The AFL program Marngrook Footy Show has been axed after 12 years on air, with NITV-SBS’ decision met by anger from one of the program’s hosts and its legion of fans.
- NITV said budgetary reasons had much to do with the decision to cancel Marngrook Footy Show
- Marngrook Footy Show host Grant Hansen claimed the program was a “major calling card” for NITV
- The decision to axe the program has been criticised on social media platforms
NITV management said it had cancelled the program largely because of budgetary reasons, but host Grant Hansen felt its popularity meant it should remain on air in 2020.
“It’s a baffling decision,” Hansen told The Age.
“Marngrook was a major calling card for NITV. It was one of the most popular shows on that network. It brought people to NITV.”
The program, named after the Indigenous Australian ball game, had also aired on the ABC and community TV prior after being launched in 2007.
It had developed a loyal following and was nominated for a Logies award in 2015 and 2016.
Support for Marngrook Footy Show has already led to the creation of a petition to have the program continued.
Politicians, media commentators and viewers were among those who took to social media to express their displeasure with the decision to axe Marngrook Footy Show.
NITV manager Tanya Orman said Marngrook Footy Show did not fit into the broadcaster’s future plans.
“The media landscape has changed significantly over that time, and we have to make difficult decisions about how we spend our limited budgets across our programming,” NITV manager Tanya Orman said in a statement.
“While it was a difficult decision to make after such a long run, NITV remains committed to delivering quality AFL coverage from a uniquely Indigenous perspective.
“We are looking at formats for a new show that will join our existing sports coverage.”
The axing of Marngrook Footy Show came almost five months after the Nine Network pulled the pin on its long-running AFL program The Footy Show.
The program had been re-formatted this year in an attempt to compete with the Seven Network’s popular The Front Bar but failed to capture a significant audience.
The Footy Show debuted in 1994 with co-hosts Eddie McGuire and Sam Newman at the helm and became a ratings powerhouse.
Garry Lyon, James Brayshaw, Rebecca Maddern and Craig Hutchison had all hosted the program over the last decade.
The Nine Network did broadcast a grand final edition of The Footy Show during the week leading up to this year’s season decider between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney.