Online to drive rebranded ABC Arts

abc1lABC TV has revealed its overhaul of Arts programming with the announcement of a slew of new titles, a  ‘digital Arts Gateway’ website and the rebranding of Sunday Arts to a half hour format to be known as Art Nation.

The move follows continued speculation the long-running Sunday afternoon show would indeed be trimmed with content shifted online.

The rebranded Art Nation will contain news, reviews, performance, features and interviews and showcase submitted work that has premiered on the Arts Gateway. At 30 minutes instead of its current one hour, the program will run for the full year without the traditional break for sport in September. At this stage there is no indication of timeslot or hosts though today’s Age notes Michael Veitch will no longer be host.

At the Movies, First Tuesday Book Club, Artscape and Jennifer Byrne Presents will all continue.

The arts website will cover 22 arts genres with video and photo blogs by artists, in conjunction with The Australia Council. It will also offer news, reviews and events. All arts programs and stories from ABC will be available as video or audio podcasts.

Director of Television Kim Dalton said, “As more and more Australians rely on the internet for news and entertainment, ABC TV is responding by consolidating our arts presence in those spaces. This multi-platform approach to our arts coverage ensures we can utilise the full resources of ABC to provide the most comprehensive arts coverage in Australia, and give audiences more choice in how they consume that content.”

The ABC also unveiled and elaborated on futher arts programs for 2010:

Bush Slam – a six-part series hosted by Greig Pickhaver, which follows a poetry slam competition throughout regional Australia: ABC2 Live Presents– which will kick off with Opera Australia’s extraordinary commission, Bliss, a collaboration with Peter Carey, Brett Dean and Neil Armfield; Art and Soul – a three-part Indigenous art series hosted by Hetti Perkins from the award-winning director of Samson and Delilah, Warwick Thornton: The Matilda Candidate – a documentary that explores the theme of Australia’s famous song: Rudely Interrupted – a rock-doco that follows the band Rudely Interrupted on their first world tour: and Re-Enchantment – an interactive broadband project that explores why fairy tales continue to entertain adult audiences.

Renowned Australian documentary filmmaker Bob Connelly returns to the ABC with Making Music, following High School students over 18 months as they prepare for classical music concert at the Opera House: Lost For Words (working title) tracks acclaimed Pitjantjatjara actor, Trevor Jamieson, as he sets out to bring his hit stage show Ngapartji Ngapartji home to the remote community of Ernabella: Shadowplay features photographer Anton Corbijn and his celebrity portrait subjects such as Bono, Wim Wenders, Michael Stipe, The Killers and Depeche Mode: and Indonesia Calling, a feature length documentary, focuses on the making of Joris Ivens’ 1945 film “Indonesia Calling”.

The 10pm arts slot, Artscape continues with an exciting line up including Salt – a half-hour award winning documentary following photo artist Murray Fredericks on a solo pilgrimage to Lake Eyre: special coverage of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Arts Triennial presented by Andrew Frost; A Thousand Different Angles, a documentary portrait about the life and work of extraordinary abstract sculptor Inge King; the Artists at Work format continues with a profile on contemporary painter Ben Quilty; The Art of Walking presented by celebrated novelist and cultural provocateur Will Self; and a second series of the award winning three part series Anatomy exploring art practice, the body and sex.

Other highlights for the ABC1 schedule will be the eight-part series, Simon Schama’s Power of Art, on some of history’s most famous artists; Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens a feature-length bio-pic directed by her younger sister, Barbara; Baroque written and presented by Waldemar Januszczak, this three-part series explores the importance and impact of this art movement as it travelled from Catholic Rome to Protestant London: and Infinite Space; The Architecture of John Latner which looks at the work of American architect whose dream was to create ‘architecture that has no beginning and no end’.

A spokesperson for Friends of the ABC also told The Age: ”If the expansion of arts on the web is to occur at the expense of television arts programming, then the ABC will be sidelining the arts and denying many in the community access to an important area of programming.

”The web provides wonderful opportunities … But development online should not come at the expense of the ABC’s already inadequate television arts programming.”


  1. This from a broadcaster that thinks Beached Az and Saturday Night Country are Arts programmes (I’m not kidding – they’re listed in the ‘TV & Radio’ section of the ABC Arts site)!

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