UKTV is continuing their push into scripted originals.
After testing the waters with the likes of the Anthony Head and Eve Myles fronted You, Me & Them, which is returning for a second season in 2015, the broadcaster has announced plans to commission five new scripted comedies for their Gold channel.
This scripted push has been in the works for quite some time and comes after UKTV had the best year in their history in 2013 with record revenue and 5% growth in audience share. That growth led to the company increasing their content budget from £110 million to £125 million, a good chunk of which will be spent on this scripted push.
“This level of investment in original scripted comedy marks a real step change for UKTV and is the next stage in our strategy of focussing spend on the entertainment channels”, said Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning. “We are committed to attracting the very best writers, producers and on screen talent in order to produce the type of high quality, scripted output that Gold requires.”
UKTV already has a number of projects in various stages of development and has received “a strong response” from numerous indies, who were briefed on the scripted push earlier this year.
In addition to the five new scripted series, UKTV is also shopping for a “one-off comedy event piece” to follow in the footsteps of the live broadcast of the final Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down Five to Go stage show, which ranks as Gold’s highest ever rated programme with a consolidated audience of just under 1 million viewers.
“The success of The Comic Strip Presents: Five Go To Rehab and Gold’s live transmission of the final every Monty Python stage show, prove that there is a real appetite from the Gold audience for longer form stories with a true sense of scale, added UKTV’s Commissioning Editor Simon Lupton. “We’ve received a number of brilliant ideas from the Indie sector, with a high calibre of writing talent attached, and we are excited about their development potential.