Crikey has published an article by supervising producer Alan Hogan claiming “Dateline in its present form is for the axe” and there is only enough funding to cover 10 new stories in the remainder of the financial year.”
“(News boss Jim) Carroll thinks the program needs to lighten up, more stories about pop culture, for example, positive entertaining stories that make for happy viewing,” he said.
“That would be absolutely fine if Dateline needed to chase ratings and SBS were a commercial broadcaster, but it isn’t. It’s a public broadcaster with different responsibilities.”
The remarks have made headlines on the day of the broadcaster’s 2015 Upfronts.
Today managing director SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said, “We are returning Dateline with a new format, a new line up of talent and will have a completely different feel and energy in the sort of stories that it is doing.
“It is unfortunate that the individual has written what he has because it is a disgruntled employee, at the end of the day. Alan was a contributor to Dateline. The changes we are making at Dateline have nothing to do with budget cuts.
“The budget is going to be the same for Dateline. We are just refreshing it, doing new things with it and unfortunately not everyone likes change.”
Ebeid said serious current affairs in a 9:30 timeslot was a hard sell, but told TV Tonight the timeslot would not be changing.
2014 marks 30 years for Dateline, Australia’s longest running foreign affairs show.