So it was announced yesterday that head of ITV Peter Fincham was to leave his role. Fincham has been in charge at ITV for a while now and it’s fair to say his influence on the channel hasn’t been great. We’ve been in his presence several times at various events over the years and we believe his vision for ITV was wrong from the off. Fincham struck us more of a businessman than a TV lover, and the best controllers are the ones with a true love for the medium. Fincham’s appetite for ratings meant ITV’s schedule has been stale, predictable and quite frankly lazy for quite some time now. It would appear he has an obsession with Simon Cowell and Keith Lemon! That was never going to bode well was it? Outside of Britain’s Got Talent Cowell isn’t the big ratings winner he was a few years ago, and recent commissions like BBQ Champ, Flock Stars, You’re Back in the Room, Sugar Free Farm, Saved, Harry Hill’s Stars in their Eyes and Play it to the Whistle have proved to be disappointing and ultimately lazy decisions.
In a recent article from the radiotimes Fincham’s successor Kevin Lygo is described as: ‘ a well-liked and maverick TV personality, popular with programme makers and someone who is always said to be unafraid to take risks.
|Endeavour still brings in good ratings for the channel.|
He could be just the man to turn around the fledgling channel. It’s not just critics who have been moaning about ITV for a while, the ratings show viewers have long since lost interest in the channel’s output. The superb Endeavour, which ends it’s third run on Sunday is the only show in the channel’s current lineup to be drawing viewers in. On his departure Peter Fincham said: This is a personal decision that I have been thinking about for a good while. By the time I leave at Easter I will have been a channel controller at the BBC and ITV, amazing as it seems, for eleven years. Quite simply, it’s time to do something different.
Lygo is taking on a sinking ship. The channel has said goodbye Downton Abbey and recently lost to the Uefa Champions League which also brought in audiences. Ever hopeful Fincham told an audience at the recent Edinburgh TV festival that loosing the Champion’s League wasn’t a concern as it gave the channel a chance to fill the gap with more drama and original programming. They haven’t.
|Latest series of the singing competition failed to find viewers.|
The most recent series of The X Factor with its re-jigged judging resulted in low ratings and virtually no success for winner Louisa Johnson. Lygo might just have taken one of the toughest jobs in television at the moment. The channel’s output needs almost an entire overhaul. Here’s a list of things we hope Kevin Lygo can do to turn around ITV.
- Stop the celebrity travelogues
- Rest the X Factor. It has become a parody of itself and needs a break.
- Commission more long form drama. The reason the first run of Broadchurch was such a hit was the fact it had time to tell its story. We need more 8-parters on the channel to allow writers to flesh out their characters and tell deeper stories than the 3-parters allow.
- Stop silly reality shows. Programmes like Flock Stars and BBQ Champ do nothing but tarnish the channel’s already wavering reputation.
- Stop relying on the same talent. ITV has been reliant on the same talent like Stephen Mulhern and anti Christ Keith Lemon for too long now.
Lygo has a background in comedy, he was a scriptwriter on The Two Ronnies and when he moved to Channel 4 in the late nineties he was responsible for the commissioning of Simon Pegg’s cult comedy Spaced, So Graham Norton and TFI Friday. He also hailed as the man who commissioned the first series of Big Brother for Channel 4! Quite an impressive CV!
We hope Kevin Lygo can resurrect ITV, it’s not going to be easy. We’ll watch, hopefully with interest.