ABC1 Channel Controller Brendan Dahill recently told TV Tonight no decision had been made on greenlighting a third season, with the broadcaster trying to spread ABC budgets across a bumper output.
“Miss Fisher has done a brilliant job. They delivered a great second season and the Christmas special really resonated with audiences,” he said.
“The position we are in is an embarrassment of riches –tons of successful series and at some point Carole (Sklan, Head of Fiction) and I need to sit down and work out how many of the successful shows we can afford to return , without standing still, and still doing new stuff. Woven into that we obviously need to know how much money we think we’re going to have.
“So it would be precipitous for us to make decisions now that we cannot bankroll in the future.”
His comments come at a time when there are fears the federal government could cut funds to the broadcaster.
Is Dahill worried cuts are looming?
“I’m not worried about it but we need a degree of certainty,” he said.
“We have a triennium outcome which is the basis for our planning and until that changes our triennium planning doesn’t change. With anything you make the right choices not quick choices. Doctor Blake delivered us a successful Season Two which is just as good as Season One. Miss Fisher has done the same, there are a whole bunch of shows that have delivered brilliantly.”
In November Fiona Eagger, producer of Miss Fisher, told TV Tonight the show was an audience favourite in Australia, the UK, and Europe and the US.
“The word we’re getting is that there’s a bit of a squeeze going on for the Drama dollar. Whether that’s internally or in anticipation of an external force I’m not sure. I think it’s something audiences and practitioners have to watch -that the ABC Drama dollar is not eroded,” she said.
An online petition at change.org to “Save Miss Fisher” now has 6,000 signatures.
“It’s frustrating for some people and I understand their frustration,” said Dahill.
“But if I was on a commercial network where I could monetise my audience the decision would be a lot easier.”