“Form an orderly queue,” was the suggestion of the ITV director of TV, as an invitation was issued for programme ideas, particularly for the 10pm-10.30pm slot, currently often taken up with the last 30 minutes of a 90-minute drama.
Although of the opinion that 90-minute dramas ought probably to be an hour-long instead, Simon Shaps however declined to be too specific what he wanted to fill the gap.
In response to a question from the audience, he recognised that, “The absence of comedy on ITV is a real issue. On ITV2, we’ll be trying out some [comedy] things, some pilots.”
Popular factual programme ideas were another possibility. There was a firm denial there were plans to move the late-night news from its 10.30pm slot.
But Shaps also wondered if there are good programme ideas out there. He did conceded that perhaps there is a perception among producers that ITV – especially its flagship ITV1 – is not a place to take their ideas. That is why he was reluctant to be too narrow in his description of what he is looking for. But he did also say “there is not an over-abundance of fantastic ideas”.
Of some recent drama on ITV1, he admitted it was “missable, predictable and traditional,” and said of recent record low ratings for ITV1, “It goes without saying, this summer, we haven’t covered ourselves in glory,” believing the channel had been “squeezed” by a lot of dramas on BBC and Big Brother on Channel 4.
But his comments were said in the context of ITV1 still pulling in big audiences and the other ITV channels, such as ITV2 and Men and Motors, performing well.