolers, while at 4pm they are screening Go-Go-Stop, a game show for kids. That’s it! In the entire 24 hours they can only dedicate 1 hour of programming to kids, and half an hour of that is dedicated to pre-schoolers.

Channel 9

At 3.30 they have The Kingdom Of Paramithi, a show by the Wiggles, so I assume it’s aimed at pre-schoolers. At 4pm they are showing The Shak, which is a trendy show that tries to be a mixture between The Curiosity Show and Wonder World, but is pretty lame in comparison in my opinion. That’s it, there is nothing else!

Channel 10

Ummm… errr… I suppose re-runs of The Simpsons at 6pm could be considered kids friendly, although the way 10 edit and cut bits out of the Simpsons re-runs make them unwatchable.

Then again I am being a little unfair on 10 as they usually show kids shows before school. Things are different on Monday as they are showing the golf. According to Tuesday’s TV Guide they will be showing Totally Wild at 7.30am. At 8am they show Toasted TV, which is just half an hour of cartoons, while at 8.30 there is Puzzle Play, a preschooler’s show.

Apparently the commercial channels can only devote an hour to an hour and a half of programming that is suitable for kids. This is so different to the way things were when I was growing up. Back then Channel 7 would show Agro’s Cartoon Connection before school, which was great not only because we got to see great cartoons, but Agro’s antics were always very amusing. Nowdays 7 is showing Sunrise, which is meant to be a morning news show but is lamely hosted by the annoying David Koche.

I also remember watching the preschool friendly shows on 7, particularly Romper Room. I was always so happy when Miss Helena would see me behind the magic mirror, but now in this timeslot is the Morning Show, which is just one big infomercial. Fat Cat was also a big part of 7s preschooler programming but he was sacked twenty years ago and is now a stripper somewhere.

After school 7 used to show more cartoons as well as shows like Shirl’s Neighbourhood, featuring Graham ‘Shirley’ Straughan, Norm the Kangaroo and Claude the Crow. 7 also used to show the Mouse Factory, which was a show full of Disney cartoons. I believe that Animals Animals Animals, a show about animals (funnily enough), also screened on 7 after school.

I cannot remember channel 9 having any programming for kids before school but at 9am they had Here’s Humphrey. In fact from the late 60s until last year Humphrey was a part of channel 9, but it seems that the pantsless fun loving bear is now without a job.

After school we would watch Come On Kids on 9 with Winky Dink or even the short lived Ossie Ostrich Video Show. However 9 was always the home of Looney Tunes after school. Even in the 90s when Sophie Lee and Kate Fisher would seductively introduce Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the Roadrunner Looney Tunes were a popular part of channel 9s after school programming.

9 was also the home of The Curiosity Show for over twenty years, where two very untrendy scientist nerds would present science experiments in an entertaining and fun way. It was one of the greatest Australian TV shows ever made and it’s a shame that there is nothing as good on nowadays.

Channel 10 used to have Wonder World after school. This was a current affairs show aimed at kids and again was one of the greatest Aussie TV shows of all time. It was hosted by Simon Townshend and had Jonathon Coleman as one of the reporters.

The sad thing is that I believe tht=at the majority of TV executives today are my age and would have watched these shows. As I said earlier they do not care about entertaining or educating children, all they care about is selling advertising or making shows as cheap as possible. I really wonder if today’s kids will look back at their childhood and the TV and feel the same sense of nostalgia as us Generation X’s. I wonder also if that free to air Family Channel that was first mentioned by Paul Keating in the early 90s and was again suggested by Kevin Rudd last year will ever become a reality. Back when Keating first mentioned it people said that a family channel was not needed but I think that now it is needed more than ever.

  1. […] Kid Friendly Australian TV […]

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