Friday, January 23, 2009

The Bill cut to once a week

From Stephen Brook in Media Guardian:
Long-running police drama The Bill will drop one of its weekly episodes and move to a once-a-week 9pm slot in a major shakeup of ITV1's peaktime schedule.

The police drama, which has screened as two hour-long weekly episodes for more than a decade, will be repositioned in the post-watershed 9pm to 10pm slot as a grittier action-filled series airing once a week.

It is understood that the budget for each episode will be increased but that ITV will save money on its deal with The Bill's producer, Talkback Thames, after cutting the number of episodes each year by 50%.
Update (30.01.09): On his blog, The Guardian's Gareth McLean says the decision is linked to ITV's expenditure on rights for Champions League and FA Cup football.
Instead of investing in drama - nurturing writers, training and employing crew - ITV has lined the pockets of footballers. I'm not suggesting television should be run as a job creation scheme for producers, dolly grips and actors, but should a broadcaster such as ITV be feathering the nest of the likes of UEFA and the FA? I can understand ITV trying to shore up its weeknight 9pm slot with drama; a timeslot the channel used to own 10 years ago, with the likes of Peak Practice and Soldier, Soldier. But moving an already established show to 9pm means there is one less drama slot at that time.

3 comments:

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  2. Anonymous4:32 pm

    Presumably this will also have a major knock-on effect for other ITV drama commissioning, especially in the 9pm slot. And I'd be surprised if the 8pm slot was going to be filled with more drama. Cops, yes - but not ones with scripts...

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  3. The Guild will do everything it can to put pressure on the television companies to continue with drama and comedy commissioning. The Bill has served ITV well for an incredible number of years and all involved in it should be congratulated. Now let's try and get some more drama hits in that slot.

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