ABC unhappy with “disappointing” AACTAs broadcast

arrives ahead of the 5th AACTA Awards Presented by Presto at The Star on December 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

EXCLUSIVE: ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson will write to the AACTA Awards and Channel Seven after the broadcast last week failed to include presentations for Best TV Drama and Best TV Comedy.

Both were won by the ABC for Glitch and Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, respectively.

But in a highly-edited broadcast on Seven the segments were omitted, while it managed to find time to promote Presto’s Home and Away special event, two performances by X Factor winner Cyrus Villanueva and plugs for AFI membership.

Richard Finlayson told TV Tonight, “At a time when original, quality Australian TV content should be being celebrated, the AACTAs and their host broadcaster chose to dump two of the most important awards from the telecast.

“It’s dumbfounding and a disappointing snub to great Australian creative work.”

Other awards trimmed include the Byron Kennedy Award for the second year running, won by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, plus the one-off Pay TV award for Best Subscription Drama. Some attending guests also criticised cuts to Cate Blanchett’s speech receiving the AACTA Longford Lyell Award.

The final programme’s line up broadcast was agreed prior to broadcast by AACTA and Seven. It included 20 minutes of Red Carpet, with a full song by Cyrus Villanueva surrounded by Presto signage. It wasn’t until 8:50 that the opening welcome by Patrick Brammall was seen by viewers, in an event that averaged 419,000 viewers.

AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella told TV Tonight, “Among many factors is that with the initial FTA broadcast the overall aim is to showcase our industries best to a relatively broad audience – to raise as much awareness as possible.

“Having elements such as music acts that appeal to a broad audience helps develop the audience for the overall show.

“One of the great things and also challenges of the Academy model is that it covers all the key film categories and also all key television genres. This breadth of industry representation creates challenges for what specifically can be included in the initial FTA broadcast and what’s been included has varied across the years.”

Subscription broadcast partner Foxtel screened the full ceremony over the weekend on Foxtel Movies Masterpiece, Arena and Foxtel Arts channel (see clip).

2015 was the first broadcast of the AACTAs by Seven.


  1. I didn’t watch but am hardly surprised. Commercial networks are showing less and less respect for the shows that they broadcast and therefore less respect for their audiences. It has become all about bombarding viewers with ads and promos for whatever products and services they have to peddle. It is quite literally a turn off!

  2. The commercial networks already waste too much time cross-promoting their own ‘personalities’ and programs during all of their own shows – as if they were going to miss an opportunity with an Awards ceremony! Yes, it sucks a bit for the ABC and its winners, especially given the AFI|AACTA CEO’s response about challenges with the model blah blah blah was just so much verbal diarrhea to cover the fact that there was no reasonable response, other than to answer honestly – the honest response presumably being that these were the conditions under which Seven agreed to broadcast the awards. The contract was no doubt filled with references to the required onscreen time for Seven personalities, cross-promotion of Seven shows and major sponsor product/signage placement… so what if two tiny little awards for ABC shows (both of which achieved audiences far in excess of the AACTA broadcast…

  3. Good luck trying to get any feedback taken on board by AACTA. I’m a member and have tried to get my point across the past few years about the terrible tv broadcasts but it doesn’t matter which network has it, major categories have been cut. At the end of the day the film organisation is just happy to have any telecast of its awards, but it is pretty indefensible to have reality category and musical numbers instead of major narrative prizes. The tribute to Cate was way too long anyway, but at least there weren’t cringe worthy comedy segments this year or excluding Best leading film actress like last year. Editing speeches to save a few seconds here and there is just dumb. If ABC are unhappy they should sign a deal and broadcast it themselves like they used to for years.

    • I wish they would, spectrum warrior, but my sense is that they (AACTA) sign a deal with the network, and it is the network/tv producers that decide what is in or out. AACTA/AFI just want the exposure.

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