The ABC has again acted to lower costs ahead of upcoming budget cuts by axing ABC2 comedy program The Roast.
The Decision to end the program was confirmed at the end of last nights broadcast with writer and performer Mark Humphries informing viewers in typical The Roast self-depreciating style “The show that proves anyone can be on Television will not be coming back to the ABC next year”.
Speaking with me last night Humphries confirmed they had been nervous for the shows future for some time, “when we knew the ABC was facing budget cuts, I felt the 10 minute ABC2 show no one's heard of might not survive.”
Cast and crew learnt of the decision in late September, but were under strict orders to keep it secret until this week.
“It felt strange not being able to tell people.” said Humphries
“Truth be told, the workload (we start writing at 7am) means you kind of just had to get on with it.” “I think most of us just felt we should keep making the best show we could.”
The Roast which starred Tom Glasson, Nich Richardson and Alex Lee among others first launch on ABC2 in 2011 initially in 1 minute segments. The program had been gaining popularity particularly after it moved to the 7:30pm timeslot in August of this year.
When asked how he felt ABC management had handled the decision Humphries told me.
“I think they've been put in a very difficult situation. They told us the news as early as possible. That's allowed us to plan our futures.”
“I'll always be grateful to the ABC for having created this opportunity for us. No other network is willing to give a bunch of nobodies the time to develop their skills.”
Strong pressure to cut budgets at the ABC means The Roast is unlikely to be the last axing confirmed in 2014 with Lateline, local editions of 7:30 and science program Catalyst among a number of shows in doubt. Earlier this year it was announced At The Movies would not return in 2015. While officially it was stated that the shows host were retiring, it widely understood the shows hosts were pressured not to return to help relieve budget pressure.
One senior ABC TV Manager was recently overheard stating, “My job was to come in here and make new shows and instead my job is to tell shows that we already like that they can’t go on.”
The final episode of The Roast will air this Friday the 7th of November.