Remember the days when after-school TV was appointment viewing? You'd race home, try to knock out your homework as quickly as possible, and switch on for cartoons, magazine shows like The Big Arvo or The Shak, or even a hit of Totally Wild. Then you'd try to squeeze in as much as possible before dinnertime.
Well, Australian children's programming on commercial television is under threat more than ever. Each TV network is required by law to produce a certain quota of TV for kids, but in recent years, it's been buried in obscure time-slots on multi-channels like 7TWO, 10Peach, and 9GO!. And earlier this year, some networks asked to have the quotas scrapped due to the amount of content on streaming services, and the high cost of production involved in local programming.
Joining me on the podcast this week is a man who hosted some children's shows on the Seven Network in the early 1990s, when the genre was highly valued. James Sherry was one of the original hosts of long-running cartoon block Saturday Disney, and then hosted one of the best kid's game shows ever created, A*mazing. We reflected on the popularity of the shows, our common history working on Saturday Disney, and whether the call to scrap quotas is a good thing or not.
James Sherry is on Twitter @thejamessherry.
The article referenced in this podcast is 'Broadcasters, producers at loggerheads over children's content quotas' by Karl Quinn and Zoe Samios at Sydney Morning Herald.
Since this episode was recorded, due to COVID-19, the Australian government has scrapped quotas on Drama, Documentary and Children's television for the remainder of 2020. Seven dropped their daily children's block immediately in favour of re-runs of old episodes of Auction Squad and Harry's Practice. You can read more at TV Tonight.
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What Shall We Do About...? is hosted and produced by Sam Robinson, who is on Twitter @samsquareeyes.