Farewell to ABC2….

Favourite shows got their start on ABC's "off-Broadway" channel, ending a 12 year run as it rebrands to ABC Comedy.

ABC2 is ending after 12 years on air, as ABC Comedy takes over from 7:30pm Monday.

ABC2 heralded a new era in Australian television, launching on March 7 2005.

Remarkably, back then there were “genre restrictions” limiting what the channel could show, so it launched with such thrilling titles as Landline A Place In France, Australia Wide, Landline & Studio 22 before shutting down late nights.

In 2006 media ownership laws were passed in parliament, paving the way for entertainment and broader titles.

Offering more edgy content than its big sister channel, ABC2 has largely featured Australian & British content in Comedy, Entertainment, Drama, Factual, Sport, SciFi, & Children’s and some experimental programming.

Titles such as News Breakfast, Please Like Me, Review with Myles Barlow (which has since spawned a US adaptation) and Kitchen Cabinet all got their start on ABC2.

Under channel controller Stuart Menzies it once offered themed nights, including Sunday Best docos.

Amongst the local commissioned comedies were The Roast, Dirty Laundry Live, Fancy Boy, Soul Mates, Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am, This is Littleton, Maximum Choppage, The Strange Calls, Aaron Chen TonightThe Bazura Project

Locally produced youth-skewing dramas included I Rock and twentysomething, Docos / factual / reality included #7DaysLater, Head First, Shitsville Express, Dumb Drunk & Racist, Housemates, Not Quite Art, Back Seat Drivers, Tattoo Tales while triplej tv offered music.

Debate show The Hack Half Hour was better than Hack Live.

Good Game was one of the channel’s biggest shows until it wrapped suddenly a year ago, while Whovians offered Doctor Who fans a safe space.

State-based sport also found a home on ABC2, whether the ParalympicsNew South Wales Rugby Union, VFL, SANFL, WAFL, Women’s National Basketball League or W-League and Marngrook Footy Shows.

There have been US dramas (notably Breaking Bad, Deadwood and The Wire), British comedies and risqué docos, late-night US hosts, Comedy Up Late and reality from abroad: Catfish or Sex Box anyone?

You can read more on the new channel changes here, and minor changes to ABC KIDS here.

18 Responses

  1. The channel will need lots of fresh local content to make it’s mark. The new tonight show may do much to achieve that. It could also do worse than bringing back such ABC2 luminaries as Nich Richardson, Mark Humphries and Lawrence Mooney.

  2. so the docos will now have no home?? 🙁 i actually liked Catfish & the new Suspect, but putting River Monsters on at 7.30 was just plain bad programming, i’m sure they could have found some PG rated stuff to put there.

  3. Don’t Panic! It’s just an experiment, mostly repeats and no sign of “Mother and Son” or Mrs Bucket. Old Spickies are still there together with a catch-up of Gruen, Ex-PM, and Hard Quiz. Don’t like what you see today, come back in the new year as the schedule may be totally different.

  4. Actually David, it wasn’t the first multichannel in Australia.

    ABC Kids/FLY TV kicked off in 2001. Russel Balding closed it in 2003, and then it came back as ABC2 in 2005.

    It was available terrestrially as well as being retransmitted on Austar. Check it out on wikipedia. (plus I worked there)


  5. I actually really enjoyed the “A Place In…” series. Loved those old idents too, a refreshing change from the stale old ABC at the time. Vale ABC2.

    And I wish they’d bring back Fly TV!

  6. And its been all down hill since it launched. Repeats of cable trash like River Monsters, Catfish: The TV Show, Sexbots Are Coming and I’m An Adult Baby make up the lineup now. At least the ABC are making another news/variety show hosted by a standup. How much other original local content is on secondary channels? Even the first run foreign content you can count on one hand.

  7. I am going to miss the movie-length docos on Sundays, among other shows too.

    I also agree what others have said – that this is an unnecessary change. Sure, I do like some comedies, but I cant see ABC Comedy lasting for long.

  8. This won’t last-there’s only so much comedy to fill it up and much of it is very. very well repeated stuff-don’t know who would think this was a good idea-all other ‘single content/ channels have failed (with the exception of the egregious horse race channel so far, but that is another tail).

    1. You could be right but there is a trend for showing more stand up comedy especially by streaming sites which arguably are not everyone’s cup of tea. The ABC to my mind is still indicating that it really cant determine how to best use its government funded resources, if it required commercial advertising to survive this comedy channel experiment may have had a second thought.

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