Money Woes in UK TV Biz

The Guardian reports that series cancellations and budget cuts at ITV are renewing fears about the precarious state of the UK TV Biz.

Having sent the dinosaurs back to extinction earlier in the week, ITV decided to banish the vampires on Friday, cancelling the Saturday evening show Demons only days after Primeval got the axe. A budgetary ice-age seems to be sweeping through UK television – raising fears about British broadcasting’s delicate eco-stystem.

The cuts are not a problem confined to commercial channels. The morning before Demons’ fate was confirmed, the BBC instructed all six of its television networks to find record efficiency savings of 7.5% – over the next five years the channels will lose £1bn from their budgets. And matters are little better at Channel 4. In March, head of programming Julian Bellamy said the broadcaster would like to commission more drama, but there was no money in the budget with which to do so.

[…]Despite ITV performing well in drama this year – it has broadcast the five highest-rating new dramas, Whitechapel, Above Suspicion, Unforgiven, Law & Order: UK and, ironically, Demons – rating success is clearly no longer a measure of survival at the broadcaster. But if ITV is getting rid of relative successes, what will it have left?

There is some good news. ITV renewed LEWIS for a fourth season, which comes as a relief, since early reports were that the hit series was doomed for financial reasons.

2 thoughts on “Money Woes in UK TV Biz”

  1. Funny, this is the subject of one of my posts on my blog today.
    Actually,the renewal of Lewis (good news indeed) is a sign that ITV’s fiction line-up will be smaller but better. A cancellation of Lewis and a renewal of Primeval (a show for which ITV paid a lot but had to share the returns with other partners) would have been catastrophic.
    Lewis is a prestigious “brand” for ITV, not a wannabe franchise a la Doctor Who. Now let’s hope that Kingdom will get a fourth series. I’m looking forward to watch An Englishman in New York and the second season of The Fixer.

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