Who were the movers and shak­ers on the box this year? And who were the duds? Colin Vick­ery re­ports

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SE­LECT­ING the most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple on tele­vi­sion is a tricky busi­ness. There’s been heated dis­cus­sion among the Guide team as to who should be on and off our an­nual in­flu­en­tial list and who should be near the top, ranked some­where in the mid­dle, or rel­e­gated to the not-sohot list. There are stars who make the Top 20 — cov­er­ing the past 12 months — be­cause they’re in­te­gral to the suc­cess of big rat­ings hits. Oth­ers have wowed us with com­pelling per­for­mances.

Su­per tal­ents who topped the 2007 list — Chris Lil­ley, the Chaser boys, Jane Turner and Gina Ri­ley — don’t ap­pear be­cause they took time off to recharge the creative bat­ter­ies.

You can ar­gue about place­ment in the rank­ings, but you can’t deny the stars of Packed to the Rafters and Un­der­belly de­serve promi­nence on the list. Also, it’s time to ac­knowl­edge just how im­por­tant stars such as Si­mon Baker, An­thony LaPaglia, Jesse Spencer and Melissa Ge­orge have be­come on the in­ter­na­tional scene. 1 ERIK THOM­SON Packed to the Rafters Chan­nel 7 WHYHE’S HOT: Is Erik Thom­son our most un­der­rated lo­cal ac­tor? Af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of The Alice, Thom­son was forced to take a re­porter stint on Get­away to pay the bills. His deeply felt turn as the fa­ther of an autis­tic boy in movie The Black Bal­loon was a re­minder of how good an ac­tor he is. Dave Rafter in Packed to the Rafters was some­thing else— the role of a life­time. Thom­son told the pro­duc­ers early on that he wasn’t go­ing to play Dave as the stereo­typ­i­cal bum­bling dad— and he de­liv­ered in spades. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: An­other se­ries of Packed to the Rafters — and that’s good enough for us. 2 SI­MON BAKER The Men­tal­ist Chan­nel 9 Why he’s hot: Lo­cal boy makes good— big time. The for­mer star of E Street, Home and Away and Heart­break High re­lo­cated to the US and has been steadily build­ing a Hol­ly­wood ca­reer. The one-two punch of The Devil Wears Prada and the lead role in The Men­tal­ist, which made its de­but be­fore a whop­ping 17 mil­lion view­ers in the US, has ce­mented his stand­ing as one of the in­dus­try’s most ap­peal­ing ac­tors. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Baker is in de­mand. As well as The Men­tal­ist he’s linked to three movies— The Lodger, Not For­got­ten and Fred Schep­isi’s Last Man.

3 CAL­LAN MUL­VEY Un­der­belly, Chan­nel 9 Rush, Chan­nel 10 WHYHE’S HOT: 2008 was a great year for Cal­lan Mul­vey. First he was Mark Mo­ran in the gritty crime drama Un­der­belly and then Sgt Bren­dan Joshua in Rush. The two roles were vastly dif­fer­ent, but Mul­vey brought a must­watch in­ten­sity to both. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Rush moves to 8.30pm for its sec­ond se­ries. Chan­nel 10 hopes it will grab even bet­ter rat­ings. 4 RE­BECCA GIB­NEY Packed to the Rafters, Chan­nel 7 WHYSHE’S HOT: Re­becca Gib­ney is back with a vengeance. The role of Julie Rafter seems tai­lor-made for the fortysome­thing ac­tor who ra­di­ated beauty, warmth and charisma. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: More Julie, please. This lady’s on a roll. 5 JACK THOMP­SON Find My Fam­ily Chan­nel 7 WHYHE’S HOT: Jack Thomp­son isn’t on tele­vi­sion enough. When he starred in the orig­i­nal McLeod’s Daugh­ters, it was the high­est-rat­ing Aussie tele­movie of all time. Hol­ly­wood has mostly beck­oned since so it was great to see him back on the small screen with Find My Fam­ily— one of the high­est-rat­ing new se­ries of 2008. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Jack Thomp­son is an Aussie icon and can do what­ever he darn well pleases. 6 AN­DREW DEN­TON Enough Rope ABC WHYHE’S HOT: An­drew Den­ton the host and An­drew Den­ton the pro­ducer both shone in 2008. The Den­ton-pro­duced The Gruen Trans­fer was a huge hit. By the time he called it quits on Enough Rope he was widely re­garded as one of our best-ever in­ter­view­ers. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Den­ton’s com­pany Zapruder’s Other Films pro­duc­ing ABC show Project NEXT and Fox­tel’s satir­i­cal drama 30 Sec­onds. 7 GY­TON GRANT­LEY Un­der­belly Chan­nel 9 WHYHE’S HOT: Won a well-de­served AFI Award for men­ac­ing por­trayal of un­der­world killer Carl Wil­liams in Un­der­belly. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Stars along­side An­thony LaPaglia in Bal­ibo and with William McInnes and Ben Men­del­sohn in David Cae­sar’s Prime Mover. 8 11 14

