Local television station TVB has axed its long-standing English-language current affairs programme The Pearl Report, first broadcast in 1988.
The second last episode of the programme was aired on Monday, and the last episode is expected to air next week. It came after Diana Lin, the programme’s longtime host, retired in February this year, after working in the industry for more than 30 years.
TVB’s English-language Pearl channel has two other current affairs-related programmes: Straight Talk and Money Magazine.
A source who spoke on condition of anonymity – told HKFP that the licensing requirements for the television station stated that the Pearl channel is required to have at least one current affairs programme and one documentary programme.
“Straight Talk will be the current affairs programme, and Money Magazine will turn into a new programme named Pearl Magazine to fulfil the licence requirements,” the source added.
Lin told HKFP that the show had won numerous awards over the years: “The decision came as an utter surprise to me about three months into my retirement… There’re always concerns about ratings for English language channels in an increasingly localized society. The Pearl Report consistently had the highest ratings and esteem vis-a-vis Straight Talk and Money Magazine.”
She said The Pearl Report was a documentary series that “strived to probe into all aspects of social calamities and shortfalls” and its substitute would feature short segments, which will not be in-depth. “Many people think we are just a local programme but actually we are broadcast internationally via the TVB network,” she said.
Last year, TVB axed its broadcasts of two English-language programmes, The Pulse and The Works – both produced by public broadcaster RTHK.
Last August, public broadcaster RTHK ended its 24-hour relay of BBC World Service radio in favour of a state-run Mandarin-language station.
HKFP has approached TVB for comment.