ITV Bid To Lose More Viewers
Alright, I can understand cutting makeover shows. I can understand scrapping Des and Mel (although I'd argue, trash as it was, that it was a show that had a firm niche, and a firm core audience - the success of Richard and Judy and Paul O'Grady tells you that). But cutting drama? Come on.
Apparently, they want to buy more American stuff. Fair enough, some cracking drama has come out of the States in recent years - Lost, the CSIs, 24, Deadwood, the list goes on. But, at a time when we're struggling (bar the odd Peep Show-shaped exception) to turn out truly classic comedy, drama is one thing that we can really compete with the Americans at. I need hardly mention the words Doctor and Who, but what about State of Play? And Life on Mars, a show so good an American remake was announced only a month after its last episode? If you're going to scale back on the crap, and save money so that you can afford to put some into good programmes, surely one of the things you don't want to scrimp on is good drama, especially when the BBC are doing such a good job of kicking your arse over it? Apparently not. ITV are proud of the success of I'm A Celebrity... and X-Factor, and rightly so, as they're good shows (quiet at the back). However, rather than having them stand out as good proponents of the genre, they want to flood the market with "more long-running entertainment formats" like them.
And remember, this is ITV. This is the channel that brought us The Second Coming and Hillsborough. This is the channel that brought us Cracker, for Christ's sake. If they want to really re-establish themselves, they could do a lot worse than just giving large portions of their budget to the McGoverns and Bleasdales of the world and letting them run wild with it. After all, ITV's fear is in losing ground to the multichannels - but if there's one area in which they (and yes, including Sky) still just don't have the clout yet, it's in attracting big-name writers and production companies to make massive, smash-hit, intelligent drama. The Beeb can still do it, and ITV could still do it if they wanted to. I can understand that nobody wants another Rosemary and Thyme, but surely nobody could argue that even just one Jimmy McGovern drama every couple of years enriches the TV world immeasurably. And personally, I'd rather see a load of chances taken, with each year seeing a load of crap but one genuine diamond - for a million Bad Girlses, it would only take one Prime Suspect to make it worthwhile.
And that's to say nothing of the fact that they're no longer making kids' programmes in-house (and there have been plenty of CiTV shows over the years that gave CBBC a run for their money), and will apparently "review the future of one-off documentaries and wildlife programmes". Yeah, because they're crap, and no-one watches them, eh (*cough* Planet Earth *cough*)?