Formats & Music

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The Formats department commissions an incredibly diverse range of non-scripted genres from Factual Entertainment to studio entertainment and unscripted comedy. We particularly focus on young skewing commissions for Channel 4 and E4.

For Channel 4 we are always looking for 9pm series which find innovative ways to pose provocative questions – our tent-pole factual thriller series Hunted asks ‘could you disappear in 21st century Britain?’ and the upcoming relationship format 7 Year Switch poses the question ‘is the grass always greener on the other side?’ Both are great examples of the kind of ambition we have in this area. We’re also looking for mischief and laughs at 10pm on Channel 4 – be it through our semi-scripted comedy Lookalikes, That’s So Last Century or the upcoming Katherine Ryan series How’d You Get So Rich.

We want to approach non-scripted in a modern and creative way and we're excited by new filming techniques, technologies, cross-genres and new ways to tell a narrative.
The Formats department also commissions the non-scripted output for E4, which is a young skewing entertainment channel. We are looking for funny, entertaining and/or aspirational series. We aren’t looking for mean or humiliating formats – but we do want to have brilliant humour or jeopardy at the heart of our content.

On E4, BAFTA winning Made in Chelsea continues to deliver compelling structured reality to a loyal young audience. We attracted big audiences in 2016 with constructed precincts. Tattoo Fixers and Tattoo Fixers on Holiday have been a stand-out hits and will return in 2017. Celebs Go Dating, our dating agency for celebrities, played as a three week strip in 2016, with audiences more than 100% up on slot. Again, this will be back in 2017.

As with Tattoo Fixers, we’re keen to explore different 'tribes'. We're also continuing to look at evergreen areas for young people such as fashion, relationships, wealth and dating as we look to find the next generation of E4 hits.

In this fast moving world of 16-34s, we are also particularly interested in areas that have become an integral part of our young audiences lives but may not have been reflected back at them yet on television. What are the step-changes in the way young people are living their lives today, and how do we format them into our next big hits?


C4 Priorities

9pm: Big tent pole series at 9pm. Hunted is a good indicator of scale, however we are not looking for any more 'survival' type series. What's the next generation of genres or precincts that will capture the attention of the audience? How do we reflect things like Trump, Brexit and immigration in a formatted/fact ent way without feeling trite or clumsy? What has changed in our lives in the last 5 years and has not yet been reflected on mainstream TV ?

10pm: We’ve already seen huge success with Tattoo Fixers and Celebs Go Dating on E4 we’re now keen to explore central hubs/precincts for Channel 4 into which we can cast contributors to create returnable series that can be made in volume for 10pm. We are interested in mixing genres too and experimenting with form.

For both 9pm & 10pm, also think about big real-life narratives for formats on C4: Hidden Worlds (things our viewers would otherwise never see or do), Amazing Transformations (a journey of enlightenment and extra-ordinary reveals) and Life Moments (pivotal moments that do or might change our lives forever) are all helpful examples.


E4 Priorities

9pm and 10pm returnable brands – real world dialled up, broad appeal, humour. Think about ‘bubbles’ or tribes (the young and wealthy of MiC, the counter culture of tattooing). Relatable worlds that are otherwise unattainable or out of reach are interesting, as are heightened versions of real precincts or universal life experiences. Think about options for both public contributors but also whether a Celebrity cast can unlock an idea. We commission series with a weekly TX pattern, but we are also looking for longer running peak time strips.

7.30pm stripped series: Here, there is room for more overt formatting. Coach Trip: The Road To Ibiza played very successfully as a 6 week strip for 7.30pm and we are looking to experiment with other ideas for potential long running strips for the 7.30pm slot. These can be closed eps, or 5 day (or more) continuing narratives. Orders are in a minimum of 20 eps. These series will generally feel younger skewing and played for humour. Please keep in mind this is a pre-watershed slot.


9pm and 10pm feature documentaries. We've had success with archive pieces like The 80s: Ten Years that Changed Britain, The 90s: Ten Years that Changed the World and Rewind the Christmas Hits. Big stories told in an entertaining but intelligent way. Usually singles but please do let us know formatted ways of creating series. We've also recently began exploring single artist profiles in feature doc form. The Rolling Stones: Ole, Ole, Ole, and forthcoming Bruce Springsteen In His Own Words and Freedom: George Michael all have the common theme of fantastic access to iconic artists along with unseen archive, filmed with cinematic style.


Music on 4 - post peak music. This is where we explore music subcultures, opting to go for either super contemporary credible genres like the award winning show Four to the Floor, which reports on brand new UK artists, or we like to look back with a sprinkling of nostalgia - The Great Songwriters or Abbey Road Classics cast an eye on the best writers and performers from the history of popular music. Shows in the Music on 4 slot usually come with partnership models to help scale the brand both financially and in a marketing sense. How do we reach out beyond linear to root C4 even closer to music?