6th Annual ASTRA Awards

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Australian subscription television held its very own awards party, the 6th Annual ASTRA Awards on Monday, April 21 at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion. TV.com was on location to cover the event.

On the eve of its fourth season, Australia's Next Top Model has won the audience award for Most Popular Program, beating profile shows Love My Way, Satisfaction and The King.

It was a glitzy night for the 6th Annual ASTRA Awards at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion. Industry stars were out in force on the 'Black Carpet' proving one of the most polite line-ups in living memory: Alison Whyte, Jodhi Meares, Alex Perry, Ruby Rose, Ian Thorpe, Ita Buttrose, and the Comedy Channel's newest acquisition, Merrick and Rosso.

Jam-packed with 31 awards they even managed to find time to award Bulpitt Day Australia Day (Most Creative On-Air Program Promotion)!

Antonia Kidman again won the audience Favourite Female Personality for From Here to Maternity. Jimmy Barnes won Favourite Male for his appearances with MAX. No doubt having a music career also helped sway public votes. Clearly riding on a high, Barnes performed a duet with daughter Mahalia.

And while he had just clinched a BAFTA Award in the UK on the same day, Gordon Ramsay chalked up the Favourite International Personality for Hell's Kitchen. Not a bad feat given he faced stiff competition from Zac Effron and Michael C. Hall. Had he been present to receive the trophy, no doubt he would've 'bleeped' with delight.

The long evening was broken up with performances by Brian McFadden (ironically, his Westlife bandmates will warble at the Logies), The McClymonts, and a showstopper by those talented kids from Billy Elliot the Musical.

But it was TV they were here for, and TV they got.

In the peer-voted section Foxtel darlings Love My Way and The King shone.

Stephen Curry was awarded Most Outstanding Actor for his shining portrayal of Graham Kennedy and The King also snared Most Outstanding Drama. Claudia Karvan, fresh from her stint at the 2020 Summit, was nonetheless honoured as Most Outstanding Female Actor. After its final season, there was also a tribute for Love My Way led by Deborah Lee-Furness.

In the hotly-contested documentary category The History Channel's Thanks for Listening won over the equally-acclaimed Crime Investigation Australia. What, no tie? Send in Steve Liebmann to investigate, please!

A surprise win was Fox8's The Singing Office as Most Outstanding Light Entertainment. The karaoke show didn't attract a big viewing audience but it was voted by panel judges over the audience hit Australia's Next Top Model and the huge drawcard of Parkinson: The Shane Warne Interview. But will awards rather than viewers be enough to greenlight a second series for The Singing Office? Don't bet on it.

Stuart McGill won Most Outstanding Lifestyle for Stuart McGill Uncorked, quite a coup given he was up against Antonia Kidman's vehicle.

Recognition for Sky News continues to boom with a win for APEC 2007 as Most Outstanding News Program or Coverage. David Speers winning Most Outstanding Presenter over colleague Helen Dalley, Steve Liebmann and Barnsey. On The Couch won Most Outstanding Sports Program (isn't Fox Sports glad they re-signed with the AFL now?).

The Riches snared Most Outstanding International Program or Event at the expense of Dexter, Atlas Discovery and Mad Men -- curiously, the latter won this year at the Golden Globes and Director's Guild of America Awards, but not here in Oz.

Kids were not forgotten by the ASTRAs, either. Nickleodeon took home gongs for Nickelodeon's Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2007, Camp Orange: The Mystery Of Spaghetti Creek and prizes in the Promotions and Technology categories.

Finally, profile channel Fox8 was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But there were also several profile shows that went home prizeless: the high-class hookers of Satisfaction, plus Stupid Stupid Man, Dangerous, Dexter and Gossip Girl.

Still, it affirms that subscription TV in Oz has an abundance of riches. As ASTRA CEO Debra Richards said, "The platforms and channels that make up the industry have been at the forefront of some of the most creative and outstanding programming this country has ever seen."

Just don't whisper that near anyone from Seven, Nine, Ten, ABC or SBS!

