Channel 5 is launching a new youth programming strand with its own presenter, break bumpers and off-air marketing, that could be available for sponsorship.
The key programme will be a post-Apocalyptic teen soap called The Tribe, commissioned from a New Zealand-based production company, about a world where everyone over the age of 18 has been killed by a virus.
Together with existing shows such as The Pepsi Chart, Singled Out and The Mag, the strand will have a 23-year-old blonde presenter called Kate McIntyre, who has previously appeared on youth travel shows on cable and satellite.
The strand also has its own on-air look from The Design Clinic, including six new cartoon characters described as “a cross between South Park and the Mr Men” that will unexpectedly bounce around on McIntyre during the continuity breaks.
Programmes will be scheduled between 11am and 12 noon on Saturday, 4.30pm and 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 1pm on Sunday. Episodes of The Tribe will run on both Saturday and Sunday at 5.30pm.
Channel 5 has also negotiated a deal with Jazzy Books, the company which supplies schools and colleges with sponsored exercise books, to take centre page advertisements in its stationery next term.
Nick Wilson, Channel 5 programme controller for children’s and religious programming, says a deliberate decision was made not to give the strand a name, unlike for example Channel 4’s youth strand, which is called T4.
He says: “Once you get past 13 the last thing you want is to be put into your own zone or slot.”
He says the tea-time scheduling is a new move for Channel 5, and is a response to research conducted with groups of 11- to 17-year-olds.
Channel 5 already has a children’s programme strand for the under-11s called MilkShake, which is sponsored by Milky Way.