Monday, February 09, 2009

ITV drama's quiet revolution

In Broadcast, Chris Curtis argues that while ITV's decision to drop a number of long-running drama series (including, announced last week, Wire In The Blood) carries risks, a new strategy does seem to be emerging.
Whitechapel was undoubtedly helped by the snow last Monday, but an audience of 8.1m (albeit a captive one) was a huge shot in the arm. It comfortably outperformed a new series of BBC ratings banker Who Do You Think You Are?, and if it can hang onto anywhere near the same this week then ITV will have a genuinely exciting hit on its hands.

Linda La Plante's Above Suspicion was another big ratings success, (despite a second-part that was a bit of a let down) suggesting the not-unattractive DC Anna Travis might have a few more cases in the near future.

But it is another set of crime fighters that could be the most important for ITV drama next stage. Forget two-parters. Laura Mackie and Peter Fincham have ordered 13 episodes of Law & Order UK, complete with Bradley Walsh and Frema Agyeman.

I missed the press screening, but the mutterings sound positive, and the word is that the show has been well received within ITV.

After freeing up space and cash by dropping some old-stagers, a successful run for Law & Order could help usher in a new era at ITV.

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