Adelaide unit behind Countdown special facing axe

Adelaide ABC's reputation for lean, mean production on Factuals won't be enough to save them from the axe.

2014-11-19_0040On 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.

9 Responses

  1. The ABC studio in Adelaide was scheduled to be shut down by Scott several years ago. However, Xenophon refused to vote for Gillard in the Senate unless there was a Senate inquiry that pressured Scott into keeping the studio open.

    It used to make stuff but Poh Kitchen has had one Christmas episode in the last few years (she has gone to cable), The Cook and The Chef finished years ago. Dream Build was ten minute fillers the flopped and destroy the lead in from the Sunday news.

    It’s basically just a few ABC staff being kept in jobs, who outsource production of docos to private production companies. That Pyne is pandering to his local electorate just means he has no principals and the coalition is polling really badly.

  2. Pyne is surely taking the p!ss. Next we’ll have Turnbull campaigning to save Lateline and Abbot threatening to cut ABC funding even further if they get rid of state-based current affairs. The Federal election cannot come quickly enough.

  3. It is hard to know how efficient any of these units are unless you sit down and go through their budgets. 150 staff seems a hell of a lot for Adelaide. And frankly with many of these shows they all could be tendered out to indie production companies to quote on. They’re incredibly simple to produce. The old in-house production model based upon public service union awards is fine and necessary for news and current affairs but not for entertainment programming.

  4. Are you kidding me?! I’m not bias here because I was originally from Radelaide but that team has produced the best cooking shows on TV; being The Cook and the Chef and Poh’s Kitchen. And I was waiting to see if they’d do another out of Adelaide but I can see now that won’t be happening. Shame that this is what this country is coming to. 🙁

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