ENTERTAINMENT, TV EVENTS AND SPORT

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What do we do?
Entertainment, TV Events and Sport is a super-department which houses some of the most exciting and distinctive programming on Channel 4. From channel-defining events (Stand Up To Cancer and The Paralympics), to award winning satire (The Last Leg and The Alternative Election Night); from top quality comedy entertainment (The Crystal Maze, The Jump, 8 Out of 10 Cats do Countdown) to spectacular live sport (Formula 1), our slate is characterised by range, scale and ambition.

We work with a wide range of producers and genres, both outside and inside the channel. Sometimes we work with a single company while other events cover a broad range of cross-genre content and may involve a mix of suppliers working on the same project. For example Stand Up To Cancer blended content from 12 different companies to create a month-long season of themed programming, culminating in a major piece of event TV. As well as our own commissions we also work closely with other C4 departments to deliver major events across the schedule.

The talent we work with is equally diverse, from Alan Carr and Clare Balding to Richard Ayoade and Jeremy Paxman. And we don’t just work with big names: developing newer talent is a crucial part of our remit whether it’s giving a pilot to Big Narstie and Mo Gilligan, handing 8 Out of 10 Cats captain roles to Rob Beckett and Aisling Bea or the ground-breaking search for disabled talent that gave us Alex Brooker, Sophie Morgan and Arthur Williams.

What do we want?
Across the year our remit is extremely broad and we commission cross-genre and across all slots, from studio entertainment shows to big schedule roadblocks. However at the moment we’re focusing on a number of areas:


Late Night Experimentation
From The Word and The 11 O’Clock Show to The Girlie Show and The Last Leg, Channel 4 has always used late night slots to explore riskier ideas and grow new shows and talent. And for the first time for several years we are commissioning shows for Friday nights at 11pm. We want to use the slot to experiment; that could mean unusual new talent or higher profile names doing something unexpected. It could be an idea you love but is too risky or bizarre to consider pitching for earlier in the evening. This is where the channel has historically been most provocative and innovative – and these are the sorts of ideas we want to hear. For tone think The Eric Andre Show, Fonejacker, Brass Eye, Watch What Happens Live or The Adam and Joe Show.

Live
Live shows have always been at the heart of Channel 4 Entertainment from The Big Breakfast and Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush through to The Comedy Awards, The Jump and of course The Last Leg. And we’re looking for more. We’re particularly interested in hearing your ideas for a late night live show. It should be funny, provocative and spiky but it also needs to feel fresh and present tense: to be frank we usually get pitched cover versions of TFI Friday with someone different behind the desk. Whatever we commission could be a totally different tone or shape – it could be a noisy debate show (like Big Brother’s Big Mouth), a bizarre way of doing chat (Between Two Ferns) or a mix of entertainment and provocative journalism like The Word. It will almost certainly be driven by a singular piece of talent with a very clear tone of voice.

We’re also actively open to hearing what you’d do in other areas of the schedule. We’re resting The Jump so what ludicrously ambitious stripped event piece could we try in its place? We want to hear your ideas for noisy one-offs with the spirt of The Comedy Awards or even Guy Martin’s Wheel of Death Live. And we’re happy to hear ideas for earlier in the schedule – what would a live 8pm show look like? Or a daily 5pm show? We want to hear your best ideas.

Authored Entertainment Shows
As we’ve mentioned, talent is absolutely key to our thinking. We’ve always been at our best when our shows are authored: built around unique pieces of talent who bring a distinctive tone and have something to say – whether it’s the broad brilliance of Chris Evans, Richard Ayoade’s unique take on The Crystal Maze, the epic stunts of Derren Brown, the fearless comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen or the satirical bite of Charlie Brooker. We’re very open-minded about who that could be: they don’t need to be a massive name or bring a loyal large audience; in fact we’d especially like to hear about people new to us and to viewers. The crucial thing is that anyone we work with should be brilliant and bring a clear and unique voice which lets them own and author a programme. Importantly we don’t always need to see fully formed ideas – if you have someone on tape that you think we should be building a show around, then we want to see them. We’re particularly keen to hear ideas for subversive chat-based shows built around brilliant bits of talent – think Mrs Merton, Ali G or Eric Andre.

Topical Entertainment
The world can seem a crazy, topsy-turvy place right now and we need more shows that reflect what is going on in funny, clever, satirical, bonkers and sharp ways. From politics to pop culture, how do we capture the zeitgeist and hold a mirror up to 2018 and beyond in innovative and interesting ways? The Last Leg does some of that but we need many more and varied ideas in this area. In the past we’ve done this successfully across a broad range from Brass Eye to The 11’O Clock Show to Star Stories to The Adam and Joe Show. Don’t just think “comedian behind a desk” style topical shows. What else can you do with the form that feels fresh and exhilarating, both in and out of studio? Most importantly, who are the names you back to be the next big topical, comedy, exciting voice that we don’t know about?

