Australia's ABC TV Axes BBC-Style Channel Controller Roles

Richard Finlayson

The broadcaster's senior management team will take on new roles and responsibilities with the new format.

SYDNEY – The Australian Broadcasting Corp has done away with the BBC-style management model of channel controllers, with the public broadcaster’s head of television, Richard Finlayson, announcing a restructuring of its senior management team for 2014.

ABC1 controller Brendan Dahill will take on the role of head of programming, responsible for programming main channel ABC1 and secondary digital channel ABC2. Dahill will be assisted by two channel managers, yet to be named. His deputy controller, Natalie Edgar, recently left ABC to take up the post of director of television for BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand.

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Deirdre Brennan, who rejoined the national broadcaster this week after five years with BBC Worldwide, becomes head of children’s television, responsible for youth channel ABC3 and daytime preschool programming on ABC2.

ABC2 controller Stuart Menzies will act in a newly created role --  head of TV content and creative development -- leading the existing team of genre heads across fiction, entertainment, comedy, Indigenous, arts, factual and sports and events.

Arul Baskaran will remain head of online and multiplatform.

“ABC TV has an outstanding and close-knit creative executive team, and I believe this realignment is the one that will best achieve the priorities we’ve set over the next few years,” Finlayson said.

He added that the changes are all internal and will not affect how production partners bring their ideas and content to ABC TV.

ABC this year finished the TV ratings year as the number 3 network, with a prime-time audience share of 14.6 percent, up from 13.6 percent, knocking network Ten out of its traditional position behind leaders the Seven and Nine networks.