News that former SBS Independent head Glynis Rowe is being funded by — gasp — SBS to produce a crime series using UK and US writers will come as no surprise to those Australian writers who had dealings with her.
When Rowe first proposed the short-episode series Marx and Venus, she suggested having an open call for scripts and paying the successful ones $500 — in contravention of rules agreed to by the Writers’ Guild, the channels and the producers’ association and at about a quarter of the proper fee.
The cunning plan somehow failed to take into account that the script editor chosen for the project was Geoffrey Atherden — past Writers’ Guild president, and a tenacious fighter against the spec script rackets of producers.
Rowe departed SBS, but not before she’d helped to set it on the path of populism that saw the channel effectively defunded in the last budget — save, apparently, for sufficient funds to commission whole overseas series from former mates.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.