ABC Director of Television Kim Dalton tackles some curly questions from The Age today, several of which have been raised before on this blog by both myself and readers.
On the question of ABC1 deliberately avoiding the competition at 8:30pm Sundays (exhibit A: The Slap) he says, ”It’s unreasonable in many ways.
“It would be bloody-minded to say we are sitting on the best piece of Australian drama and we expect the audience to just be there. A whole range of factors inform when we put a show to air. Thursday night is a drama slot that’s worked well for us.”
While it worked for The Slap and Rake (plus international titles like Silk), both Crownies and The Straits struggled in the slot. But it’s fair to suggest they might have struggled wherever they were, despite both actually having aspects that were very enjoyable.
On the topic of Randling not firing on Wednesdays, Dalton says: ”You want every show you commission to do well.
”We believe in Andrew (Denton). We still feel good about the program. But you’re disappointed when programs like that don’t connect with the audience. All you can do is try and understand why the reaction has been as it is.”
In truth, not even Adam Hills himself could match the numbers of Spicks and Specks. As we must keep reminding ourselves, the landscape is now changing every two years.
Lastly on the question of the ABC trying to do too much (and doing it to a substandard level), could it simply do less and do it better?
”It’s a very valid point and an ongoing discussion within the ABC,” he says. ”We have finite resources. We have had a significant injection of funds into drama and children. The results of that are on our screens with ABC3 and ABC4Kids,” says Dalton.