Making the Grade: ITV maybe back from the dead?
Well it’s too early to tell but Michael Grade’s surprise move to join ITV could at least confuse the vultures for a while. Priority one should be to get back the ABC1 and other desirable audiences for advertisers but how to do it? Where could ITV fit in the media landscape with a downmarket, Strictly Come and Gawp at tits-and-a-grin Tess Daly BBC, an Endemol infected C4 and a hard to place but eclectic and interesting Five?
I think that Grade should go back to the future and recreate a kind of pre-Endemol C4 mixed with some of the glossy populism of X-Factor et al. C4 used to have a variety of high and low, scandal and artiness which served a wide audience well – always offering up surprises and innovation alongside some imported blockbusters. It was everything from Chris Morris (who Grade annoyed and tried to gag) to Countdown to Cutting Edge and then midnight things close to softcore. Now there is some interesting stuff on Four – but there is a kind of metrosexual post-Endemol pop pastel-ness to the place that makes it stink of ‘yoof’ and alienates many with fluffy irony. Leave the Baby Bell light ent to BBC1 and move on, Michael. We shall see, but the key to a new ITV could be in the past.