Nickelodeon dominates ASTRA Awards


SYDNEY -- Nickelodeon Australia, general entertainment channel Fox 8 and women's channel W shared the majority of the honors handed out at the annual ASTRA pay TV industry awards Monday, taking home four awards apiece.

But Nickelodeon dominated the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Assn.'s awards as its four trophies included the coveted Channel of the Year Award. The kids channel also won most outstanding program event for the "2006 Nickelodeon Australia Kids Choice Awards," most outstanding children's program for its locally produced "Gardening for Kids With Madi" and most outstanding shortform program for Kids First.

International formats proved winners for the nation's highest rating pay TV channel Fox 8. Its production of "Australia's Next Top Model" won most outstanding light entertainment program and was voted by audiences as their favorite program, while Rockstar Supernova was the most outstanding international program or event and won for most outstanding off-air promotion.

The bulk of the W channel's awards were for its highly acclaimed original drama "Love My Way," which tied with the TV1 sitcom "Stupid Stupid Man" for most outstanding drama, while "Love" stars Dan Wyllie and Asher Keddie won outstanding actor and actress, respectively. W presenter Antonia Kidman, who aired her documentary series "From Here to Maternity" last year, won favorite female personality.

Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" again proved an audience favorite, voted favorite international program for the second consecutive year, while its stars, Paul Teutel Sr. and Paul Teutel Jr., won favorite international personality. Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was voted favorite male personality.

Other local productions that took home gongs included the MTV production "Wolfmother Live" for outstanding music program; the History Channel's "The Battle of Long Tan" for most outstanding documentary; the "2006 BMX Games" on Fuel TV for outstanding sports program; Fox Sports' "Commonwealth Games 2006" broadcast for outstanding sports coverage, and Sky News Australia's report, "The Week That Changed Australia -- The Death of Steve Irwin and Peter Brock" for outstanding new coverage.

The ASTRA Awards kick off phase one of the Australian TV industry awards season, with the TV Week Logie Awards -- the Australian equivalent of the Emmys -- to follow May 3.