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US reruns: good telly for Aussies

It's bedtime and late-night television viewers here are tuned in to ``The Today Show,'' live from New York, with scenes of Americans struggling in snow and sleet while Australians swelter in heat. Australia is so saturated with American TV programs these days that everything from 30-year-old sitcoms to live relays of the NBC morning program are on the air.

One Australian critic complained about his countrymen, whose ``idea of good telly is to watch Ponch and Boofhead of the California Highway Patrol vroom-vrooming up and down Sunset Boulevard.''

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The advent of ``The Today Show'' was only the final touch. Australian viewers already see just about everything that Americans watch -- from ``Hill Street Blues'' to reruns of ``M-A-S-H.'' Daytime viewing is filled with repeats of old American sitcoms such as ``I Love Lucy,'' ``The Andy Griffith Show,'' and ``Gomer Pyle.''

``These programs are so old they have anthropological value,'' complained another critic.

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