ADAM HILLS MELISSA DOYLE JESSE SPENCER Spicks and Specks Sun­rise, The Zoo House M.D. ABC Chan­nel 7 Chan­nel 10 WHYHE’S HOT: Still the fun­ni­est guy on WHYSHE’S HOT: Mel has been a win­ner WHYHE’S HOT: Aussie ac­tors who take on tele­vi­sion and con­sid­ered one of its nicest on Sun­rise for years, but ce­mented her Hol­ly­wood are a dime a dozen. Aussie ac­tors blokes. That’s a po­tent com­bi­na­tion and one prime-time cre­den­tials with stun­ning rat­ings who ac­tu­ally make it big in Hol­ly­wood are a that keeps him im­mensely pop­u­lar with for The Zoo. Watch out Kochie, you’ve got much rarer breed. Spencer has turned a stint view­ers of all ages. com­pe­ti­tion. as Billy Kennedy in Neigh­bours into world­wide PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Is there a PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Rais­ing a young suc­cess as Dr Robert Chase on House M.D.

chance Hills is coast­ing on Spicks and fam­ily gives Doyle pre­cious lit­tle time to take PROSPECTS FOR 2009: He is signed to Specks? We reckon it’s time for the ABC to try on more TV projects at the mo­ment. House for three more years. him on new projects. 9 12 15


All Saints Without A Trace Chan­nel 7

City Homi­cide Chan­nel 9 WHYHE’S HOT: All Saints is the quiet

Chan­nel 7 WHYHE’S HOT: An­thony LaPaglia is a WHYHE’S HOT:

achiever of Aus­tralian drama and John He topped the rank­ings in stayer. His Without A Trace has notched Howard is the quiet achiever of All Saints.

2006 and came in at No.5 last year. No Thank seven sea­sons and nearly 150 episodes and He has kept this show at the top of the rat­ings

God You’re Here in 2008 but still a stand­out is still rat­ing strongly. The se­cret is the strong de­spite the de­par­tures of Erik Thom­son and con­vic­tion he brings to his por­trayal of the on cop drama City Homi­cide. Ge­orgie Parker. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: A new se­ries of FBI’s head of the Miss­ing Per­sons Unit, PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Seven has Jack Malone. TGYH, this time on Seven, as well as more an­nounced All Saints is set for a re­vamp with

City Homi­cide. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Stars as Roger more out­door action. East in the movie thriller Bal­ibo, plus more 13 16


