A Current Affair

A Current Affair
A Current Affair
ACA Opener.jpg
A Current Affair title card 2009.
Also known as ACA
Genre Current affairs
Presented by Tracy Grimshaw
Country of origin Australia
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7 (1971–78)
23 (1988–2011)
Executive producer(s) Grant Williams
Location(s) National:
(18 January 1988 – 13 June 2008)
(16 June 2008 – )
(2002 and 27 October 2008 – 27 November 2009),
(20 October 2008 – 27 November 2009)
Running time 25 minutes
Original channel Nine Network
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run 22 November 1971 – 28 April 1978
18 January 1988 – present
External links

A Current Affair (or ACA) is an Australian current affairs program, broadcast weeknights on the Nine Network.

The program is presented by Tracy Grimshaw. Until 2009, Louise Momber presented the Perth version and Kate Collins presented the Adelaide edition.




A Current Affair was first broadcast on 22 November 1971, with Mike Willesee, screening week nights at 7:00 pm, and was broadcast for GTV-9. For part of its early run, the comedian and actor Paul Hogan had a comic social commentary segment. Under Willesee, ACA was a Transmedia production for the Nine Network.[1]

When Willesee left Nine in 1974 to move to the rival 0–10 Network, journalist Mike Minehan took over presenting ACA. Other presenters included Sue Smith, Kevin Sanders and Michael Schildberger.[1][2][3][4]

The original A Current Affair was cancelled on 28 April 1978, followed by strong competitions in the 7:00 pm timeslot from Willesee at Seven on Seven Network and Graham Kennedy's Blankety Blanks on the 0–10 Network.

In 1984, Willesee returned to the Nine Network to revive the format in a series titled Willesee, screening Monday to Thursday nights at 9:30 pm. The following year, Willesee moved to the earlier 6:30 pm timeslot and extended to five nights a week, running until 1988, when Willesee's production company, Transmedia, sold the rights to the program to the Nine Network.

1988 revival

When Willesee left the presenting role, former 60 Minutes presenter Jana Wendt took over on 18 January 1988 and the show once again became A Current Affair. This was the same week the Seven Network's soap opera Home and Away was introduced.

The Seven Network introduced direct competition with Real Life, which later became Today Tonight. Jana Wendt left the program in November 1992, unhappy with an ACA story showing topless women.[5]

In 1993, original ACA presenter Mike Willesee took over for the whole year. In February 1994, Ray Martin took over. During Martin's tenure, further issues arose regarding the mix between tabloid and serious journalism.[citation needed] Martin signed off at the end of November 1998.

After being a reporter for the program for many years, Mike Munro took over the presenting role at the end of 1998 as part of a major revamp for ACA.[citation needed] When Mike Munro was axed from the program in 2002, he returned to This Is Your Life, 60 Minutes, and later National Nine News in Sydney.

After Mike Munro's departure, Ray Martin returned in February 2003, and signed off again at the start of December 2005. During the 2005/2006 holiday period, the Nine Network announced that ACA was to be rested for four weeks to enable a major revamp of the production to take place. It had seen its ratings decline[citation needed] for most of 2005 against its rival, Seven's Today Tonight. On 30 January 2006, two weeks after the program's return, ACA was re-launched with new presenter Tracy Grimshaw. ACA's ratings increased in 2007, but fell again in 2008, placing it behind those of Today Tonight.[citation needed]

From 16 June 2008, ACA officially moved to GTV-9 studios with presenter Tracy Grimshaw returning to Melbourne. For the week prior to Grimshaw's move, Eddie McGuire filled in as presenter, also from Melbourne. ACA is still often presented from TCN-9 when Grimshaw is in Sydney, or if Leila McKinnon is filling in as presenter. For several months before the official move, ACA was often presented by Grimshaw from both Melbourne and Sydney.

State editions

Launching in 1991, QTQ-9 in Brisbane produced a local version of the program, titled Extra. It carried local stories including the lead up to its NRL Grand Finals. Despite its eighteen long years of popularity and ratings success, the local current affairs program was axed, due to a major schedule clean up for making space for Nine's now-scrapped one hour current affairs program, This Afternoon, presented by Andrew Daddo, Katrina Blowers and Mark Ferguson from 4:30pm weekdays starting the following Monday after its final ever broadcast. The decision was apart of a push to nationalise lead-in content for the network’s struggling news bulletins. The game show Hot Seat was moved to replace Extra at 5.30 pm.

In 2002, NWS-9 in Adelaide produced a local version of the program presented by weekend news presenter Georgina McGuinness. It carried national stories, but featured more local stories including the lead up to the 2002 AFL Grand Final. The Adelaide edition was short lived due to the very heavy competition of the Seven Network Adelaide's Today Tonight.

In January 2008, WIN Corporation announced that a new local version of ACA would be produced in Western Australia to replace the east coast version presented by Tracy Grimshaw. The first state based edition since Adelaide in 2002, the program's initial presenter, former newsreader Sonia Vinci, resigned prior to the show's commencement and was replaced by Louise Momber. The program was launched on 20 October 2008. A week later on 27 October, WIN launched an Adelaide version of the show on Adelaide, with Adelaide's National Nine News reporter Kate Collins presenting.[6] Both versions were short-lived — on 30 November 2009, WIN announced that Perth and Adelaide would return to the national format.[7]


Like its main rival broadcast on the Seven Network, Today Tonight, A Current Affair is often considered by media critics and the public at large to use sensationalist journalism – as depicted in the parody television show Frontline – and to deliberately present advertising as editorial content, as previously exposed on the ABC program Media Watch.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Paxton controversy

