The ABC shelves The Checkout, Fairfax back-pedals, Seven announces more cricket commentators, and other media tidbits of the day.

The Checkout checks out. Consumer affairs show The Checkout will not go to another season, following a funding freeze on the ABC’s budget. The show announced on Twitter this morning that it was about to start production on a third season, but the ABC had decided not to fund the the show, “citing budget cuts and the relatively high cost of making the show”.

“We’ve tried to be a show that does the core business of a public broadcaster … A public broadcaster that’s independent of commercial influence is the natural home, probably the only home, for a show like The Checkout,” the program’s statement said. “We’re disappointed the ABC’s funding priorities do not include The Checkout.”

The show had been aired by the ABC since 2013, and its statement said its cost hadn’t increased for two years; the next series would have cost the same or less, and it was already planned to be produced this financial year before the government announced its funding freeze. However, the latest season’s ratings were down, and a large drop from the heights of the show’s first season.

In a statement, an ABC spokesman said a seventh series had not been commissioned for 2018-19, but the show may return in the future: 

The programming slate regularly changes for any number of reasons, including the need to strike a balance between new and returning programs for audiences. The ABC is proud of its long association with The Checkout and production company Giant Dwarf, with which it has worked on other programs, such as The Letdown and Growing Up Gracefully.

Department of corrections. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have issued corrections in today’s papers for front page headlines that said NSW and Victoria respectively would lose in a GST deal announced yesterday.

As we noted yesterday, the Herald’s cover stood in marked contrast to the Daily Telegraph’s headline, which declared the opposite:

Glenn McGrath joins cricket call. Seven has continued its drip-feed of cricket commentary announcements, naming Glenn McGrath as another member of its team. He will join previously-announced commentators Ricky Ponting, Damien Fleming and Michael Slater in calling test matches on Seven, which won the rights (to be shared with Foxtel) to the cricket from Nine. While Nine had previously come under fire for its extremely white and male commentary team, a Seven spokesman has assured Crikey there will be more than one female cricket commentator working as part of its coverage.

The revolving door. ABC News Hobart journalist Natalie Whiting will be the broadcaster’s next Papua New Guinea correspondent. Whiting will replace Eric Tlozek, who is moving to Jerusalem as an ABC Middle East correspondent. The ABC is the only foreign news organisation with a bureau in PNG.

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Apart from the AFL (689,000 on Seven and 251,000 on Foxtel) and the NRL (675,000 on Nine and 213,000 on Foxtel), a night to forget. The Thursday night ep of MasterChef usually plus a million or more for Ten. Last night was close, but not the lucky door prize — 996,000. There was a feeling we have seen it all before. It was Seven’s night and that was it. Lots of sport tonight and over the weekend. Sleep tight. Read the rest on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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