SBS closes long running Hotline

Where does SBS suggest we write to complain about the end of Hotline? [email protected] ? Booo!

The 5 minute viewer feedback programme which has been running for 17 years ended this week!

The show has had welcome boquets and briquettes via phone, fax, letters and emails, and included everything from voxpops to the hotcam booth. Host Electra Manikakis took over from Silvio Rivier since 1999 and you can watch her final ever episode here.

One of the more poignant letters to Hotline was from a young gay man in the country who was about to take his life, until he saw an episode of Queer As Folk. He told Hotline it was a defining moment that saved his life.

Alas, the show is no more in a changing SBS landscape of advertisements and rumblings about disgruntled staff.

And SBS viewers are outraged, having left feedback for SBS on the axing of their feedback show.

‘Janet C’ said “Why axe Hotline? It seems to me that SBS thinks the internet is going to take over television. Can you imagine a family sitting around a computer screen every night?” and another, “What are we going to do without you? The hotline comments give a wide variety of opinions which in turn encourages my family to discuss different viewpoints therefore bringing back the art of conversation.”

Fans also have ralalied around host Electra, saying ” Hotline becomes Electra. Will miss Hotline and Electra’s wonderful presence. The online interactive idea does not appeal to me at all.” and “What a disgrace, axing Hotline. Electra is wonderful and is a great credit to SBS. Please do not remove Hotline. The new directions that SBS are taking is completely undermining the once great broadcaster you were.”


  1. stan vincent

    I understand that removing hotline is a financial saving to SBS.

    It seems to me however that the very valuable audience feedback from its very own customers is still possible but noone knows if it just gets dumped in the bin!

    Feedback should be encouraged I would think it makes good commercial sense.
    market surveying for little cost.
    the audience avoids the other commercial networks like the plague for bad content and intrusive advertising and loud attention-getting volume variations (listen to any TV news service) .
    It would be most unwise for SBS to copy them.

    The advertising that SBS now uses is becoming more intrusive by the month in my experience.
    Especially when the same ads are aired within sequential ad breaks.It is overkill and becoming irritating rather than just tolerable.

    Maybe the advertisers could take note.To put it in the vernacular pissed off customers don’t make good purchasers.

    Also program announcements are in the same category-why tell the viewer
    6 times throughout every half hour what is coming up in 2 days time?
    I guess the content has been created by others to fit into the other networks time frames so if ads on SBS were not repetitious there would be a content vacuum.

  2. i have an email here i want to send to george negus at dateline,i have tried with the one you put up for dateline but it won’t work,the email is about south assettia,my lady friend is a russian doctor,who has been there just after conflick there,a few weeks ago,can someone help me here,so i can send this email off to get to george

  3. It appears that SBS has been taken over by commercial interest and until they go (which is likely to be never) it’s all downhill from here, until broadcast TV is made redundant by downloading content from the internet.

    SBS was a refuge from ads for me and my bitterness has still not decreased, if I want to watch something on SBS now I tape it.
    I’m amazed they still play documentaries during primetime, it’s only a matter of time until their crop of Australian infotainment/reality shows take over seven days a week.

  4. SBS advises Hotline being dropped was a budgetary decision. They have several new dramas in production and “something had to give.”

  5. For a channel that has signed up for a freedom of speech protocol, SBS certainly doesn’t seem to practise what it preaches! According to Crikey magazine, it seems that management is “investigating” an employee for responding to an invitation by CEO Shaun Brown for staff to voice their concerns and now the last vestiges of freedom of speech have been stripped away by axing that little gem of Aussie TV, Hotline!, (which, by the way,I was told, was the fourth highest rating program for SBS on the week it was axed…)Not even the most commercial of channels would axe a program that was rating that well without an ulterior motive. As for the presenter, Electra… a million times better than that drone Silvio. I hope the channel has the good sense to untilise that bright cheerful lass in some other capacity… but somehow I doubt it…

  6. Luke (sexyer1)

    Thanks SBS for your diverse programming, but don’t let Hotline be a victim on advertising space.

    I encourage everyone to consider emailing SBS and asking them to give consideration towards an online community for this program such as they have done for the shorter Movie Show bits backed by an online community where people are rating movies and stuff!

    They could just do the show online, or they could just create a more interactive website for people to express their feelings on programming and submit ideas or something.

    Just an idea!

    – Luke

  7. TelevisionAU

    It is a bit dismal that SBS could not justify keeping a five-minute feedback segment which they will now just fill with advertising. Just another step to SBS becoming a full-scale commercial outfit – and that is a shame.

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