‘Tonightly With Tom Ballard’ Axed By The ABC After 12 Months


Tom Ballard alleged sexual assault

Comedian Tom Ballard’s talk show Tonightly has been axed, the ABC has announced.

The ABC said in a statement that Tonightly With Tom Ballard wouldn’t be renewed and will air its last episode on September 7.

Host Tom Ballard said that it had been “an honour and a privilege” to host the show, “even though we never got to be on Media Watch.”

“I feel so proud of the ‘work’ we made and I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by laughter and stupidity for an entire year,” he said.

“My sincere thanks go to the brilliant Tonightly team, the ABC and the fans of Cory Bernardi.”

The ABC said the show “deliberately pushed boundaries to inform and entertain.”

“Attracting younger audiences requires bold approaches and we continually experiment with new content and new formats particularly on digital platforms,” a spokesperson said.

“We are proud of the program and its role in supporting some of Australia’s best emerging comedy talent.

“Our thanks go to the very talented team members for their hard work and dedication in producing a complex and cracking show in quick time, over some 150 episodes.

“We look forward to working with them again in the future. A special thanks to Tom for helping us to laugh, cry and sigh about the world.”

The program was launched in December 2017 on free-to-air channel ABC Comedy, and ran four nights a week.

The announcement comes days after the media watchdog cleared the show of wrongdoing over a segment that labelled a conservative politician a “cunt”.

In the segment of the show, aired in March, Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives party candidate Kevin Bailey appeared in a mock up of an election poster reading “Kevin Bailey is a cunt”.

Last week the Australian Communications and Media Authority failed to uphold complaints of offensive language and harm over the segment from communications minister Mitch Fifield and Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi.

Fifield said “vitriolic abuse of this kind has no place on the national broadcaster” and Bernardi said the attack went “far beyond satire”.

But ACMA said the segment “appeared in a comedy program, directed at a mature audience, which clearly signposted its irreverent style.”

“The program contained content which may have challenged some viewers, reflecting the particular comedic style of its host, and included material that was intended to be satirical,” it said.