The ABC axes ‘Tonightly with Tom Ballard’
The ABC is pulling the plug on ABC Comedy’s flagship series Tonightly with Tom Ballard after 150 episodes due to low ratings.
Produced in-house and screening at 9 pm or later each day from Monday to Thursday with a ‘best of’ on Friday, the show launched last December when the ABC re-branded ABC2. It promised to be fast moving, irreverent, topical and funny but viewers did not respond: last night’s episode drew just 32,000 viewers in the five metro cities.
After the final episode airs on September 7 the ABC will schedule a variety of comedy programs in that slot until the launch of Princess Pictures’ new series Superwog in October.
In a statement the ABC said: “ Attracting younger audiences requires bold approaches and we continually experiment with new content and new formats particularly on digital platforms. We remain committed to exploring and developing projects that connect with different demographics.
“Tonightly deliberately pushed boundaries to inform and entertain. We are proud of the program and its role in supporting some of Australia’s best emerging comedy talent. Our thanks go to the very talented team members for their hard work and dedication in producing a complex and cracking show in quick time, over some 150 episodes.
“We look forward to working with them again in the future. A special thanks to Tom for helping us to laugh, cry and sigh about the world.”
The ABC flagged a fresh approach but provided no details and said it would continue to develop innovative content on broadcast TV and digital services including the comedies Back in Very Small Business and Get Krack!n and live shows such as the Splendour in the Grass TV special on Rage.
Ballard said: “Getting the chance to host Tonightly has been an absolute honour and privilege, even though we never got to be on Media Watch. I feel so proud of the ‘work’ we made and I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by laughter and stupidity for an entire year. My sincere thanks go to the brilliant Tonightly team, the ABC and the fans of Cory Bernardi.”