Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope, Back in Very Small Business. Picture: ABC
Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope, Back in Very Small Business. Picture: ABC

ABC announces dedicated comedy channel

LAUGHS all night long are on the cards with the ABC announcing it will rebrand digital channel ABC2.

The new ABC COMEDY channel will feature a nightly news show, Tonightly with Tom Ballard, and a 70 per cent boost in comedy content from December 4.

This is the first of many major initiatives expected under managing director ­Michelle Guthrie, who took up the role in May.

Media analyst Steve Allen has described the decision as "an odd move".

"No one, other than pay-TV, has done wall-to-wall comedy in peak night before," Mr Allen said. "So it will be a real test."

Tom Ballard’s Tonightly will break down the daily news and pop culture. Picture: ABC
Tom Ballard’s Tonightly will break down the daily news and pop culture. Picture: ABC

The ABC's Director of Television, David Anderson, has backed Ms Guthrie, saying the move was "nothing but good news".

"Michelle is on the right track, she's willing to invest more in Australian content," he said.

"We're building on our strength, delivering great Australian comedy, helping to break new talent. We saw an opportunity to rebrand ABC2, which lacked a bit of identity."

ABC COMEDY has secured season two of critically acclaimed British comedy, Fleabag, starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
ABC COMEDY has secured season two of critically acclaimed British comedy, Fleabag, starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Children's programming during the day will remain unchanged, though it will finish half-an-hour later at 7.30pm.

The ABC's main channel will continue to air audience favourites including a 10th series of Wil Anderson's Gruen, Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell (series eight), The Weekly With Charlie Pickering and Comedy Next Gen.

New international titles include season two of critically acclaimed Fleabag (in 2018), Catastrophe season three and Inside Amy Schumer seasons three and four.

Further announcements about the ABC's direction are expected in November.

Wil Anderson will continue to host Gruen on the main channel, with encore performances on ABC COMEDY. Picture: ABC
Wil Anderson will continue to host Gruen on the main channel, with encore performances on ABC COMEDY. Picture: ABC

ABC Comedy - What will we gain?

■ New Aussie series' including Back In Very Small Business starring Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler, a reboot of Very Small Business; Squinters, a narrative series about commuters from the makers of No Activity and Wilfred); and Virgin Bush in which city slicker comedian Neel Kolatkar test drives life on the land.

Tonightly with Tom Ballard, a news and pop culture breakdown from Monday to Thursday at 9pm, with a Best Of on Fridays.

■ International titles including Fleabag (s2), Game Face, Catastrophe (s3), Episodes (s4-5), Murder in Successville, Inside Amy Schumer (s3-4).

Neel Kolhatkar stars in Virgin Bush. Picture: ABC
Neel Kolhatkar stars in Virgin Bush. Picture: ABC

■ New iview titles such as #CelesteChallengeAccepted with comedian Celeste Barber, and The Chinaboy Show with John Luc (aka Mychonny).

■ Podcasts including Santo, Sam and Ed's Total Football season 2 and Positions Vacant with Susie Youssef and Ray Badran.

■ Stand-up comedy - lots of it, including Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala, opening night supershow and The Great Debate.

ABC Comedy - What will we lose?

■ Factual programming, docos, niche programming.

■ Louis Theroux specials will move back to the main channel.


School calls on community to attend the fete

School calls on community to attend the fete

The biennial fete will help fund the school's modern technology.

Non-complying roadside bins to get slapped with stickers

Non-complying roadside bins to get slapped with stickers

Keep the correct rubbish rubbish in the bin

Big names of netball to coach in the Lockyer

Big names of netball to coach in the Lockyer

Newly appointed Diamonds coach will attend the All Stars Clinic.

Local Partners