I was chatting to a writer mate earlier and Michael Grade came up in conversation. I've stated previously that I have a lot of time for this bloke. A very media savvy guy.
He gave an interview recently, I believe it's on the ITV corporate site, where he said something like ''Over the last 5 years or so ITV has played it safe, and made some 'orrible programmes as a result.
He went on to say it's all about content and they have to take more risks.
Do I believe that ITV are going to become THE cutting edge risk taking channel? Not for a minute. The economics of advertising don't stack up for a megolith like ITV to take too many risks.
Do I believe they are going to be more approachable with more risky non-cop, Doc, Legal, Relationship drama. Absolutely.
Here's why. It's not because of words, it's because of deeds. I've heard the words many times.
But ITV recently announced that they plan to take 75% of production in house. The stated intent was so that they retained a greater share of ancilillary rights.
But there is another bonus in there too. Instead of having to commit to Indies for a series, if they make it in house, while that show is in production, or even pre-production, if it's not working they can pull the plug a lot quicker.
And that is a good thing. Too much of TV is underperforming, and should and would have been cancelled if it weren't for the ongoing contractual commitments. Witness the BBC gaff with 'New Street Law'' where they committed to 2 series without a shot being filmed. I think it scraped along at about 3 million. Piss poor for a prime time drama.
Leaving these programmes on screen, eeking out a meagre audience is bad for the general health of TV. Too many nights of tuning in and thinking'there's nothing on' means audiences tuning out in droves.
No writer worth their salt should complain if the show is zipped because the audience stay away. There may be many reasons why the audience stay away - The premise, the characters, the writing, the scheduling - some fixable, some not. But there is always a reason. Sometimes things just don't work, and much better for everyone if the death is swift rather than lingering. This move by ITV gives them that ability and the ability to take more risks with more control.
So what do they want? I haven't got a scooby. But I think it bodes well when deeds as well as words point to execs realising that content is the last word.
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5 years ago