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    Loud exits, tired formats and bad publicity – how ITV went astray

    Clockwise from top left: BGT, This Morning, Doc Martin, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and Endeavor

    Here's the teaser. Which show is ITV boss Kevin Laigo describing? “It's probably the best thing on TV.” It is “more interesting, intellectual and prestigious” than anything that followed it. Did you guess? That's right: it's Big Brother, the reality show that brought us some of the worst moments in the annals of reality TV, but is now being resurrected as ITV's big hope for 2023.

    And the ITV bosses will really hope for a hit. Because the broadcaster that won Channel of the Year and awards for its drama and entertainment a decade ago has gone astray. The genres he could lean on—daytime shows with hosts who felt like old friends and Saturday night juggernauts that guaranteed high ratings—had lost their luster. Add to that a string of annoyances involving her biggest stars, and these awards feel like centuries past.

    Philip Schofield's departure from This Morning dominated the headlines. On Monday's show, it was done as if it were announcing the death of a particularly unpopular colleague that no one would miss.

    “We and the entire team wish him all the best for the future,” Deputy Alison Hammond said. No montage of his best moments, no warm words, and we went to a newspaper review in 30 seconds. Seeking to distance herself from any hint of obscenity, Holly Willoughby wisely took a two-week vacation.

    Schofield had to leave because daytime television relies on on-screen chemistry between its hosts — Willoughby has looked lately as if she'd rather climb the Eiger. This morning is bigger than any of his talents, ITV bosses reasoned, and it will continue with a different face. Strained relationship: Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby present This Morning. Photo: ITV

    But the number of stellar talents of the broadcaster is decreasing. The death of Paul O'Grady is a serious blow. Other departures were made independently. David Walliams left Britain's Got Talent after being caught making derogatory remarks about the show's cast members behind their backs, allegedly referring to one pensioner as “c—” and saying of one of the listeners, “She looks like a bit of a boring girl who you meet people in the pub who think you want to fuck them, but you don't.” Walliams later apologized for his “disrespectful” remarks.

    He was replaced by Bruno Tonioli of Strictly Come Dancing, but the ratings for the new series fell from previous years. Indeed, the idea of ​​the Simon Cowell show seems tired now. Can you name any of the recent winners of Britain's Got Talent?

    In terms of popular formats, ITV must now turn to South Korea, which came up with the idea for The Masked Singer (the broadcaster's only Bafta win this year).

    Another ITV stalwart, Bradley Walsh, here – is about to become a Saturday night star on BBC One as host of a revival of Gladiators. And this month, Ant and Dec announced that their Saturday Night Takeaway will be on indefinite hiatus after 2024.

    The Britain&# Jury 39; s Got Talent in 2022 to David Walliams; departure Credit: ITV

    Other series that ITV has traditionally relied on have faltered this year. Star version of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! failed to ignite the UK, and Love Island in South Africa disappointed the ratings. The regular series I'm a Celebrity Before Christmas was the winner, but it was thanks to the unique combination of kangaroo anus and Matt Hancock.

    Sick shows and problematic talent are age old problems. But ITV has a new challenge as well: it's the ITVX streaming service. Lygo has said it's a “commercial imperative” to bring in more players, and the broadcaster believes ITVX is the way to do it.

    Before launching, Lygo said it wanted to show viewers that there are “thousands of hours of shows to watch, many of them new and shiny.”

    However, the strategy involves launching new dramas on the service, which is technically far behind US streamers and BBC iPlayer in terms of usability (you can't rewind or fast forward live, for example). The effect is a lot of expensive and often excellent drama series released in deafening silence.

    This year's stellar version of “I'm a celebrity…Get me out of here!” failed to set fire to Great Britain. Photo: Charlie Sperring/ITV

    ITV's USP has always been massive, appealing to the public – remember Sunday nights with Downton Abbey. Putting dramas out on a streaming service to watch at times that viewers choose might work for Netflix, but it's contrary to what ITV is about. How much bigger would Nolly or A Spy Among Friends or his recent adaptation of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones be if they were released in prime time on the main channel? How many people have watched Franny Langton's Confessions, Six Four or You and Me?

    Adding to the feeling that ITV drama is at sea, some of its mainstays are gone. Endeavor ended after nine episodes; Doc Martin closed after 18 years. Executives who dreamed of The Larkins repeating the success of The Darling Buds of May were disappointed – the series was reportedly canceled after two episodes.

    Thing is, ITV has been a great channel for several decades – a safe home for populist entertainment and drama (as well as weird, edgy documentaries). He knew his audience and was a delight (remember how great his flagship soap series Coronation Street used to be?). It also sometimes challenged audiences – after all, it was ITV that first aired The Naked Civil Servant, starring John Hurt as Quentin Crisp.

    Of course, those were the glory days when there were only three channels and a lot of advertising money. In its latest set of results, ITV reported a 10% drop in advertising revenue in the first quarter of this year and predicted a further fall over the three months to the end of June. Executive Director Carolyn McCall said that ITVX is attracting a large streaming audience, but the ratings are not public.

    starring Helena Bonham Carter took place on the ITVX streaming service. Photo: ITV

    Some ITV insiders grumble that McCall is too 'awake'. They note that the former head of the Guardian and easyJet seems happy to turn down presenters who have insulted women, such as David Walliams for his alleged sexist remarks about Britain's Got Talent contestants, but is willing to stick with those guilty of more serious violations. /p>

    Ant McPartlin, half of Ant and Dec, more than doubled the legal limit when he caused a three-car collision in southwest London with a nine-year-old boy among other car occupants. He ended up in rehab and Dame Carolyn said, “We wish Ant all the best. He'll be back when he's ready and ITV won't put any pressure on him.”

    Publicly at least, McCall is confident things will work out, referring to the new Love Island series this year. . summer and the Rugby World Cup. And in the fall there will be Big Brother. ITV is banking on winning with two demographics: 16 to 34 year olds who can't get enough of the reality show, and people in their 40s to 50s who are nostalgic for the original.

    Ligo believes that even the most arrogant viewers will be attracted. “They'll see if it's good,” he told an audience at the Edinburgh TV Festival, “and probably stop.” around for eight weeks and it will ruin their lives.”

    And in TV it's the holy grail.

    How do you think ITV can win back its audience? What is your favorite show on ITV? Join the conversation in the comments section below

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