Click here for the full list of winners from the evening. The 6th Annual ASTRA Awards will be available On Demand for Foxtel IQ subscribers from Thursday, April 24. Highlight clips will be shown across channels from today.

Red Carpet Highlights

TV.com presenter Kate O'Shea shmoozed with the stars at the 6th Annual ASTRA Awards. See Kate talk to some of Australian TV's finest including Claudia Karvan, Antonia Kidman, Jimmy Barnes, and Merick and Rosso.

Photos from the 6th Annual ASTRA Awards nominations breakfast.

The ASTRA Award up close.

Mike Hammond with Antonia Kidman.

Ruby Rose, Darren McMullen and Maz Compton from MTV.

The Weather Channel's Magdalena Roze and Gavin Morris.

The 6th Annual ASTRA Awards Winners

And the winners are….

TALENT

Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Male
? Stephen Curry - TV1 (The King)

Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Female
? Claudia Karvan – Showtime (Love My Way)

Most Outstanding Performance by a Presenter
? David Speers - Sky News (Agenda)

Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist
? Kieran Gilbert - Sky News

SUBSCRIBERS' CHOICE

Favourite Program
? Australia's Next Top Model - Fox8

Favourite International Program
? High School Musical 2 - Disney Channel

Favourite International Personality or Actor
? Gordon Ramsay - LifeStyle FOOD (Hell's Kitchen)

Favourite Male Personality
? Jimmy Barnes - MAX

Favourite Female Personality
? Antonia Kidman - W.

PROGRAMMING & PRODUCTION

Most Outstanding International Program or Event
? The Riches - Showcase

Most Outstanding Event
? Nickelodeon's Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2007 - Nickelodeon

Most Outstanding Short Form Program
? Snoop - MTV

Most Outstanding Children's Program
? Camp Orange: The Mystery Of Spaghetti Creek - Nickelodeon

Most Outstanding Music Program or Coverage
? MAX Sessions: Powderfinger, Concert for the Cure - MAX

Most Outstanding Sports Program
? On the Couch - FOX Sports 1

Most Outstanding Sports Coverage
? Wallabies - FOX Sports 2

Most Outstanding Documentary
? Thanks For Listening - The History Channel

Most Outstanding News Program or Coverage
? APEC 2007 - Sky News

Most Outstanding Lifestyle Program
? Stuart MacGill Uncorked - LifeStyle FOOD

Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program
? The Singing Office - Fox8

Most Outstanding Drama
? The King - TV1

PLATFORM MARKETING

Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign – Subscription Sales
? 'Unexpectedly' Campaign - FOXTEL

Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign – Subscriber Retention
? The King - TV1

Most Outstanding Use of Subscription TV Medium for a Consumer Advertising Campaign
? Hasbro Transformers Script Writing Competition – Cartoon Network

PROGRAM & CHANNEL PROMOTION

Most Creative On-Air Program Promotion
? Bulpitt Day Australia Day - FOX Classics

Most Creative Off-Air Program Promotion
? The Home of SpongeBob - Nickelodeon

Most Outstanding Program Promotion Campaign
? The King - TV1

Most Outstanding Channel Image Spot
? The Building Blocks of Life - The LifeStyle Channel

TECHNOLOGY

Most Outstanding Use of Technology (for a consumer application)
? ClickHeadSpace - Nickelodeon

Most Outstanding Use of Interactive Television (for a consumer application)
? Barclays Premier League: Viewers Choice - FOX Sports 1

HALL OF FAME

Channel of the Year
? Fox8

Industry personalities including Antonia Kidman, Claudia Karvan, Ben Mendelsohn, Steve Liebmann, Darren McMullen and Charlotte Dawson will vie for a plethora of awards in drama, comedy, news, music, lifestyle, sport and more. With 31 gongs and 150 nominees, comfortable shoes are advised for a long night!

"It's a huge night for us," said ASTRA CEO Debra Richards. "Our first one was done as a breakfast ceremony and the second year we went straight into an evening presentation. I think we had about 400 people from the industry. This year we are completely sold out."

