ITV poised to ditch Man O Man

ITV is planning to drop Man O Man, its new Saturday night replacement for Blind Date, because of poor ratings.

The show, in which an audience of women choose partners from a line-up of men, will not be recommissioned. It began on May 4 but achieved a rating of only 6.7 million adults for its first airing. This has fallen to 6 million in the unofficial BARB figures for May 25.

This compares with an average rating of about 9 million for the same Saturday night-time period during May 1995. Agency buyers are especially concerned because May 1995 was much hotter than this year and ratings should be going up, not down.

“Saturday night is killing them,” says one agency broadcast director. “We have been making representations to get the schedule improved and Man O Man is going to go.”

ITV had hoped that the programme, which is hosted by Chris Tarrant, would become a cult youth show in the way Baywatch has. It also fitted the current trend for “ladette” programmes. It was made for the Network Centre by Grundy Television.

Declining ratings on Saturday nights have caused double-figure inflation on LWT in London against certain audience demographics.

LWT’s relative expense has been compounded by Procter & Gamble’s fall in demand for daytime Carlton, which has kept its overall average price relatively low.

See Media analysis, page 16

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