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Oz pubcaster makes dramatic move

Net negotiated extra $7.8 mil in its May funding submission

SYDNEY — Pubcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corp., criticized for dropping the ball on Aussie drama, unveiled 15 hours of drama Monday on its 2007 slate, thanks to a boost in government funding.

ABC negotiated an extra A$10 million ($7.8 million) in its May funding submission.

“With the additional funding over the three years, we expect to leverage total production budgets of over A$90 million with the independent sector,” said ABC TV topper Kim Dalton.

Pubcaster has commissioned three drama skeins.

  • “East of Everything,” which looks at the effects of serendipity on the lives of its characters, is produced by Deb Cox (“Seachange”), Fiona Eagger (“Society Murders”) and Roger Monk (“The Secret Life of Us”).

  • “Bed of Roses” follows a woman who finds her cheating husband has left her penniless. It’s produced by Mark Ruse (“Kath & Kim”) and Stephen Luby (“Crackerjack”).

  • “The Librarians,” a story of love, betrayal, revenge — and Book Week — is produced by and toplines Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler.

Pubcaster also announced Rachel Ward has inked to play Kate McDonald in previously commissioned rural drama “Rainshadow,” a co-prod with Southern Star.

ABC talkshow “Enough Rope With Andrew Denton” will return in 2007.

Web content is another ABC priority, after its laffer “The Chaser’s War on Everything” saw a 25% increase in auds when it was made available as Web downloads. Pubcaster says 20-25 ABC skeins will bow on the Internet next year.

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