Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First casualty of the ABC's new "Fair and Balanced" editorial policy?

A board stacked with Authoritarian-Right culture-warriors, a Brave New Fair and Balanced Editorial Policy, allegations by a Liberal Senator* that Corinne Grant is "the new face of the ACTU," and the announced creation of the position of "chief censor" . . . and hey presto!

The Glasshouse has been axed.

Comedian Corinne Grant says she and co-hosts Wil Anderson and Dave Hughes have known about the decision for a number of weeks

"Obviously we're devastated ... it's very upsetting, but it's not an overnight shock to us. We have known about it for a while now. But we don't understand the decision at all," Grant said.

She says when the ABC broke the news no "good" explanation was given.

Lesna Thomas from ABC TV Publicity today confirmed the show has not been renewed for 2007.

She says it has had five years on air and that the national broadcaster has decided to go in a new direction.

Grant says that is ridiculous.

"Only the ABC would cancel a show that is at the height of its ratings success and say it is time to move on. That would be like Pat Cash winning Wimbledon and going 'oh, it's time to move on'," she said.

"We just won an AFI award, we're nominated for another one, we just got nominated this year for the Most Popular Light Entertainment Program for the first time in the Logies - why would you cancel a show when it's at the height of its popularity?"

Grant says suggestions that the show may have been axed because of regular segments poking fun at Prime Minister John Howard or US President George W Bush are speculative.

"If that was the case, and certainly the ABC have not said that at all, but if that was the case that would be extremely concerning," she said.

"That would be a national broadcaster being dictated to by the incumbent government about its content. Which is the kind of thing you see in North Korea, not Australia."


Compared with some of the great ABC comedy shows--The Big Gig, The Late Show, Live and Sweaty, Frontline--The Glasshouse could be a little hit-and-miss. But it certainly wasn't afraid to poke fun at the Authoritarian-Right-dominated Howard government. The Authoritarian-Right doesn't tolerate/can't handle dissent. The Authoritarian-Right controls the ABC board. The Glasshouse gets the chop. QED.

*The Senator in question is Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and when she's not helping to bring about the death of political satire in Australia, she's accusing SBS of "peddling porn" and "going soft on terrorism." Never heard of her? Neither had I until today--but she's famous enough to have her own Wikipedia entry. (The entry appears to have been hacked: fortunately I've been able to screen-capture it before Wikipedia repairs or removes the page.)

More commentary at BrokenLeftLeg and Today's Apathetic Youth.

UPDATE: Bob Brown's 2 cents' worth:
"The Howard government has shown that it lacks that most Australian of values - a self-deprecating sense of humour"