E4

If the Married at First Sight experts were to find the perfect match for E4, they’d be surprisingly deep, a bit spicy, with a lot of sauce. Oh wait, that’s Paul C Brunson’s pizza order.

When we’re not ordering in, we’re completely obsessed with driving All 4 and our three content pillars help us do this: premium reality, lower-cost repeatable formats and character-driven factual series. These should inform most new ideas that come to us – but at E4, we love to champion outliers, too…

Unlike C4’s genre departments, E4 commissions across all of unscripted and we’re proudly home to a range of multi-faceted shows – from Made in Chelsea to Teen First Dates, Embarrassing Bodies, Below Deck and Married at First Sight. What unifies our shows are big characters, tonnes of drama and bags of humour – if an idea answers a relatable question, makes you want to Whatsapp your mates and also makes you laugh, it’s probably an E4 show.

 

GENERAL

Every show on E4 must also drive All 4, and – humble brag – we play a starring role in the Future4 strategy. Our shows are consistently in the top 10 performing titles on All 4 e.g. Married at First Sight, Hollyoaks, Teen First Dates, Below Deck and Made in Chelsea. We want to be an even beefier presence on that list so we can continue to laud it over our colleagues at C4.

In general, E4 viewers are looking to us for fun, shock and shareable moments that will make their Whatsapp groups light up. Our viewers like asking themselves what they would do in the situation our contributors find themselves in e.g. “how would I cope if I married a stranger?” like in Married at First Sight.

We’re a digital channel and every show needs to hold its own – an arresting title; a big, simple and noisy premise and huge characters. Shows that you can imagine sitting comfortably next to headline-grabbing shows like our forthcoming series Send Nudes or Celebs Go Dating.

We are currently looking for ideas that will go into production in 2023, which isn’t as far away as you think... 

Please don’t pitch: scripted ideas, studio formats, music formats, niche hobbies, sports, TikTok/social trends
Our biggest shows: Married at First Sight, Made in Chelsea, Below Deck, Teen First Dates

 

E4’S THREE CONTENT PILLARS IN MORE DETAIL:

Lower-cost repeatable formats: 8pm/9pm/10pm, 6/8/10 ep, 160-180k per hour

This year we want to commission three non-TX pilots at 100k each – we’ve now got form with these, having commissioned two brilliant new series from the pilots we did last year (One Night Stand and Naked and Alone and Racing to Get Home). We will pilot new ideas in Q3/Q4 this year, go into production at the end of 2022, ready to TX in 2023.

We are still looking for ideas to pilot, so please get in touch. These can range in length as they’re not TX – it could be a whole ep or a shorter proof of concept.

In terms of subject matter for these format pilots, this is a broad steer – as long as it’s not too niche, there’s real-world purpose baked in and it can play at 10pm, which is a big feeder for All 4. Our viewers are expecting high drama, purpose and humour from E4 formats, and a subversive topline always helps.

Have a look at the pilots we did last year on All 4 to see the range in subject and tone: Naked and Alone and Racing to Get Home; One Night Stand; Kinky Daters and The One Stop Wedding Shop.

Our tariff for formatted series is 160-180k per 60’ ep and we usually commission 6/8/10 episodes (and sometimes more), so there’s economy of scale.

It’s important to remember that young people are engaged by a huge range of topics on linear and VOD – from money to relationships, family, property, medical and more. What makes these formats feel E4 is often the execution – the tone of voice, formatting and how we’re producing contributors. Our upcoming hair series The Big Blow Out is a great example of this.

Formats could be experimental in form or tone but should still have some purpose and scale. We’re more likely to back an idea that’s a funny, quirky take on a tried and tested subject – like body image and family dynamics etc – rather than young, niche hobbies. Think Tattoo Fixers or Don’t Tell The Bride.

Character-driven factual – 9pm and 10pm, 6/8/10 eps, around 150k per hour

Unlike things that are two-dimensional, E4 is three-dimensional. We’re “surprisingly deep”. We’re looking for series that will surprise our audience with a range and depth of storytelling and boost our reputation for quality filmmaking. And while we’re at it, we’d also love to win some posh awards.

This is a newer avenue for E4 and we have recently commissioned what we hope will be the next generation of returnable factual shows – but we’re looking for more. We’re excited about our ongoing search for relatable casts located in real-world precincts as well as more constructed precincts, with big reality-style characters to hang the drama and entertainment around.

Our factual shows need to be loud, tabloid, glossy and fight for their position on All 4 as well as the EPG – and grabby, tabloid titles always help.

We’re looking for relatively low-cost series up to 150k per episode that can do volume at 8-10 episodes – which means there’s real pressure on stories and finding precincts that consistently deliver drama, jeopardy and humour.

