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For example, some ABC journalists were frustrated with the program in the wake of the Kevin Bailey controversy because – in their view – it wasn't funny and only served to reinforce arguments that the national broadcaster is biased.

Others within the ABC are firmly of the view that politicians shouldn't dictate what is and isn't acceptable satire.

Despite the ABC's head of entertainment apologising to Mr Bailey, management has stood by Tonightly's right to produce eyebrow-raising content.

"We've received nothing but support," one Tonightly employee said.

The staff member added the show wasn't going to change tact any time soon.

Dan Ilic revealed on Monday he had been appointed Tonightly's new showrunner. The comedian has been a satirist for Al Jazeera and hosted popular web series That Startup Show.

An ABC spokeswoman confirmed Tonightly has been extended and will return "after a brief hiatus".

"The series will return to air Monday, June 18," she said.

Tonightly, which aired four days a week on ABC 2, pulled low ratings during its debut run. An average episode got less than 50,000 people watching, which meant it didn't make it into the top 20 shows on any given day.

Not one to let any opportunity for a joke to slide, however, Ballard poked fun at the show's ratings on air.

"I don't know why I'm talking… nobody's watching," he joked at one point.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is an entertainment reporter at Fairfax Media.

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