Rove, Are You Smarter Than a Un­der­belly, Chan­nel 9 10

5th Grader, Chan­nel 10 Home and Away, Chan­nel 7 ROB SITCH The Hol­low­men WHYHE’S HOT: Rove looked like he was Rush, Chan­nel 10 ABC hav­ing a ball in 2008. He had a gen­uine WHYHE’S HOT: One show isn’t enough for WHYHE’S HOT: Part of the Work­ing Dog rap­port with the kids on Are You Smarter Than Rodger Corser. He had three shows on three team that de­liv­ered un­der­rated satire The a 5th Grader and was fun­nier and more net­works and was ter­rific in ev­ery­thing. He Hol­low­men. re­laxed on Rove. brought a solid de­cency to his por­trayal of cop PROSPECTS FOR 2009: A multi-mil­lionPROSPECTS FOR 2009: The Rove Law­son Blake in Rush. dol­lar deal with Seven for a new se­ries of va­ri­ety show will be back. He also re­mains PROSPECTS FOR 2009: A sec­ond se­ries Thank God You’re Here. keen to crack Amer­ica. of Rush. 17 MELISSA GE­ORGE In Treat­ment, Fox­tel Grey’s Anatomy, Chan­nel 7 Why she’s hot: Melissa Ge­orge has come a long way since she played An­gel on Home and Away. This year, she was riv­et­ing as ther­apy pa­tient Laura op­po­site Gabriel Byrne on In Treat­ment and is mak­ing head­lines as bi­sex­ual in­tern Sadie on Grey’s Anatomy. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Movies Stop­ping Power and Tri­an­gle and mak­ing out with lots of docs on Grey’s Anatomy. 18 NATALIE BASS­INGTH­WAIGHTE So You Think You Can Dance Chan­nel 10 Why she’s hot: The crit­ics were lined up to give the for­mer Neigh­bours star and Rogue Traders lead singer a bag­ging as host of SYTYCD be­fore the show had even started. Bad luck— she was ex­cel­lent in what was one of tele­vi­sion’s most chal­leng­ing host­ing roles and the show was a huge hit. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: A sec­ond se­ries of Dance and the release of her solo al­bum. 19 WAYNE HOPE Stupid, Stupid Man, Very Small Busi­ness, ABC WHYHE’S HOT: Wayne Hope has built a mem­o­rable gallery of losers on re­cent Aus­tralian TV come­dies— mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Carl Van Dyke in Stupid, Stupid Man, hus­band Terry O’Brien in The Li­brar­i­ans, and shonky busi­ness­man Don An­gel in Very Small Busi­ness. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Se­ries two of The Li­brar­i­ans. 20 SAM NEW­MAN The Footy Show Chan­nel 9 WHYHE’S HOT: Prostate can­cer, a bro­ken an­kle, the in­fa­mous man­nequin in­ci­dent, an­gry AFL women, be­ing dropped from the show, coun­selling— Sam New­man was up to his neck in it in 2008. And at the end of it all he was re-signed on a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar con­tract. Now that’s power for you. PROSPECTS FOR 2009: Hope­fully a quiet year— but don’t count on it. 1 JACKIE O Big Brother Chan­nel 10 Jackie O topped this list last year and she has done it again in 2008. Her stint as co-host of Big Brother fi­nally brought an end to that one-time rat­ings champ. The TV kiss of death con­tin­ues. 2 KENNY Kenny’s World Chan­nel 10 Kenny was a ter­rific movie. Kenny’s World was a naff se­ries. A great dis­ap­point­ment. 3 TREVOR MAR­MALADE The Footy Show Chan­nel 9 The Footy Show had a tough year, but the only head that rolled was Trevor Mar­malade’s. A strange de­ci­sion be­cause he wasn’t the prob­lem. Sure to bounce back. 4 JAMES KER­LEY Taken Out Chan­nel 10 James Ker­ley is a promis­ing up-and­comer. Pity his first prime-time host­ing role was this dat­ing-show turkey. 5 CHAR­LIE COX, WAR­REN BROWN, STEVE PIZ­ZATI Top Gear Aus­tralia, SBS A pale im­i­ta­tion of the UK se­ries hosted by Jeremy Clark­son, Richard Ham­mond and James May.


Adam Hills


Gy­ton Grant­ley


Melissa Ge­orge


An­thony LaPaglia

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