In 1996, the show reported on the Paxton family from the impoverished Melbourne suburb of St Albans. The family were told that the show was about helping the family members to get jobs, but the version that aired claimed that the family were "dole bludgers" refusing reasonable offers of employment. After the story aired, the family received death threats.[16]

Greg Hodge defamation

In September 2006 ACA was ordered to pay over $320,000 to former Australian swimming coach Greg Hodge in relation to indefensible defamatory allegations made in a 2003 story relating to Hodge's conduct towards a former swim student.[17]

Peter Anthony Haertsch defamation

In March 2010 ACA was found to have defamed acclaimed plastic surgeon Peter Anthony Haertsch in allegations aired in a 2008 report about a Gold Coast woman's breast enlargement procedure, and ordered to pay $268,000 damages.[18]


Overall in the 2008 Australian TV ratings, ACA achieved 1,124,000 viewers, 250,000 viewers behind the Seven Network's Today Tonight, which achieved 1,374,000 viewers.[citation needed]



Leila McKinnon is the main fill-in presenter when Grimshaw is on leave. Today presenter Karl Stefanovic, Weekend Today presenter Cameron Williams, Today sports presenter Ben Fordham and 60 Minutes correspondent Michael Usher have also filled in for Grimshaw in recent times.

Brisbane (as Extra)

In 2009, Extra was axed with the Nine Network investing money into other areas within the network. All Extra reporters were spread across the network in other reporting capacities from A Current Affair to Nine News.



Michael Smyth was a fill-in presenter for Kate Collins



  • 2008–2009 – Louise Momber

Substitute presenter was Ebbeny Faranda.


  • Alison Piotrowski
  • Chris Allen
  • Emily Barker
  • Simon Bouda
  • Nick Coe
  • Kate Donnison
  • Nick Etchells
  • Howard Gipps
  • Brady Halls
  • Martine Alpins
  • Martin King
  • Kirstine Lumb
  • Ben McCormack
  • Leila McKinnon
  • Elise Mooney
  • Damian Murphy
  • Jodie Noyce
  • Sarah Stewart
  • Tom Steinfort
  • Amanda Paterson


  • October 1971 – Mike Willesee launches ACA.
  • May 1974 – Mike Minehan takes over. Later Sue Smith, Kevin Sanders, Michael Schildberger presented ACA.
  • April 1978 – ACA's first cancellation.
  • February 1984 – ACA relaunches, titled Willesee.
  • July 1986 – ACA's second cancellation (known as Willesee at the time).
  • January 1988 – Nine revives ACA with Jana Wendt.
  • November 1992 – Jana Wendt quits as presenter
  • February 1993 – Mike Willesee revived as presenter, stays for the whole year
  • February 1994 – Ray Martin takes over as presenter, a new set in introduced.
  • November 1998 – Ray Martin leaves the program.
  • December 1998 – Mike Munro as presenter. Revamped format, set and music.
  • January 2003 – Ray Martin returns as presenter.
  • December 2005 – Ray Martin leaves again. ACA off-air over summer.
  • January 2006 – Tracy Grimshaw moves from Today and becomes presenter of ACA. The whole program relaunched.
  • June 2008 – East Coast version moves from Sydney to Melbourne.
  • October 2008 – During the Nine News major revamp, Adelaide and Perth launch separate versions.
  • June 2009 – Nine axes Extra, Brisbane's QTQ9 local current affairs program.
  • November 2009 – WIN axes local editions of ACA in Adelaide and Perth, East Coast edition to return with Tracy Grimshaw.
  • April 2010 – "Vicious dog man" makes a cameo – sparking an online, viral frenzy.


  1. ^ a b Class of 74 at MemorableTV
  2. ^ Sue Smith obituary Variety.com
  3. ^ A Trailblazer in Current Affairs SMH
  4. ^ TV Week, 19 March 1977 at TeleisionAU
  5. ^ Nine wins Sunday, as Jana Watches Her Back eBroadcast.com
  6. ^ "Local ACA for Perth and Adelaide". Australian-Media.com.au. 12 June 2008. http://www.australian-media.com.au/index.php?c=home&p=news&article=10718. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Win dumps local aca format and returns to Tracy Grimshaw". http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2009/11/win-dumps-local-aca-format-and-returns-to-tracy-grimshaw.html. 
  8. ^ "?". http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23399847-7582,00.html. [dead link]
  9. ^ "?". http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/articles/2008/06/12/1213283196702.html. 
  10. ^ "?". http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/18/2193234.htm. 
  11. ^ "?". http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/aba/newspubs/radio_tv/investigations/broadcast_operations/documents/television/2003/1248.pdf. 
  12. ^ "?". http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib310623/tcn9_invest_report_1882.pdf. 
  13. ^ "?". http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib101072/tcn_report1779.pdf. 
  14. ^ "?". http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib100638/acmf%20tcn9%20%20report1641.pdf. 
  15. ^ "?". http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/aba/newspubs/radio_tv/investigations/broadcast_operations/documents/television/2004/1409.pdf. 
  16. ^ Turner, Graeme (April 1999). "Tabloidization, journalism and the possibility of critique". International Journal of Cultural Studies 2 (1): 59–76. doi:10.1177/136787799900200104. ISSN 0004-9522. 
  17. ^ "Swim coach wins $320,000 damages". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 September 2006. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/swim-coach-wins-320000-damages/2006/09/18/1158431635894.html?from=rss. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "A Current Affair forced to pay doctor $270K after 'botched boob job' report". news.com.au. 16 March 2010. http://www.news.com.au/national/a-current-affair-forced-to-pay-doctor-270k-after-botched-boob-job-report/story-e6frfkvr-1225841329178. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 

External links

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