Axed: Marngrook Footy Show

Indigenous AFL show The Marngrook Footy Show has been axed by ABC2 due to costs, low ratings and competition.

Staff were informed by ABC2 managers today that due to the expense of the Live TV show, plus an increase in the number of Thursday football shows contributed to the decision.

“We gave it two seasons we tried it in a new slot this year, but we will not be giving it a third season,” the ABC’s spokeperson Lesna Thomas told Fairfax.

“ABC2 has limited resources and it was by far the most expensive program ABC2 produced.

“There has been a big increase in the number of shows. There are now 18 shows for AFL and seven of them are on a Thursday night.

“The audience was not strong and we tried changing time slots for it … the reality is the network tried with limited resources to make it work and we have to make tough decisions on limited resources and budgets.”

Marngrook was signed by the ABC two years ago. It aired in an 8:30pm Thursday slot, but moved to 7:30pm for a handful of its final episodes this year.

Executive producer and host Grant Hansen said, “We are disappointed with the decision naturally and we don’t see how the ABC could claim ratings as a reason not to go ahead.

“Our program is unique, no one is going to knock off Channel Nine’s show but we were a point of difference with black and white fellas sitting together and enjoying ourselves talking about a shared passion.”

Marngrook began on community radio station 3CR in the mid 1990s. After 10 years it moved to NITV and Channel 31, filming at RMIT and Deakin University before being added to ABC2 with regulars Gilbert McAdam, Ronnie Burns, Chris Johnson, Leila Gurruwiwi, Shelley Ware and Grant Hansen.

When TV Tonight visited the show in July Grant Hansen said, “It’s got a huge following and it’s become the people’s choice of their favourite football show.

“The ratings only cover a certain amount in major cities. It doesn’t cover Darwin, Alice Springs, Tasmania, the regional areas or the islands –the bulk of our audience comes from those kinds of places.”

It isn’t clear if the show might be thrown a lifeline by NITV, joining SBS next month.



  1. Once again, we find ABC management following the dictum, “If you’re not living in Sydney, you’re camping out.” Southern and regional audiences loved the show, the cast, the different take on a sport they care about – but it didn’t fit the ABC’s centralist TV philosophy. Hope Gilly, Leila and the team find a new home for a great show.

  2. This is an informative, well presented entertaining footy show televised at a decent hour. Other free to air footy shows in this region are televised after midnight!! How are I, and so many others, going to get their footy fix now?

  3. This is a natural pick up for SBS’s new Indigenous channel and clearly why the ABC picked now to cut it loose. For all the disappointed viewers out there – I say watch this space.

  4. I’m not surprised since it has been showing on ABC2 all networks have plenty of issues when it comes to money.The Primary channel will always be number 1 priority.I can see NITV picking it up though for next season

  5. ABC quoting low ratings? I thought their charter was about anything but ratings…

    This is a real shame. I hope the SBS takes this over (not NITV, but the main channel) … a real point of difference in footy shows will be lost

  6. Interesting that Channel 31 and NITV could support such an “expensive” show, but ABC2 which would have more resources than both of those combined, couldn’t. And really, given it was an indigenous, community-based TV program transplanted to the alternative ABC2 channel… how high did they think it would rate?

    And like the producer said you’d hope the ABC did consider the show’s reach outside of the major capital cities. The ABC has an obligation to reach out to those areas too.

    But anyway with NITV coming soon via SBS perhaps the show could make a return there.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.