Although the PBS winter schedule starts at the beginning of October, its main structure is almost ready. This time round, it seems it will be lacking two of its previous mainstays, Eileen Montesin on Sunday nights and Saviour Balzan’s Reporter aired just before the 8pm TVM news.
According to di-ve.com last Wednesday, Eileen Montesin has decided to pull out of the TVM schedule after seven years.
The decision comes just days after the Broadcasting Authority released its latest audience survey confirming that ‘KC’ is the most viewed programme by all audiences over the weekend, registering a peak on Sunday nights with 20.68 per cent between April and June, and second only in audience share to Xarabank on all other days.
Back in 2002, Ms Montesin moved from Super 1 TV to PBS taking with her the popular police drama series Undercover.
Sources quoted by www.di-ve.com said that Ms Montesin wanted to switch to Saturday afternoons with a new show. However, she decided to opt out of the TVM schedules after she failed to reach an agreement with the television station.
She was reported to be reaching a deal with a private television station but this could not be confirmed with Ms Montesin herself, who was unavailable all through last week.
Moreover, the PBS board decided to drop ‘Reporter’ produced by Mediatoday. MaltaToday editor Saviour Balzan presented the 10-minute one-on-one interview.
According to a report in The Sunday Times of 28 June, Mediatoday’s 10-minute weekday TV programme Reporter received e88,000 from the government’s Public Service Obligation fund in just one financial year.
According to a report covering October 2007 to September 2008, Reporter was handed 68 per cent of PBS’s e130,000 PSO allocation for current affairs and discussion programmes.
It was also reported that Reporter cost PBS some e466 a day. According to sources quoted by The Sunday Times, the Reporter programmes for a given week were filmed together in one session and weekly production costs, described as “low level and studio-based”, do not exceed e800.
The most recent Broadcasting Authority audience surveys showed that very few people watched the programme, although that might have to do with the time of its showing, which when other political stations have their news bulletins. Yet, the programme immediately preceding it, Deal or No Deal, had a fair share of the audience.
Other reasons for PBS deciding to do without Reporter could have been due Mr Balzan’s personality who, when compared to such interviewers as Godfrey Grima or Georg Sapiano, comes out as a poor third.
PBS will not replace Reporter with a similar programme, it was reported. The news programme Dissett by the PBS team will continue.
It is still uncertain where one of Malta’s most popular broadcasters, John Bundy, will be come October. Earlier, di-ve.com had reported that John Bundy is expected to defect from PBS to One TV. Mr Bundy is a free agent and, following his rift with production house Dee Media.tv, is expected to take his popular breakfast show to One TV once the new schedule starts in October. Certainly, when he stopped appearing on PBS a few days ago, audience share decreased considerably.
However, according to di-ve.com again, PBS has succeeded in recruiting popular presenter Claudette Pace, who will be producing ‘Sfida’ at prime time on Wednesday night.