New panel show Tractor Monkeys hosted by Merrick Watts will open up the ABC video vaults, with Dave O’Neill and Monty Diamond as team captains.
“It’s retro TV, trawling back through the history of Australian TV and Australia’s history and finding the wonderful and bizarre to talk about. Merrick Watts is the host and we hope has that charisma that Adam (Hills) had and audiences will flock to it.”
Despite initial plans to be produced in Melbourne, the show is now filmed in Sydney.
“It came down to studio and talent availability. It was more pragmatic to make it in Sydney,” he says.
Adam Hills: The Last Leg from Channel 4 in the UK begins this Wednesday.
“When he has finished in the UK he’ll be back for another run of Adam Hills Tonight.”
The show undergoes a title change from Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight.
Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton are moving nights to Tuesdays.
“At the Movies is one show I was keen to grow the franchise rather than just manage it. Margaret and David, as we saw with their 25th Anniversary when they went up to 750,000, potentially have a massive audience,” Dahill explains.
“Tuesday night at 9:30 creates an Arts destination. So we’re pairing At the Movies and Artscape. Sometimes I don’t think we get enough credit for the Arts that we do and maybe that’s been my fault because it feels like it’s been protected or in certain spots and that’s it. So we’ve gone for an Arts hour at Tuesday nights at 9:30 – 10:30.
Jennifer Byrne’s The Book Club series (also retitled) will also share the Artscape timeslot each month.
Poh Ling Yeow is off-screen for the time being, concentrating on her Art instead of TV shows.
“We continue to talk to her and when she’s ready, we’re ready,” he insists.
Thus far there are no key changes to News and Current Affairs with ABC’s successful Monday line-up back as of tonight.
“Monday nights will stay with our established line-up. The only change to our News and Current Affairs offering is our 5:30 News,” he says.
The Early Edition news begins today, produced from WA.
Next week ABC1 premieres a follow-up to the documentary series Making Australia Happy
Making Couples Happy is a 4 part series that Dahill described as compelling viewing.
“It’s relationship therapy. Australia is on the cusp of a relationship crisis. More couples than ever are getting divorced than ever before. We’ve found a bunch of couples whose relationships are at a pivotal point who are happy to be filmed,” he says.
“I learned a lot out of it. Apparently if you’re not saying 5 nice things about your partner then your relationship is in trouble.
“It’s addictive viewing once you start watching it. The couples are compelling and it’s real with real jeopardy involved for these people in terms of how many of them are trying to save their relationships and how many are looking for ‘exit counselling.’”
ABC1 still has too many titles and genres on its 2013 schedule to discuss here. But two of the most anticipated entertainment shows are the return of Spicks and Specks and a new offering from Chris Lilley.
Dahill remains tight-lipped on both. Spicks and Specks, a format owned by the ABC, will feature a completely new cast. With such big shows to fill, Dahill is giving nothing away.
Of Chris Lilley, he defends the performance of Angry Boys without hinting at its successor.
“When you look at the post-analysis on Angry Boys half the audience wasn’t on ABC1 but on iview or the Angry Boys website. It broke the mould in terms of how people engage with the show. I’ve heard people say that Angry Boys was disappointing mainly because of the ratings. But from our perspective the overnights are no longer relevant for some shows,” he maintains.
“I’m really keen to keep working with Chris because I think he is an outstanding Australian talent. Any idea he has gets a really good hearing from me.
“Whatever Chris wants to make we will help him cultivate and to make.”