ITV plans revolution in Saturday night line-up…

Saturday night ITV is facing a revolution in programming, following the failure of the Man O Man show (MW May 31).

The network is looking at dropping the traditional studio-based general entertainment show, typified by Man O Man and Blind Date.

Director of the ITV Network Centre Marcus Plantin says: “We may be experiencing a complete change in popular culture.

“It could be the end of the cycle for these shows. A few years ago, the talk show passed its sell-by date, and we must now look carefully at early Saturday evenings. But we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water.”

ITV is conducting panel research with groups of viewers, and is considering more one-hour dramas and narrative comedy programmes.

“People forget to talk about how quickly we react to problems,” says Plantin. “Last year, there were complaints about our sport, and by the autumn we had Formula One and the FA Cup.”

In a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox studios, ITV this week beat the BBC and Channel 5 to the UK terrestrial rights to Millennium – the new show from the creators of the X-Files. As part of the deal the programme will be shown on BSkyB first.

The series is planned as an upmarket, post-9pm midweek show. ITV also bought the rights for The Practice, a series from the makers of LA Law, and an adult sitcom called Public Morals, from Stephen Bochco, maker of NYPD Blue.

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