Australia's ABC head Levy leaves for "Channel Nine"

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) television head, Sandra Levy, has quit to become the director of development for "Channel Nine." Her new role is expected to focus on drama.

ABC managing director Russell Balding said that Ms Levy had lifted audiences to "historically unprecedented" levels. However, Ms Levy came under fire during her ABC tenure for an overly conservative programming approach to major news stories - notably a sluggish response to coverage of the December 2004 South Asian Tsunami. She was criticised for refusing to interrupt regular programming to go to breaking news reports.

The Channel Nine network, that she now joins, is in a rebuilding phase after coming under heavy ratings pressure in the past 12 months. Long the dominant commercial network in Australia, in 2005 it has seen numerous changes in its executive ranks, including the sudden resignation of CEO David Gyngell.

Channel Nine's interim CEO, television veteran Sam Chisholm, has launched cost-cutting at the network.