ITV would consider resurrecting more evergreen formats following the successful return of Saturday Night Takeaway and Catch Phrase.
Director of television Peter Fincham told the Commissioning & Funding Forum there was no harm in producers pitching new takes on existing formats and that the return of Saturday Night Takeaway was a “significant moment” for the broadcaster.
It regularly recorded more than 7 million viewers and benefited, Fincham said, from being a variety show with humour, rather than a contestant competition. “We all know the grammar of those, with an elimination at the end. Here was a show that wasn’t that at all – and it felt like the freshest thing around,” he said.
Fincham reiterated that ITV is still searching for “juggernaut” entertainment formats and admitted it was the hardest genre for broadcasters to crack. “Everybody is engaged in this. We’re all trying to look around the corner for the next big trend and it’s hard to find,” he said.
He outlined plans to secure a replacement for Sunday night entertainment format Dancing On Ice, following its conclusion after next year’s season. The broadcaster is looking for formats to launch in winter 2015.
“It could be two series that we’re looking for or it could be one, it depends on what’s the right thing to do. It’s a great slot that has a huge audience,” he said. “We get a surprising number of ideas for early and late slots, but I need formats for the middle part of the evening. That’s what we need to be.”
The broadcaster is also searching for shows that can help define Friday night. Fincham said it was open to either entertainment formats or scripted series.