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); 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.

Who do we work with?
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 2016 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 to Clare Balding; Richard Ayoade to 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 8 Out of 10 Cats team captain roles to Rob Beckett and Aisling Bea to the ground-breaking search for disabled talent that gave us Alex Brooker, Rachael Latham and Arthur Matthews.

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 our key focus is Friday nights – and we want to hear your ideas for 9pm and 10pm to play from Summer 2018. We're also interested in ideas that could play late night.

In addition we’re placing a massive focus on talent, both established and new. Who should we be working with that we aren’t currently? Who do you want to make programmes with and why? Tell us.

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


A Talent-Led Strategy
As mentioned above, talent is absolutely key to our thinking. And we’re very open-minded about who that could be: they don’t necessarily need to be a massive name or bring a loyal large audience; 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.

Friday, 9pm
In keeping with the talent-first strategy we want you to build your 9pm ideas around talent. It’s not just one of the best ways to attract an audience; we feel it’s the best way to make a programme feel distinct and dynamic. The talent should be at the heart of the idea so that it feels bespoke and informed by their presence, as opposed to simply bolting a host on at the end. It doesn’t mean that your ideas need to be anchored to a single name or that you need to come with them attached – we can help with that – but the ideas should have a clear, talent-led tone and be shaped around the people you think should be fronting them.

We’re not prescriptive about who those people should be (although obviously they need to be able to carry a 9pm show!) They could be regular C4 faces or they could be new to the Channel: at the moment we are making pilots with Miranda Hart and Harry Hill. Neither are traditional Channel 4 names, (nor are they are traditional presenters) but they each bring a very clear tone and personality, and we are interested in exploring what opportunities C4 can present to established talent that can help showcase a different element to their on-screen presence. Don’t just think about the usual entertainment names either. Channel 4 has had great success recently with surprising casting, whether it’s Richard Ayoade fronting The Crystal Maze or Noel Fielding in Bake Off. Think about pairings too – what might Richard and Noel do together? Jamie and Spencer are brilliant in Celebrity Hunted; could they front an entertainment show?

It goes without saying that the ideas themselves should feel original and ambitious. We’re keen to hear your high concept thoughts; things to make us sit up and take notice. We’re not looking for game shows, panel shows or multi stranded studio 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. And remember we still take risks other channels wouldn’t, whether it’s a dangerous reality event (The Jump) or a Friday night entertainment show led by disabled talent (The Last Leg).

Please send your 9pm ideas to Tom Beck (details below)

10pm
At 10pm we want shows which are clever, funny, and say something about the world. The Last Leg does a brilliant job in this slot, but what should we play when it isn’t on?

Shows here need to feel authored and with a clear world view. That doesn’t mean they should be straight satire – we know it’s incredibly hard to land - but they need clarity of purpose and a clear contemporary resonance. They should be broad in context but sharp in execution. We’re open to all sorts of ideas so be bold with your thoughts and don’t be afraid to experiment. We want ideas which make us laugh and make us think. They could be pure comedy or they could be more news-based. They don’t need to be in a studio, but if they are then they need to feel distinct from The Last Leg.

Again talent is key, and we’d love you to think laterally. That doesn’t necessarily mean new or unknown people, it could, mean people new to Channel 4. For example we’ve just made a pilot with Judge Rinder; while his heritage is on other channels he feels a great fit for 4 when given free reign: intelligent, sharp, witty and with a strong sense of mischief. Who else could do a similar job? And don’t limit yourself to UK-based talent; we’re actively exploring ideas with US talent too and very open to looking at new names.

We want ideas that are innovative and edgy while also being broad enough to capture a young audience. And as at 9pm, it goes without saying that anything you bring us should feel distinctly Channel 4 in its sensibility.

Please send your 10pm ideas to Syeda Irtizaali (details below)

Exploring ideas for late night
We are considering where in the schedule we might try to explore riskier ideas and grow new shows and talent. Historically Fridays at 11pm has been crucial for us in launching key shows and talent. From The Word and The 11 O’Clock Show through to FAQ U and Stand Up For the Week, many household names were allowed to develop in late night slots on 4, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais, David Mitchell, Jack Whitehall, Jon Richardson, Kevin Bridges, Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Pascoe. More recently The Last Leg began at 11pm which gave it the freedom and confidence to find a clear voice and grow into the channel’s defining entertainment show.

We’d love to hear what ideas you have for a new generation of shows at 11pm on a Friday. They could feature 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. Any ideas here would almost certainly have to explore alternative funding methods, but that’s something we can investigate together. Surprise us and make us laugh.

Please send your potential late night ideas to any member of the team.

Contacts

  • Head of Entertainment, TV Events and Sport
    Ed Havard

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

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Maddie Ireland
    020 7306 8282
  • Commissioning Editor, Entertainment & TV Events
    Syeda Irtizaali

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Maddie Ireland
    Maddie Ireland
  • Commissioning Editor, Fact. Ent. & Entertainment
    Sarah Lazenby

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Marcello Pautasso
    020 7306 6912
  • Commissioning Editor, Entertainment & TV Events
    Karen Murdoch (on maternity leave)

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Maddie Ireland
    020 7306 8282
  • Commissioning Executive, TV Events
    Antonia Howard Taylor

    CONTACT:
    020 7396 4444
  • Commissioning Editor, Sport
    Stephen Lyle

    CONTACT: Sian Dolding
    020 7306 3701
  • Commissioning Editor, Sport
    Gabby Cook

    Sian Dolding
    020 7306 3701
  • Programme Coordinator, Entertainment & TV Events
    Katie Buckley

    CONTACT:
    020 7306 5591
  • Genre Assistant, Entertainment & TV Events
    Maddie Ireland

    CONTACT:
    020 7306 8282
  • Commissioning and Talent Coordinator, Sport
    Sian Dolding

    CONTACT:
    020 7306 3701