In the 1984-85 season, 'Dynasty' finished with a 25.0% households ratings in front of 'Dallas' (24.7) to become the No. 1 program on television in the US. Of its success, Aaron Spelling made known, "You know, it's so hard to predict the success of a show and what they will be like all over the world or here in America. It's a gigantic guessing game. We've been lucky in being able to predict where the next trend is going. 

"But it is really mostly luck. I think on a show like 'Dynasty' if you're lucky to get a Joan Collins who has universal appeal and blend her with American actors and actresses I think you have a good chance of getting a worldwide market. But the great game that we've all played in television is will it work or will it not? Will the audience accept it or will they not? Let just hope our luck hold out." 

To help explain the game, Diane Mermigas of 'The Herald' (in Chicago) reported in 1977, "Network television plays the numbers game – generally referred to as ratings. The weekly and monthly numbers for which television bosses hold their breath determines the fate of a program, the trends of television to come and the amount of commercial air time sponsors will buy. The numbers profile various television viewers and reflect what they like and don't like. Ratings are the only solid indication the networks have of knowing what works and what doesn't work."

TV research director Ann Levine elaborated, "In judging any program, you must take into consideration the ratings it has received each week, the shows it has been running against and the specific audience it has been attracting. It's important to understand who watches television and what they watch. Ratings determine the life or death of a television show and determine what the future trends will be. We have to have broad appeal with most of our shows and prime time is when we have the broadest audience. So it’s important to especially keep track of the shows in that time period."

Ann Levine also explained to Diane Mermigas as reported, "Ratings act as a measurement for people working in every facet of the television industry. They give the station's sales force the leverage needed to sell commercial air time. Sponsors are attracted to programs with high ratings and realize they must pay the price for the advertising privilege during popular shows. Ratings can mean good news and bad news; they can show slumps and highs. 

"The ratings indicate to the station news director the types of people tuning into the daily news broadcasts and what viewers would like to seek in in-depth and feature news reports. Ratings dictate the kinds of second run, talk show programming and movies that weekday afternoon audiences want to see. Ratings also are important tools of any station's promotions department that attempts to sell its programming to the press. 

"But, most importantly to viewers, network bosses review the figures, week after week, and decide whether or not to foster a show or kill it, try it in a new time slot on a new day or produce a spinoff from it. The ratings number usually is more important than the share because it is used as the basis for network air time prices ... Television programming is a gamble any way you look at it, but the ratings information that is the foundation for decisions is more sophisticated and enlightening than ever before." 

By the end of the 1984-85 season, Brandon Tartikoff remarked, "Viewers were looking for more shows with characters who feel like everyday people. People were satiated by glitz and glamor and were looking for shows that were identifiable and had strong emotional connections." Hence the trend was toward realism. Harvey Shephard of CBS added, "'Cosby' will spawn more reality-based comedies." Associated Press noted at the time, "The serial dramas remained the most successful program format. General dramas, such as 'Highway To Heaven' and 'Murder, She Wrote' improved their performance this season, while action-adventure shows, which made up nearly one-third of the network schedule, declined." 

Growing up, Jana Wendt shared, "Television has a very important place in my life because I learnt to speak English watching television. I couldn't utter a word in English or maybe two before I went to school and the only way I learnt to speak English was by watching things like 'The Cisco Kid', and I think, oh, 'Johnny Ringo' which was a cowboy show, 'The Munsters', things like that. Now they're much damned programs sometimes and they're called cheap and nasty television sometimes but they did teach at least one little kid to speak English."

In the Australian Bicentennial year, 1988, Jana Wendt, in her first year as host of 'A Current Affair', was said to be the most successful woman on Australian television. Jane Cadzow reported the program had won its 6.30pm time slot nationally for all the 36 weeks of ratings (comprised 9 months of viewer surveys using the diary system ratings). Two of those surveys ranked 'A Current Affair' the highest-rating program on the land (No. 1).

Jana Wendt, reporter Claire Miller observed at the time, "Now, as the presenter of Australia's top rating current affairs program, her gender hardly turns a hair." Jana made the observation, "There is no doubt, you know, in the time that I've been in television – whatever it is, 10, 12 years or something – there has been a marked change. We are looked upon less as zombies or freaks now and more as just part of the furniture, as we should be, on the same level as men. That's not to say that there still aren't those little prejudices around somewhere, but they are diminished by comparison to what they were 10 years ago (in 1979)."

At the time, one viewer wrote to the newspaper, "This person – I don't know if it was a male or a female, there was no indication of that – said 'I was watching television the other night and Jana Wendt was on it and she was talking about something interesting. I was captivated. I didn't care whether she was a bloke or a woman.'" Jana made the point, "That to me is the greatest compliment you can get, when there is no more attention to gender at all and just to quality … The fact is that there are a lot of women on television and that I think testifies to the fact that we are growing up about women. You know, we are accepting them more readily and we are accepting them for what they are. We are not trying so hard to mould them into something that we hope they should be, a barrel girl or a barbie doll or something."

Switching from '60 Minutes' to 'A Current Affair', Jana stated, "It has taken a bit of adjustment as far as the schedule goes. It is obviously very different to what I was doing. It is an all day long, every day job and that came as a bit of a shock. Every day is like juggling a circus act, you know. Every day is like that but that is the nature of daily public affairs and that is both the joy of it and sometimes the pain of it all. Strangely enough, people who make news don't wait for us to slot them in for interviews. They just go ahead and make news at any time of the day or night so you have to ride with it. You have to be prepared to ride with it but it's good fun."

At one time, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen declared, "I would make a very good Jana Wendt-type of person. I have always said I would like to be an interviewer. I would make a super Jana Wendt, because I would not let them slip off so often. I have seen many, many interviews – well, not many because I am mainly busy – but I have seen a lot. We do them together. I love it and she is a pretty sharp miss. I enjoy it, just sort of crossing swords backwards and forwards in front of all the executives and what not."

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