The youth channels are employing polar opposite strategies, as the BBC learns to cope with a constrained budget while E4 flexes its financial muscle post-Friends.
BBC3 controller Zai Bennett confirmed he was axing Remarkable Television’s Hotter Than My Daughter, and the future of Snog Marry Avoid? is in doubt following a review of the channel’s 7pm-9pm programming.
There is a possibility the ‘make-under’ show could return with significant editorial changes, Bennett said, although if that happens, it will be pushed further back in the schedule.
Bennett told Broadcast he would be filling the pre-watershed slots almost entirely with repeats from BBC1 and other BBC3 shows. “It’s about focusing my budget on 9pm and 10.30pm; those are the time slots that count. Budgets are tight, so we have to be sensible with the money we have,” he said.
While BBC3 is retreating from the space, E4 is investing in it for the first time, largely thanks to the 1,000-hour gap left by Friends.
Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt told delegates at the Edinburgh TV Festival that she was prioritising non-scripted factual and entertainment at 8pm on the back of the success of shows like Made In Chelsea.
The channel is particularly keen to find dating shows and quizzes, earmarked for 8pm, which has for years been home to the long-running US sitcom.
She also revealed 8 x 45-minute irreverent comedy panel show Dirty Digest, which is made by Running Bare and will run in a late night slot. It will be presented by The Fashion Show’s Michelle de Swarte.
E4 channel manager Paul Mortimer previously told Broadcast the 8pm slot would see the biggest change after the Friends licence expired, adding the team was “rapidly developing ideas”.