27th December 1986
A BATTLE royal could be looming in the new year between the Nine and Seven networks over the new series Willing And Abel.
The million dollar question is: Will Willing And Abel, starring Grant Dodwell and Shane Withington take on A Country Practice. which screens at 7.30 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the key Sydney and Melbourne zones?
Will Grant and Shane try to kill the series which made them household names?
Some Seven Network executives believe Willing And Abel is heading for a different time slot while others insist it will meet ACP head-on.
Seven say Willing And Abel could fill the slot vacated by The Flying Doctors as the second series of the high-flying Crawfords drama, screening at 7.30 pm on Mondays, will not be finished until well into the new ratings year.
But the obstacle there is Sydney Channel 10’s Monday Night Football which dominates in winter.
The ABC comedy Yes, Prime Minister thrashed its opposition in the same timeslot in 1986.
Willing And Abel, produced by former ACP producer Lyn Bayonnas, stars Grant and Shane as the two lovable lads Charles Willing and Abel Moore, who will take on any job provided the money is right.
Programming a new series like Willing And Abel against these two shows could prove a disaster In the Sydney market.
On the other hand, Willing And Abel sources say Nine are keen to take on A Country Practice.
The success of The Cosby Show against ACP In the latter half of 1986 has shown ACP – Australia’s most popular local series – is vulnerable.
A combination of Cosby on Tuesday and Willing And Abel on Wednesday might ruin ACP.
The creator and executive producer of A County Practice James Davern, hasn’t dismissed the possibility that Willing And Abel will take on his show.
“I wouldn’t like it and don’t think Lyn Bayonnas would, either. We’ll wait and see,” he says.
Meanwhile, James has a number of plans up his sleeve, including a major wedding for the new year and introduction of a new character.
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