ABC Foreign Correspondent staff have just been informed (10am Friday 1 April) that their 9:20 pm Tuesday timeslot is being bounced to save The Bill which has dipped below a one million audience in the face of stiff competition from Channel Seven’s Dancing With the Stars.
Staff at Foreign Correspondent,
which in the last two years suffered a $1 million cut to its budget and
duration (from one hour to 40 minutes) and the loss of in-studio
presenter, are outraged at the ABC’s ratings-driven motivation.
Foreign Correspondent is being told it will screen anywhere
between 9:50pm and 10pm Tuesday which takes it out of prime time and is
potentially a death blow to the program. There is said to be no
managerial dissatisfaction with Foreign Correspondent, an Australian-content production, but director of television, Sandra Levy, is desperate to save The Bill,
which is seen to be vital to the viability of the ABC’s television
schedule, reliant as it is on imported shelf programs, mainly British.