ABC TV restructure abolishes controllers with new head of content role

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ABC TV has reorganised its executive team to focus on content creation across all its platforms.

The restructure will see Stuart Menzies, controller of ABC1, put in a new role as head of TV content and creative development. Menzies will lead a team of department heads across all genres – fiction, entertainment, comedy, Indigenous, arts, factual and sports and events – to develop content for all platforms.

Brendan Dahill, controller for ABC1, will step up as head of programming for ABC1 and ABC2, with the assistance of two channel managers.

ABC TV has also hired Diedre Brennan, who started as head of children’s TV today. Brennan was director of television for BBC Worldwide, a job Dahill had held until he joined the ABC as channel controller in 2010.

Aurl Baskaran will stay on as head of online and multiplatform, the ABC’s director of television Richard Finlayson said in a statement.

“The existing controller model will be replaced with a structure that reallocates responsibilities within the existing team and will help meet our objective to cement ABC TV and iView as the home of the best quality, most impactful and entertaining Australian content,” Finlayson said.

“ABC TV has an outstanding and close-knit creative executive team, and I believe this realignment is the one that will best achieve the priorities we’ve set over the next few years.”

Finlayson said the changes will not affect how their production partners present ideas and content to ABC TV.

The new model will come into effect on January 1.


  1. Jack B. Nimble
    16 Dec 13
    7:18 pm

  2. Makes sense, I always thought the ‘Controllers’ model was an idea imported from the BBC which didn’t make much sense in the first place.

  3. Goodbye Aunty
    16 Dec 13
    11:15 pm

  4. Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Malcolm is lulling them before culling them.

  5. Aunty Jack
    17 Dec 13
    1:28 pm

  6. Goodbye Aunty … Malcolm will be long gone before Aunty.

  7. harry
    17 Dec 13
    2:01 pm

  8. Sorry Richard but as Head of Television you should be leading content (which excludes News and Current Affairs which is not part of his brief). It didn’t work under your predecessor and relieves you of guiding your team creatively. I note too the new job position wasn’t advertised so the same old ABC incumbents just drift around filling jobs in a non meritocratic environment that is unaccountable. It seems that the Head of Television is well out of his depth and succumbed to the bureaucracy within six months of being appointed. The ABC got an extra $130 million funding for five years for drama, comedy and documentary. Most of it has been mediocre and pissed up against the wall. I’d be watching out for Malcolm too.

  9. chris
    17 Dec 13
    3:00 pm

  10. You article contains a mistake – Stuart Menzies was Controller of ABC2 not ABC1

  11. Ballabo
    18 Dec 13
    10:22 am

  12. I think Dahill does seem more suited to a programmer position and Menzies to a creative/commissioning one, and have them covering all platforms. Let’s hope it works in practice however.