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ABC slips on Bananas in Pyjamas’ future

No more episodes guaranteed for Bananas in Pyjamas animation.

2013-06-07_0040The ABC will not be considering any new episodes of Bananas in Pyjamas for at least two more years, despite the show being a ratings hit on ABC2.

The internationally-successful brand, which began as a live action series in 1992, is currently screening the last 52 of 156 animated episodes.

These are part-produced in Singapore as a co-production with German children’s television channel, KiKA.

ABC’s head of children’s content, Tim Brooke-Hunt, told Fairfax the show didn’t generate enough money to justify a fourth season, and that overseas merchandise figures would be a deciding factor. He confirmed ABC4Kids on ABC2 is funded from the previously existing, general allocation for the ABC.

In a statement, ABC said, “In order to make the most of our significant investment in the hugely popular program, we will continue airing these episodes to a new generation of Australian pre-schoolers, as has been our standard practice in children’s television for more than two decades.

“Another series of Bananas in Pyjamas will go through the usual commissioning process to determine future production of the program. This process does not relate to current Government funding.

“In 2012 ABC4Kids was the highest ranking children’s television service for pre-schoolers aged 0 – 4 and we acknowledge the invaluable contribution Bananas in Pyjamas has made to that success.”

Last month Brooke-Hunt told TV Tonight the show was playing out very well for the ABC.

“It’s doing extremely well for us, and it’s also doing very well overseas,” he said.

“We made the decision when we were looking to revive Bananas that it made sense to go into animation, so we’re resting all the live action ones. But we might at some point in the future come back to live action. But to be honest with you, it’s been an easier financing job with the animated version. The costs are not that different. It’s quite an expensive thing to do …. but the results have been very gratifying.”

Asked if Bananas brand would end after the latest block of 52 episodes he said, “No. Not at all.”

“We play that show everyday, twice a day. And every showing gets a great audience.”

11 Responses

  1. Mumbrella reported yesterday that the ABC is denying claims of The Bananas demise and that they are in fact “safe”: mumbrella.com.au/abc-says-bananas-in-pyjamas-are-safe-160008 Do you know if this is true?

  2. My 2 year old daughter loves Bananas. Definitely her favourite show on ABC4KIDS.

    I too was disappointed to see the live action series gone, but we hired them from the local library and she loves them too.

    Shelving the animated series for a couple of years won’t hurt, because really they have plenty of episodes to rerun… and kids dont mind reruns so no need to break the bank…

  3. I think the difficulty here is that the ABC couldn’t afford to make the animation itself so it sold the rights to Southern Star for a significant amount and they financed the animated series and the ABC pre bought the Australian licence and clearly had a continuing interest in overseas royalties including merchandising. A precondition may have been that the ABC wouldn’t make new episodes of the live action. But the reality also could be that there is just not the money in merchandising that there used to be as children’s TV gets more fragmented. The ABC now has so many episodes it could just recycle repeats of the animation and still get a very large audience as this audience turns over every three years.

  4. As Pete Helliar said on the Project last night….looking forward to “zucchini’s in bikinis.”

    Please get him on full time – Dave Hughes is very average just not funny! Sorry Dave!

  5. It sickens me that all these kids shows are animated now. I’m only 19, but when I was younger Bananas was still live action, as was Humphrey, Blues Clues and many others.

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