ITV is investigating ways to replicate the success of Fantasy World Cup, with a long-running sports series based around the FA Premier League in the valuable 10.40pm slot.
At the moment Carlton runs a regional sports programme called The Sports Show, fronted by Will Carling and Eamonn Holmes, while Central has a similar sporting debate programme called Late Tackle.
The Sports Show started its first series run from February 19 to May 7 and was sponsored by Alex Lawrie, the factoring arm of Lloyds TSB.
Brian Barwick, controller of ITV sport, has held discussions about rolling out the programme, shown in the London region, across the network.
A Carlton spokesman says: “The Network Centre has shown some interest in The Sports Show as a possibility, but at this stage it is no more than interest.”
One ITV insider says: “There is a long-term project of running a show at this time of night, but it won’t be that particular show.”
In January, when ITV chief executive Richard Eyre announced peaktime audience share targets, director of programmes David Liddiment said he would aim “to exploit new areas of the schedule, such as post-10.40pm, through programming with wide appeal”.
Sporting discussion programmes of this type run from around February to the end of the football season.
Alex Lawrie could only afford the network sponsorship deal of such a programme if it dropped its TV branding campaign – it has a total marketing budget of 2.5m.
Head of marketing Ross Clarkson says: “It would force us to choose between sponsorship and TV ads as our main broadcast medium.”
Alex Lawrie is reviewing its 2.5m through-the-line account, which is likely to be placed in one agency group. FCB handles TV ads and Bartle Bogle Hegarty-owned Limbo handles below the line.