On Sunday night ABC’s Countdown special drew a bumper audience of 965,000 viewers -but the team behind the show are now facing the axe amid speculation ABC will shutdown TV production in Adelaide for all but News & Current Affairs.
On Monday night Media Watch announced the Adelaide production unit would go.
The Adelaide team under Executive Producer Margot Phillipson, has a reputation for light entertainment factual shows & docos, including Dream Build, When the Beatles Drove us Wild, The Daters plus former series Poh’s Kitchen and The Cook and the Chef.
It produced the 40th anniversary Countdown special because of it gets results on tight budgets.
Some 150 jobs are tipped to go in Adelaide, and an expected 500 nationally.
A source told TV Tonight, “It’s small, lean team is multi-skilled and doesn’t have the demarcation issues seen elsewhere in the ABC. Importantly, Adelaide was selected because it made the show on a shoestring budget. Interviews were filmed only in Adelaide, Sydney & Melbourne.”
All the overseas interviews with performers such as Rod Stewart, Adam Ant, Kiss, Simon Le Bon were done via Skype and a camera.
The expected closure of Adelaide production follows recent closures of ABC TV Production units in Perth, Brisbane and Hobart including Collectors and Gardening Australia, while content from Tasmania, Western Australia & Queensland now comes from their ABC news bureaus.
An ABC spokesperson declined to comment until the government has formally announced the budget cut.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to confirm funding cuts to ABC and SBS this afternoon.