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ABC confirms plans for Catalyst in 2017

NewsKevin PerryComment
 Image - ABC TV

Image - ABC TV

The ABC has today confirmed controversial science series, Catalyst will be returning in 2017 as an internally commissioned production, but with a revised format.

Under the proposed plan, a series of 17 hour-long documentaries will be created to replace the existing 30-minute magazine-style program, which launched in its current format in 2001.

The hour-long focus will enable Catalyst to explore a range of science ideas in depth, using leading expert subject presenters, rather than a fixed ensemble of science reporters.

The Catalyst team will also deliver short form content around each issue and throughout the year to increase the ABC’s digital science offering on and off ABC platforms.

Up to 9 ongoing staff members are expected to  be affected by the changes. Consultations have begun with the ABC offering alternate positions for some staff.

When asked about the future of Dr Maryanne Demasi, the presenter responsible for two controversial episodes of Catalyst that had to be deleted from the ABC website after it was proven the science presented in the episodes was flawed, an ABC spokesperson told DeciderTV:

"We aren’t commenting on individual members of staff given we are now in a consultation period."

Catalyst will now be co-located with other Science Units in Radio and Science Online to foster collaboration and ensure 'editorial excellence with greater promotional synergies.'

The ABC is now looking to recruit an experienced Executive Producer to manage a small internal production team.

The Director of ABC TV, Richard Finlayson, said the proposed change in direction was driven by changing audience demands.

“Catalyst has made a huge contribution to science communication over 16 years. But, audiences can now get instant access to quality content anywhere in the world and we must ensure our programs can have the greatest possible public impact.
“Under this model, we will encourage excellence by allowing the best minds in Australia to pitch their science ideas no matter how local or how global.”