Haywood, who has appeared in Newsfront, Breaker Morant, Shine, Janus and All Saints, said the reported $10 million budget should be redirected to more “worthy” projects, such as drama or coverage of indigenous issues.
“It’s blatant commercialism in terms of programming,” said Haywood, 59.
“There obviously now is a strong policy [within SBS] to program to create advertising revenue. And this raises serious questions as to just how responsible the board has been in terms of ensuring management complies with the terms of its charter.”
Haywood has publicly said what many industry personnel have privately expressed. The big-ticket price for Top Gear is seen as a commercial fee paid by a public broadcaster. Last month Commissioning Editor of SBSi Debbie Lee left for the ABC. Her departure follows other staff grievances in 2007, including that of Mary Kostakidis.
But SBS’ Matt Campbell said programs such as Top Gear drove revenue.
“Top Gear drives more commercial revenue than any other program and that all comes back into my office to be spent on local content,” Campbell said.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald