Greek Pubcaster Is Ordered Back On the Air, Told to Restructure

Filmmakers fret over possible loss of promised funds from ERT

In a  Solomon-like ruling, Greece’s Council of State ordered that pubcaster ERT resume regular terrestrial transmissions immediately, while undergoing draconian restructuring. The court also said the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had been within its rights to pull the plug last week.

Government talks are expected to resume Wednesday about how to keep regular programming  going at ERT, until it is replaced by a leaner pubcaster with less than half the current staff of 2,700.

ERT’s news service has been airing via satellite since June 13, two days after its shutdown, when the European Broadcasting Union came to the rescue and started beaming the feed into Greek homes as protesters rallied outside ERT headquarters in Athens.

The feed showed ERT workers breaking into applause late Monday when the ruling was announced. The ERT orchestra reportedly played an old news jingle to cheering supporters outside the building.

But for many Greeks, including the country’s film community, there isn’t much to cheer about.

“That place was really a nightmare: everybody was aware that a lot of money was being spent in very unclear ways,” film director Olga Malea (“Little Greek Godfather,” “Honey & The Pig”) told Variety.

That said, ERT’s sudden closure is proving a disaster for Greek filmmakers.

“Many projects that had been approved for ERT financing are now up in the air. We don’t know if they will ever pay up. This is a major blow to our entire film industry” lamented Malea, who has little hope of recouping ERT funds for her latest pic, psychological drama “Marjoram.”

When the cash-strapped conservative government announced the blackout, it fired most of ERT’s 2,700 workforce, claiming it was a bloated and wasteful enterprise.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • J. Michael Mendel Dead: 'The Simpsons'

    J. Michael Mendel, 'The Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty' Producer, Dies at 54

    Animation producer J. Michael Mendel, best known for his work on “The Simpsons” and “Rick and Morty,” has died. The four-time Emmy award-winner was 54. A spokesperson for Adult Swim, the network where “Rick and Morty” airs, confirmed the death in a statement, saying, “All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely [...]

  • Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell organize

    Emmys: Basic Cable Networks Hold Their Own, With Nat Geo Leading the Way

    The 2019 Emmys were a harsh, recurring reminder for broadcast networks that their awards lunch is being eaten by premium cablers and streaming services featuring buzzy prestige shows. But basic cablers, despite collectively logging a year-over-year decline in statuettes, managed to grab onto some key prizes with standout titles such as “Pose,” “Killing Eve” and [...]

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Allegedly a Target of Arrested Solider's Terror Plans

    CNN was allegedly discussed as a potential target by a U.S. Army solider who was arrested this weekend after making known his plans for terror attacks, according to court documents released Monday and subsequent press reports. According to documents filed in Kansas federal court, Jarrett William Smith, 24, was charged with distribution of information related [...]

  • Lorne Michaels - Outstanding Variety Sketch

    Despite Dearth of Awards, Broadcasters Benefit From Televising Emmys

    The Emmys are not showing much love to the Big 4 broadcast networks these days — but don’t expect the awards show to move to a streaming service any time soon. Once again, this year’s awards were dominated by cable, premium cable, and streaming platforms. HBO took home the most Emmys with 34 total, while [...]

  • STUMPTOWN - "Forget it Dex, It's

    TV News Roundup: 'Stumptown' Adds Jay Duplass, Zosia Mamet, Zulay Henao 

    In today’s TV news roundup, “Stumptown” books three guest stars and BET announced new premiere dates for two new Tyler Perry projects. DATES BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios have pushed back the premiere of their original dramas “The Oval” and “Sistas” to Oct. 23. “The Oval,” which has the 9 p.m. time slot, follows [...]

  • '9-1-1: Lone Star' Rounds Out Main

    '9-1-1: Lone Star' Rounds Out Main Cast With Four Series Regulars

    Fox’s upcoming drama “9-1-1: Lone Star” has filled out the remainder of its series regular roles. Natacha Karam, Brian Michael Smith, Rafael Silva and Julian Works have all joined the series alongside previously announced cast members Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler, Jim Parrack, Sierra McClain and Ronen Rubinstein. Karam will play Marjan Marwani, described as an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content