Every show on E4 must also drive All 4 – we’re proud to play a starring role in the Future4 strategy. Five of our shows are in the top 10 performing titles on All 4: Married at First Sight, Hollyoaks, Celebs Go Dating, Below Deck Med and Made in Chelsea. We want to be an even beefier presence on that list so we can continue this not-so-humble brag.
We’re commissioned up for this year, but are currently looking for ideas that will go into production and TX in 2022 and shows that will go into production in 2022 for TX in 2023. Which isn’t as far away as you think.
E4’s three pillars in more detail:
Premium reality – 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 is still massively hot at the moment and is really universal, but it’s important for us to sow E4’s oats and eye up other territories, as long as they feel 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 UK or Celebs Go Dating.
Lower-cost repeatable formats – We’re currently piloting shows at a lower tariff (150K per ep) which offer up more creative range and edge than the broader, co-viewing premium reality. These formats could be experimental in form or tone, but should still have some purpose and scale up to 10, 20 or 30 eps over time. We’re more likely to back an idea that’s a funny, quirky take on a tried and tested subject – like body image and makeover, money, family dynamics etc – rather than young, niche hobbies. It was painful, but we just turned down a 30-part series on yarn bombing. Think Tattoo Fixers or Don’t Tell The Bride.
Character-driven factual – Unlike things that are two-dimensional, E4 is three-dimensional – 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. We’re looking for relatable casts located in real-world (less constructed) precincts with at least one stand-out character to hang the drama and entertainment around. We’re really up for tackling grittier subjects but we won’t want to lose our sense of humour so maybe you’ve got a smart approach, a talent, or original way of finding the light in the dark? Think Teen Mum High.
Like a beautiful, bulbous onion – E4 has layers and we want to show them off to the world. Deep. We want addictive new shows that will deliver drama, 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 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.
We’re lucky to have some exceptionally attractive faces on E4 – from Pete and Sam in Reality News 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, Chris and Rosie Ramsay, Laura Smyth, Bimini, Desiree Birch, Daisy May Cooper, Vogue Williams, Leigh Francis and check out the brilliant talent we’re developing at the E4 Academy (Kaylee Golding, Ty Logan, Lydia Maddix and Joe Hobbs).
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. And Navi Lamba commissions digital content that has an E4 skew. Navi reports into the head of digital commissioning, Sacha Khari.
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:
Factual: Harjeet Chhokar – looking for character-driven factual and formats rooted in the real world
Fact ent: Vivienne Molokwu – looking for premium reality as well as clever, lower-cost Fact Ent formats
Ents: Steven Handley – looking for premium reality and formats with scale that can be more heavily formatted and celeb or Talent based
Daytime and Features: Clemency Green – looking for playful, returnable formats in the lifestyle space – food, makeover, body image etc - that can deliver volume
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