For less formatted shows, we’re looking for glossy obs doc series that combine larger-than-life characters, authenticity and humour, often with a subversive undertone.

For more constructed shows like Teen First Dates, we’re looking for story engines full of big characters and varied backstories, that can do volume – but that still have roots in the real world.

We’re interested in shows that will bring in 16-24s on linear and VOD, which tend to be broad appeal shows with consistent high-drama e.g. 24 Hours in Police Custody, 999: What’s Your Emergency, First Dates and, in the past, the Educating brand.

We will fund the right developments if indies come to us with access or characters we’re excited by – as casting is key to getting these projects over the line.

Premium reality: 9pm and 10pm, 8-30 eps, 200-250k per hour

We’re looking for reality shows with scale and purpose that can unfold in a long run (minimum 8 eps, up to 20 or even 30). Dating will always be hot and really universal, but it’s important for E4 to chirpse elsewhere, as long as the territory feels broad – we want these shows to appeal to young audiences but not exclusively.

Whatever space you land in, we think it’s important that your idea poses some sort of relatable dilemma that drives the drama and comedy in a natural way. Think MAFS or Celebs Go Dating.

We’ve recently commissioned some exciting new celeb reality shows but we’re always looking for more – they need to be ideas with authenticity, that are dramatic and inspire real emotional investment from the celebrities. As long as the idea is rooted in a legitimate question or truth, we want to hear it. What makes this cast want to participate (other than fee)? What will provoke emotional drama but isn’t too contrived?

E4 VALUES:

Like a mouth-watering quattro formaggi (yes, back to pizza) – E4 has some juicy layers and we’re not afraid to show them off. Deep. We want addictive new shows that will deliver drama and humour, but also reveal other character traits, for example: curiosity (could big talent show us their point of view on a world or make us question our pre-conceptions?); humour (what does funny factual look like on E4?) and relatability (what real worlds could we shine a light on through format or doc series that our audience will keep coming back for?)

We are a distinctive, dedicated and down to earth youth channel. We make content for young audiences, but not about them. We love risky, creative shapes for our shows, but the subject matter is often brilliantly broad in order to entertain viewers who are young at heart as well as young in age.

TALENT:

We’re lucky to have some exceptionally attractive faces on E4 – from our super-rich Chelsea cast to Paul, Anna and Tom in Celebs Go Dating – and we’re looking to welcome more talent to the E4 family who will bring more than just their following… We want personality, humour and points of view for our output so that a young audience will love engaging with E4 talent and shows.

A few names we love: AJ Odudu, Fred Sirieix, Laura Smyth, Yinka Bokinni, Desiree Burch, Danny Dyer, Vogue Williams, Joanne McNally and check out the brilliant talent we’re developing at the E4 Academy (Kaylee Golding, Ty Logan, Lydia Maddix and Joe Hobbs).

PITCHING:

E4 now has a channel-specific commissioning editor, Mel Bezalel, who sits across unscripted and is taking new ideas – reporting to Head of Youth and Digital, Karl Warner.

Channel 4’s genre teams will continue to meet with indies about new ideas for E4, via designated commissioning editors (listed below). We encourage indies to keep pre-existing dialogues going if they’re working well.

Please talk to individual commissioners about the pitching process and how they prefer to work e.g. sending toplines, decks, tape etc. We aim to get back to emails within two weeks.
 
Entertainment: Genna Gibson – looking for premium reality and formats with scale that can be more heavily formatted and celeb or talent-based.
Factual entertainment: Vivienne Molokwu and Tim Hancock – looking for premium reality as well as clever, lower-cost fact ent formats.
Daytime and Features: Clemency Green – looking for playful, returnable formats in the lifestyle space – food, makeover, body image etc – that can deliver volume.
Documentaries: Anna Miralis and Simon Lee – looking for glossy ob doc series and constructed doc series.

To make sure we are inclusive and accessible to all, please let us know if you require any adjustments or assistance for meetings and communications with you.

Head of Youth and Digital: Karl Warner

Based in London

Contact: Dana Marshall
020 7306 8175

kwarner@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, E4: Mel Bezalel

Based in London

Contact: Dana Marshall
020 7306 8175

mbezalel@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, Entertainment: Genna Gibson

Based in London

ggibson@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment: Vivienne Molokwu

Based in London

(including Reality that sits closer to Entertainment)

vmolokwu@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment: Tim Hancock

Based in London

thancock@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, Features and Daytime: Clemency Green

Based in London

cgreen@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, Documentaries: Anna Miralis

Based in London

amiralis@channel4.co.uk

Commissioning Editor, Documentaries: Simon Lee

Based in London

slee@channel4.co.uk