New Talent
We’ve always been fearless backers of new talent and the list of stars we introduced to the world is staggering – Graham Norton, Peter Kay, Simon Pegg, Ricky Gervais, Jessica Hynes, Sacha Baron Cohen, Davina McCall, Alan Carr are among the dozens of household names who got their break on 4. And now we’re keen to find the next generation of exciting new talent. With 11pm we’ve opened up the schedule to allow us to experiment, so who should we be putting there? We’re particularly keen to invest and develop diverse talent. Who else should we be speaking to?

Anarchic and Out of Studio
Banzai, The Word, TFI, The Friday Night Project, Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, Popworld – we have a rich history of making programmes with anarchy or madness at their heart. It’s a very distinct – and unique – Channel 4 tone. 11pm is the perfect slot to try out your more anarchic ideas but we’re not necessarily limited to late night; historically we’ve managed to do it all over the schedule, from the Big Breakfast at 7am through to The Word at 11. Bring us the shows that could only play on 4.

We also want to hear entertainment ideas set outside the studio. Traditional studio shows are expensive and can limit the scope of a format, while US shows like ‘Billy On The Street’ and ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’ exist in their own worlds and are free to be more anarchic as a result. You don’t need to be in a studio to create an entertainment hit, as Gogglebox proves. Think about where your talent would naturally inhabit, or equally where would be surprising for them to be discovered? We also welcome ideas from indies who have lots of experience on location, but might not be established studio entertainment producers and want to pitch out of studio ideas. If the format, talent and setting are daring and different, then we want to hear your idea.

Digital
We want to open up the flow between online and telly. A new generation of producers, talent and formats have exploded online and we want to bridge the gap. We’re looking for the ideas and talent who can deliver us mini-formats that grow into shows that live perfectly across linear and social. Where are our Hot Ones, Line-Up or Cheap Thrills? What are the shows for linear that can break down into perfect weekly drops across social? We want to get into the feeds of the audience and grow a new generation of talent.

What Don’t We Want?
It’s worth saying what we definitely don’t want: we’re not actively looking for game shows, more panel shows, or multi stranded studio shows. We don’t want shiny floor talent shows. We don’t want any more nostalgia. We’re not after versions of shows on other channels; ideas you bring us should feel distinctly Channel 4.

PLEASE COPY ALL IDEAS TO PROGRAMME CO-ORDINATOR MADDIE IRELAND AS WELL AS THE RELEVANT COMMISSIONER. CONTACT DETAILS ARE BELOW.

Please send any live ideas, event pieces and related talent suggestions to Tom Beck (details below)

Please send any topical entertainment, subversive chat and authored non-live shows and related talent suggestions to Syeda Irtizaali (details below)

Please send anarchic and out of studio ideas and related talent suggestions to Sarah Lazenby and Steven Handley (details below)

Please send any digital ideas and related talent suggestions to Josh Buckingham (details below)

Please send late night experimental ideas to any members of the team.


Contacts

  • Head of Entertainment and Events
    Ed Havard

    PROGRAMME COORDINATOR: Maddie Ireland
    020 7306 8282
  • Head of Live Events & Commissioning Editor, Entertainment
    Tom Beck

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Laura King
    020 7306 5591
  • Commissioning Editor, Entertainment & TV Events
    Syeda Irtizaali

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Laura King
    020 7306 5591
  • Commissioning Editor, Fact. Ent. & Entertainment
    Sarah Lazenby

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Amy Menzies
    020 7306 3614
  • Commissioning Editor, Entertainment & TV Events
    Karen Murdoch (on maternity leave)

    PROGRAMME COORDINATOR: Maddie Ireland
    020 7306 8282
  • Commissioning Editor, Entertainment & TV Events
    Josh Buckingham (seconded from All4)

    PROGRAMME COORDINATOR: Maddie Ireland
    CONTACT:
  • Commissioning Editor, Entertainment & TV Events
    Steven Handley (maternity cover)

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Laura King
    020 7306 5591
  • Commissioning Executive, TV Events & Sport
    Antonia Howard Taylor

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Laura King
    020 7306 5591
  • Commissioning Editor, Sport
    Stephen Lyle

    CONTACT:
  • Programme Coordinator, Entertainment & TV Events (on maternity leave)
    Katie Buckley

    CONTACT:
    020 7306 5591
  • Programme Coordinator, Entertainment & TV Events
    Maddie Ireland (maternity cover)

    CONTACT:
    020 7306 8282
  • Genre Assistant, Entertainment & TV Events
    Laura King

    CONTACT:
    020 7306 5591