Great Aussie story Fitz the bill

Journalist Peter FitzSimons is building his television portfolio, with a second novel to be adapted for the small screen. The former Wallaby and best-selling author has sold Batavia to production company Screentime to be adapted into a mini-series for the Ten Network. Now he has clinched a second deal, for his novel Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution, also with Screentime. It tells the story of the 1854 Eureka rebellion, a clash between the goldminers of Ballarat and the British colonial authority. ''The time is coming when Eureka will be acknowledged as the great Australian story,'' FitzSimons tells Fairfax journalist Jordan Oliver. Ballarat's The Courier said filming would take place in the city in early 2014. A broadcaster has not been announced.

Nine's auld acquaintances

Catriona Rowntree and Jason Dundas will host Channel Nine's TV coverage of Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations. The telecast will include appearances by Kylie Minogue, a creative ambassador for the event, as well as performances from The X Factor winner Reece Mastin, singer Ricki-Lee Coulter, the cast of Legally Blonde: The Musical and The Voice runner-up Darren Percival. Nine has also recruited former Big Brother housemate Josh Moore as a ''roving reporter'' on the night. The network is encouraging its audience to engage via Twitter, using the hashtag #NYEon9.

TV's new first family

Foxtel will launch new US comedy 1600 Penn in January, screening the series only three days after its broadcast in the US as part of its ''Express from the US'' offering. The series stars Bill Pullman as US president Dale Gilchrist, with Jenna Elfman as his wife, Emily. The first episode was screened on December 17 in the US as a special presentation, and drew 6.88 million viewers. ''It's obvious this is NBC's answer to Modern Family, and a very good answer at that,'' The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman writes. Foxtel will launch the series on January 13 at 9.30pm on The Comedy Channel.

Carols coverage on song

Even in the non-ratings period, a big-ticket event can pull a big audience. Nine's telecast of the Carols by Candlelight from Melbourne on Christmas Eve drew an audience of 1.6 million viewers in the mainland capitals. The telecast featured Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Lisa McCune, Marina Prior, Denis Walter, Silvie Paladino, Anthony Callea, Tim Campbell and The Voice's Percival and Rachael Leahcar.

New World for SBS

Former Ten Network news boss Jim Carroll has joined SBS to executive produce World News Australia. Carroll has held senior posts at channels Ten, Nine and Seven. ''Jim's extensive experience and expertise in news and current affairs will be invaluable to SBS as we continue to build on the esteemed reputation of World News Australia,'' the managing director of SBS, Michael Ebeid, says. Carroll takes up the post in February.

Foxtel's film coup

Foxtel has finalised deals with the major US film studios to launch a new suite of movie channels on January 1. Six studios are contracted to supply content: Warner Bros, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Roadshow Films. The new channels include a premiere channel, six channels programmed by genre and a World Movies channel.

This story Great Aussie story Fitz the bill first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.