Australian Broadcasting Corp. to Lose Director of Television

Kim Dalton is leaving the national broadcaster after seven years and steering ABC into multichannel, multiplatform broadcasting.

SYDNEY -- The Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) is searching for a new director of television after Kim Dalton announced he was leaving the national broadcaster next year.

After seven years, Dalton will leave his position February 2013, but remain a consultant to the ABC, managing director Mark Scott said in a statement Monday. No reason was given for Dalton's departure.

Scott said that Dalton would leave the ABC with a remarkable legacy of achievement. “Kim has driven ABC television to create more compelling Australian content and deliver it to more Australians in more ways," he said. 

Dalton has overseen the ABC’s TV services through a period of significant change, from a broadcaster operating two free to air channels to a multichannel, multi platform service provider.  

The ABC now operates 24-hour channels, ABC1 and ABC2 – with ABC4Kids and younger skewing audiences sharing ABC2 , tweens channel ABC3, 24 hour news service ABCNews 24, which also streams live via the ABC website and YouTube, and arguably the most widely watched online catch up TV service in the country at iView.

Scott said one of Dalton’s key achievements was helping the broadcaster earn an increase in federal in 2008, which allowed it to move back into  drama commissioning and production. As a result the ABC was able to return to “leadership in the field of Australian drama” commissioning dramas that have achieved both critical and ratings success.

In recent years these have included adult series such as The Slap, Paper Giants, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Rakeand Jack Irish,as well as supporting indigenous filmmakers through landmark drams such as Redfern Now and Mabo.

On the ABC’ slate for 2013 are new series from Summer Heights High and Angry Boys creator Chris Lilley, The Dr. Blake Mysteries, the story of "Australia’s most unlikely sporting hero" in the telepic Cliffy and The Time Of Our Lives, a long-form drama featuring three generations of a modern Australian family.

Scott also said Dalton had led the ABC’s push into Asia. Dalton is chair of the Asian Animation Summit, which is now established as an annual regional financing and co-production event.

Drama series Serangoon Road starring Don Hany and Joan Chen is currently in production and is being co-produced with HBO Asia, while Hoopla!, a 52 part pre-school program is being co-produced with China’s CCTV and is the largest CCTV co-production to date outside of Asia.

Speaking last month about ABCTV’s programming philosophy Dalton said that the national broadcaster believes in great television. "We believe in commissioning, acquiring and delivering distinctive programs, and making them available where and when our audiences expect to find them - on our very distinctive, familiar and much loved suite of broadcast channels, through iview or connected TVs, PCs, tablets and mobile phones." he said.

“Kim leaves us after a very strong year on ABC television, with audience share up on all networks and producing a highly distinctive slate of Australian content,” Scott added.

The ABC will begin a search for a new head of its television networks immediately and says it hopes to make an appointment in early 2013.