Written by TV

Things a TV Channel Controller Should Never Say

If you’re a TV executive you should be very careful when you axe something or say that you’ll never do something again.
Recently Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s new chief creative officer said that the channel would no longer be making list programmes. That’s fine. They’re lazy, relatively cheap, and have run their course.
But what’s that? In 2007, Kevin Lygo – then Channel 4’s director of television and content – said exactly the same thing!
Channel 4 continued to make them because they drove audiences. And with channels like More 4 and E4 to fill, they repeated well too.
Now we have BBC1’s relatively new controller saying that he axed the generally well regarded, and well received Zen, because there are “too many male detectives” and “too much crime” on television.
He does realise that this comment is going to come back and bite him doesn’t he?
Let’s face it. The real reason he cancelled Zen, and a few other successful series, was that he needs to make his own mark. One can only hope that mark isn’t going to be made by shows like Candy Cabs and Mrs Brown’s Boys (which unfathomably has been recommissioned!). It’s what all new channel controllers do.
But the reason this comment will remerge is that he’ll find it near enough impossible to avoid commissioning crime/police series. He’s actually just commissioned one (albeit, with a female lead). If there’s one we’ve learnt from the history of TV over the years: you can’t go wrong with police or hospital dramas.