The best of subscription TV are assured of a glitzy ceremony being kept under wraps by organisers. Like the Logies, it will run "host-free" with a number of presenters.

Assembled by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association, the awards recognise everything from marketing campaigns and promotions to use of technology, production, on-air talent and one channel is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

In the recent Logie nominations, subscription programs were well-represented in the peer-nominated categories with Love My Way, The King and Satisfaction. It's nice to see some quiet achievers having a moment in the ASTRAs spotlight, along with the audience cheering metaphorically in the wings.

In the viewer-voted categories additional Aussie productions being recognised include Stupid Stupid Man, Dangerous, Australia's Next Top Model and Parkinson: The Shane Warne Interview. But while fan favourites like Love My Way have dominated previous ASTRAs, this year they could be affected by limited accessibility on top-tier packages. Could it fall victim to The King and Australia's Next Top Model more readily available on TV1 and Fox8?

Organisers say viewer-votes in previous ASTRAs haven't been affected by subscription packages, some of which vary across Foxtel, Austar and Optus. "The fact that it might be on different tiers doesn't really impact in terms of number of votes in previous years. So we don't expect that to be an issue," assured Richards.

Viewers have also been voting with their fingers via remote, online and SMS for international brands including Dexter, Gossip Girl, High School Musical 2, The Riches, and Mythbusters. Again, could Gossip Girl and HSM2 outperform the critically acclaimed Dexter, simply for the fact that their viewer numbers outweigh those on the Showcase Channel? Last week, no Showcase show made it into Pay TV's Top 100 weekly shows (sorry 'bout that, Dex!).

Nevertheless, Dexter's Michael C. Hall remains a subscription TV favourite, nominated in the viewer-personality awards alongside a host of other fan faves including Gordon Ramsay, Zac Effron, Trinny and Susannah, Minnie Driver, Eddie Izzard, Michael Parkinson and the Mythbusters gang.

Local personalities hoping for a gong include the Comedy Channel's Cameron Knight, Lifestyle's Ben O'Donoghue, MAX's Jimmy Barnes (hotly tipped to perform a musical number), Bio's Maggie Tabberer, Helen Dalley from Sky News and MTV's Maz Compton.

Sixty industry judges have selected finalists for the peer-vote categories. Actor nominees are dominated by Love My Way (Claudia Karvan, Asher Keddie, Ben Mendelsohn, Dan Wyllie, Brendan Cowell), Satisfaction (Diana Glenn, Alison Whyte, Bojana Novakovic) plus Stephen Curry for The King and Wayne Hope in Stupid Stupid Man. Karvan and Keddie will be hard to top while Curry's AFI win puts him in the pole position.

All of those shows have been recognised for Most Outstanding Drama along with the gritty, piston-charged series Dangerous, and the offbeat comedy of Chandon Pictures.

In the documentary category Crime Investigation Australia fronted by Steve Liebmann has great pedigree. Its interview exclusives last year on The Wanda Beach Murders and The Beaumont Children Mystery attracted mainstream press. But the series looking at the history of Australian radio, Thanks for Listening, covered enormous terrain with a cavalcade of veteran broadcasters. The History Channel continues to make its mark in the doco field.

Other categories also provide chances for Discovery Atlas, On the Couch, American Chopper Australia, The MTVAAs, the Helpmann Awards, Election 07 and MAX Sessions.

So far the big event doesn't have a live broadcast but clips of the ceremony showing winners and highlights will be rolled out across various channels within 24 hours.

"We're there to enjoy ourselves, pat ourselves on the back. But there will be some sad moments too. We've lost a couple of great industry people in Clinton Grybas and Stan Zemanek," noted Richards.

"But you can expect a great show."

Top nominations: Showcase (13); Fox 8 (12); Sky News (12); TV1 (10); MTV (10); Discovery Channel (8), Showtime (7); and Lifestyle Channel (6).

