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  Issue No 49 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 April 2000  




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Seven Launches 'Popstars' Spin-off

On the heels of Popstars comes a new show taking five minor celebrities and turning them into normal people


The phenomenal ratings success of Seven's new show Popstars has made the network rush to develop similar shows to cash in on the craze for shows which straddle the great divide between fame and ordinariness.

Seven is attempting to stay ahead of the other networks such as Ten, which has filmed a pilot of a show which turns five ordinary Australian girls into porn starlets. The show will be called Pop Tarts.

The new show, Falling Stars, will take existing minor celebrities and seek to remodel them into ordinary members of the public. The show has auditioned hundreds of people who have, in general, only fleetingly entered the public eye, but they have now rejected hopefuls such as Tanya Zaetta, Greg Evans, Tim Finn, Denise Drysdale and Richard Zachariah to announce the five semi-stars who will undergo the process.

Tanya Blencoe was the first to apply, and was immediately accepted by the show's producer, Karen Jameson. "When Tanya threw her hat in the ring, we knew we had to have her," she said. "In most cases we're returning the celebrities to suburban normality as a macabre social experiment, as in Popstars, but in Tanya's case it's more of a charitable act. She has never lived down that daggy Olympic bid stuff." Blencoe is very enthusiastic about the project. "What I really want is to expunge my name from everyone's mind, so I can walk into a bank and open an account without the tellers

sniggering at me, but it would also be nice to get back on TV even for an episode or two," said Blencoe, who admits she can still perform her trite speech from the bid by heart, along with the excruciating, forced hand gestures that appealed so much to the IOC delegates.

Joining her will be Bernard King, self-styled celebrity chef and occasional star of such shows gone by as Pot Luck. "When I was reduced to making those Impala kitchen ads, I knew it was time to beat a hasty retreat from public life," said a regretful King. "I was really upset when I surrendered the title of Australia's premier television curmudgeon to Red Symons, but I'm over it now." King admits that his primary motivation for seeking irrelevancy is his sex life, which he claims has suffered greatly from his status as a fallen star. "An elderly gentleman such as myself is usually able to dispel the impression that he's past it if he's as wealthy as I am, but I haven't had much luck lately," he said. "I think the younger generation have obtained from somewhere or other the impression that I am uncool."

Another other ailed Star-to-be is the pop singer Colette, who did so much to promote lycra products with her 1988 hit 'Ring My Bell' and has been experiencing regular sexual harassment ever since. Her cover of Carole King's classic tune with its bizarre metaphor for sex has led to a progression of men politely enquiring about bellringing opportunities every time she goes to a bar, and she has lost count of the number of Quasimodo jokes she had to endure. "Thank God no-one ever knew my surname, or I'd get even more people at my door, playing ring-and-run," she sighed. "I have decided that I don't like being a one-hit wonder, so I jumped at this opportunity to be a non-hit non-wonder.

The remaining stars who will be expunging themselves from public memory are cricketer Scott Muller, who is now more famous for his inadequacy than anything else, and former Family Feud host Rob Brough, whose family abandoned him because it was sick of putting up with questions about all of the fights that went on in the Brough household. "If I can get rid of Family Feud, maybe I can get my own family back," he hopes. "And if I can't get them back, perhaps I can meet someone who won't associate me with domestic violence."

During the show's 12-week run, the participants will perform a range of activities designed to remove them entirely from public memory. Colette will dye her hair black and change her name to Madge, while Scott Muller will join the Socceroos in order to achieve his own obscurity. Rob Brough will host a revitalised Hey Hey It's Saturday on Optus Vision, and Tanya Blencoe will move to a hippie commune near Nimbin, which has absolutely no televisions, until after the Olympics.

Sadly, not every Falling Stars participant succeeds in their quest forfreedom. Bernard King decides that he hasn't the stomach to leave the public eye entirely, and signs to host a cooking show on Dubbo radio. He also renews his contract with Impala.


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*   Issue 49 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Rebuilding from the Rubble
Ramona Mitussis, APHEDA's co-ordinator in East Timor reports on how Australian workers are contributing to rebuilding a nation.
*  East Timor: UN Poseurs Delay Reconstruction
Returning to the Dili compound where he spent five days under siege, HT Lee finds an aid bureacracy out of control.
*  Unions: The Last Bank in Minto
"It's a busy branch", Carol Davison insists, watching the crowd gather around the Commonwealth Bank branch at Minto Mall. By the time you read this, the branch will be another empty shopfront, stripped of its fittings, with junk mail starting to accumulate under the front door.
*  International: Workers of the World Unite
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia's keynote address to the ICFTU Congress in Durban, South Africa this week.
*  Olympics: Strange Tenants
Rentwatchers lifts the lid on the legacy the 2000 Games will leave on Sydney's tenants.
*  Politics: The Loneliness Crisis
Lindsay Tanner looks at the politics of the soul that form the backdrop of many of our social ills.
*  History: Songs of Solidarity
Visiting US labour acadmeic John Lund has found a new way to digest history - he commits workers' struggles to song.
*  Satire: Seven Launches 'Popstars' Spin-off
On the heels of Popstars comes a new show taking five minor celebrities and turning them into normal people
*  Review: Keating's Engagement
Whether it's analysis or self-justification, Paul Keating's new book is an engaging read.

»  Free East Timor? For the Workers, It's Just Cheap
»  Maria Wins Historic Email Test Case
»  More Hot Air: Cyclone Telstra Hits Townsville
»  Cleaners Walk: We Are Humans, Not Robots!
»  Reith's Day in the Dock Draws Near
»  Olympics Tickets: One Size Doesn't Fit All
»  Back Door Sell-Off of Nursing Home Beds
»  Entitlement Changes Fail to Protect Workers
»  Shaw Sets Safety Guidelines
»  Water Workers Ready to Walk
»  Honour for Jack Mundy
»  Lindsay Tanner Chat Session
»  Radio Free East Timor Fundraiser Thursday
»  Workers Online Turns 50 Next Week!

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Public Meeting: Globalised Capital and International Labour.

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