Question marks hovering over ABC’s plans for long-running shows including The New Inventors and Collectors are now being extended to Art Nation, state football and women’s basketball.
The ABC is tipped to confirm cuts and job losses this week, according to The Australian.
Art Nation replaced Sunday Arts, which was axed in 2009.
But could it mean the broadcaster is backing away from its Charter commitment to “Encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia”?
ABC’s Corporation Charter (1983) doesn’t distinguish that it has to promote Arts on Television as distinct from Radio and Online, nor does it discern between primary channels and multichannels.
ABC’s website currently lists other shows as Art / Culture including Artscape documentaries, At The Movies, First Tuesday Book Club With Jennifer Byrne, Jennifer Byrne Presents plus ABC2 Live presents. Others on the list are archival shows no longer in production.
Channel 31’s The Bazura Project is also coming to ABC2 this year, skewing “films, movie, and everything in between.”
The Australian also reports another production may be in the pipeline for the Hobart studios if Collectors is axed.
A loss of women’s basketball would contradict statements made last year by Director of Television Kim Dalton who acknowledged that while abandoning The Hopman Cup, ABC Television was pursuing a strategic direction that focuses on women’s, regional and Paralympic sport.
In recent weeks unions have been calling on Managing Director Mark Scott to halt a broadcaster drift to outscourcing.
Last week Dalton said, “Television is not a static business. Planning is ongoing around programming, the production slate and the management of resources. Programs may be cancelled – such as Talking Heads or Can We Help? Key talent may decide not to proceed with ongoing series – such as Maggie Beer and Cook And The Chef or Adam Hills and Spicks and Specks.
“Programs are moved in the schedule – such as Poh’s Kitchen. New programs are commissioned – such as the drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the comedy At Home With Julia or the sports show Marngrook Footy Show.”
Poh’s Kitchen is the only ABC TV production amongst Dalton’s select titles.