The 6th Annual Astra Award Nominees

PLATFORM MARKETING

Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign – Subscription Sales
? 'Sports Beer' Campaign - AUSTAR
? 'Unexpectedly' Campaign - FOXTEL
? 'Talking TV' Campaign - FOXTEL
? 'Get It' Campaign - FOXTEL
? 'Make this month your own: Get 'The Works' free for a month' Campaign - AUSTAR

Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign – Subscriber Retention
? Ripped Off: The Films Hollywood Nicked - World Movies
? The King - TV1
? Stupid Stupid Man - TV1

Most Outstanding Use of Subscription TV Medium for a Consumer Advertising Campaign
? Calciyum: Grim's Bare Bones! – Cartoon Network
? Hasbro Transformers Script Writing Competition – Cartoon Network

PROGRAM & CHANNEL PROMOTION

Most Creative On-Air Program Promotion
? Bulpitt Day Australia Day - FOX Classics
? The Singing Office - Fox8
? TV1's Brady Smack Down - TV1
? Gotta Love Your League: The Mo - FOX Sports 3
? MTV Australian Video Music Awards 2007 - MTV

Most Creative Off-Air Program Promotion
? I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! - UKTV
? Chandon Pictures Launch: Sumo - Movie Extra
? Showcase Channel Launch - Showcase
? The Home of SpongeBob - Nickelodeon

Most Outstanding Program Promotion Campaign
? MTV Australian Video Music Awards 2007 - MTV
? Ben 10 Launch - Cartoon Network
? American Chopper Australia - Discovery Channel
? The King - TV1
? Take You There: Rugby World Cup - FOX Sports 2

Most Outstanding Channel Image Spot
? The Building Blocks of Life - The LifeStyle Channel
? I Love Food IDs - LifeStyle FOOD
? Channel [V] Artist Soundscapes - Channel [V]
? Reach Campaign - The Weather Channel

TECHNOLOGY

Most Outstanding Use of Technology (for a consumer application)
? Afterworld - Sci Fi
? Blog Party - Channel [V]
? ClickHeadSpace - Nickelodeon
? FOXTEL Online Guide With Remote Record - FOXTEL

Most Outstanding Use of Interactive Television (for a consumer application)
? Election 07 - Sky News
? Movie One's Redspace - Movie One
? Australia's Next Top Model - Fox8
? Barclays Premier League: Viewers Choice - FOX Sports 1

PROGRAMMING & PRODUCTION

Most Outstanding International Program or Event
? The Riches - Showcase
? Mad Men - Movie Extra
? Dexter - Showcase
? Discovery Atlas: India Revealed - Discovery Channel

Most Outstanding Event
? The Helpmann Awards - Bio.
? Australia's Next Top Model Final - Fox8
? MTV Australian Video Music Awards 2007 - MTV
? Sport Australia Hall of Fame - FOX Sports 3
? Nickelodeon's Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2007 - Nickelodeon

Most Outstanding Short Form Program
? The ANZAC Day Interstitial - The History Channel
? Action Earth - Fox8/The Weather Channel
? Snoop - MTV
? Tipping Point - The Weather Channel

Most Outstanding Children's Program
? Camp Orange: The Mystery Of Spaghetti Creek - Nickelodeon
? As the Bell Rings: Treasure Map - Disney Channel

Most Outstanding Music Program or Coverage
? Snowjam - MTV
? MAX Sessions: Powderfinger, Concert for the Cure - MAX
? The Lair - MTV
? MAX Sessions: Jimmy Barnes - MAX
? Rollin with the Muster - Country Music Channel

Most Outstanding Sports Program
? On the Couch - FOX Sports 1
? MTV Sports - MTV
? NRL on FOX - FOX Sports 3
? Total Football - FOX Sports 3

Most Outstanding Sports Coverage
? Football Internationals: Australia v Argentina - FOX Sports 2
? BMX Games 2007 - FUELTV
? Wallabies - FOX Sports 2

Most Outstanding Documentary
? Thanks For Listening - The History Channel
? Out Of Africa: Bullet and a Target - MTV
? Tuna Wranglers - Discovery Channel
? CIA - Crime & Investigation Network

