BROADCAST TV COMEDY FORUM: ITV1 is unlikely to go for 30-minute comedies for the foreseeable future, ITV comedy commissioning editor Michaela Hennessy-Vass has warned.
Speaking at Broadcast’s Comedy Forum, Hennessy-Vass said she was focused almost exclusively on 60-minute slots - effectively ruling out studio sitcoms.
“There are limited opportunities, in all honesty,” she said. “For a half-hour comedy to work, it has to be something we can pair with something else so that it doesn’t feel too vulnerable and isolated. We are much more likely to commission more hour-long shows.”
She noted, however, that a 60-minute ITV1 slot, with advertising, was “not so different” from a BBC half-hour.
ITV1 recently extended Benidorm to an hour-long format and Hennessy-Vass said she wanted ideas with the same “warmth and inclusiveness” as that show or the BBC’s Gavin & Stacey.
“ITV1 comedy has to appeal to a significantly large audience and we don’t want anything esoteric, quirky or high concept,” she said. “We want shows that reflect everyday life but don’t feel tired.”
All of ITV1’s comedies, comedy dramas and dramas are now aired in post-watershed slots and Hennessy-Vass said she was typically looking for six part series, with the possibility of eight for the right shows.