Most Outstanding News Program or Coverage
? Fox Sports News & Views - FOX Sports News
? APEC 2007 - Sky News
? Newcastle Floods - Sky News

Most Outstanding Lifestyle Program
? Stuart MacGill Uncorked - LifeStyle FOOD
? The Best in Australia - The LifeStyle Channel
? From here to Maternity with Antonia Kidman - W.
? Great Australian Sandcastles - How To Channel
? Five Star Insider - Discovery Travel & Living

Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program
? Parkinson: The Shane Warne Interview - UKTV
? Australia's Next Top Model - Fox8
? American Chopper Australia - Discovery Channel
? The Singing Office - Fox8

Most Outstanding Drama
? Chandon Pictures - Movie Extra
? Dangerous - Fox8
? The King - TV1
? Love My Way - Showtime
? Satisfaction - Showcase
? Stupid Stupid Man - TV1

TALENT

Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Male
? Brendan Cowell – Showtime (Love My Way)
? Ben Mendelsohn – Showtime (Love My Way)
? Dan Wyllie – Showtime (Love My Way)
? Stephen Curry - TV1 (The King)
? Wayne Hope - TV1 (Stupid Stupid Man)

Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor - Female
? Claudia Karvan – Showtime (Love My Way)
? Asher Keddie – Showtime (Love My Way)
? Diana Glenn – Showcase (Satisfaction)
? Bojana Novakovic – Showcase (Satisfaction)
? Alison Whyte – Showcase (Satisfaction)

Most Outstanding Performance by a Presenter
? Steve Liebmann - Crime & Investigation (CIA)
? Jimmy Barnes – MAX (The Know)
? James Kerley - Channel [V] (Cash Cab)
? David Speers - Sky News (Agenda)
? Helen Dalley - Sky News (Sunday Business)
? Stuart MacGill - LifeStyle FOOD (Stuart McGill Uncorked)

Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist
? Rebecca Perrie - FOX Sports News
? Kieran Gilbert - Sky News
? Michael Willesee - Sky News
? Gavin Morris - The Weather Channel

SUBSCRIBERS' CHOICE

Favourite Program
? Parkinson: The Shane Warne Interview - UKTV
? Australia's Next Top Model - Fox8
? Dangerous - Fox8
? Love My Way - Showtime
? Satisfaction - Showcase
? American Chopper Australia - Discovery Channel
? Stupid Stupid Man - TV1
? The King - TV1

Favourite International Program
? Grand Designs - The LifeStyle Channel
? Gossip Girl - Fox8
? Dexter - Showcase
? The Riches - Showcase
? Deadliest Catch - Discovery Channel
? High School Musical 2 - Disney Channel
? Mythbusters Supersized Special - Discovery Channel
? The Daily Show With Jon Stewart - The Comedy Channel

Favourite International Personality or Actor
? Gordon Ramsay - LifeStyle FOOD (Hell's Kitchen)
? Trinny and Susannah - The LifeStyle Channel (Undress)
? Michael Parkinson – UKTV (Parkinson: The Shane Warne Interview)
? Minnie Driver – Showcase (The Riches)
? Eddie Izzard – Showcase (The Riches)
? Michael C Hall – Showcase (Dexter)
? Zac Efron - Disney Channel (High School Musical 2)
? Mythbusters Team - Discovery Channel (Mythbusters)

Favourite Male Personality
? Ben O'Donoghue - The LifeStyle Channel
? Stuart MacGill - LifeStyle FOOD
? Darren McMullen - MTV
? James Kerley - Channel [V]
? Jimmy Barnes - MAX
? Cameron Knight - The Comedy Channel
? James Bracey - Sky News
? David Speers - Sky News

Favourite Female Personality
? Anna Gare - The LifeStyle Channel
? Antonia Kidman - W.
? Charlotte Dawson - Fox8
? Maggie Tabberer - Bio.
? Maz Compton - MTV
? Yumi Stynes - MAX
? Brooke Forster - Sky News
? Helen Dalley - Sky News

Channel of the Year
? The History Channel
? Fox8
? Sky News
? Nickelodeon
? FOX Sports

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