Eye Box

Keeping a critical eye on the world of TV and film

Archive for February 2009

ITV, Channel 4 and Five merger could happen

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Media Guardian have reported that ITV execs have laid out concrete plans for much speculated three-way merger which would see them, Channel 4 and Five merged as a single advertiser-funded commercial broadcaster.

With all three broadcasters facing huge annual losses, jobs cuts and a prediction that the advertising downturn will continue until at least April, ITV have acted on Lord Carter’s endorsement of a large commercially-funded UK broadcaster to rival the BBC and drawn up the plans. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by jessewhittock

February 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Pre-Oscars talk

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Creative commons

Rumour has it that anti-Israeli feeling may stop Waltz With Bashir from winning Best Foreign Film at the Oscars tonight. I really hope this isn’t true – mixing politics with awards shows is pretty stupid. In fact, I’d go one step further than that: mixing politics with film is fine on-screen but absolutely not behind the seens.

The big screen is for entertainment, not for political messages.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jessewhittock

February 22, 2009 at 8:06 pm

News round-up: Alfie Patten doc, Oscars odds and a makeover for The Simpsons

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It’s been a very busy week for film and television…here’s the round up.

Channel 4 won’t be going ahead with the proposed Alfie Patten documentary, after concerns were raised about payment to his family. Publicist Max Clifford told MediaGuardian.co.uk that the family had been expecting a £25,000 cheque for the programme. Probably best judging by the weird masks he and his dad wore this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jessewhittock

February 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Child abuse on TV: Are Channel 4 courting controversy?

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Controversy at Channel 4 used to be because they pushed the boat out. Programmes such as the brilliant Brass Eye drew complaints for all the right reasons. Even Brookside’s lesbian kiss storyline in 1993 had a point. So I’m not sure what can be said about C4’s latest problematic Boys and Girls Alone. (But, of course, I’ll give it a go.)

In an open letter to The Times, 36 child psychologists, paediatricians and journalists described the show as “child abuse” and claimed C4 was “treating human beings with contempt.” Many have likened it to a modern day Lord of the Flies. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jessewhittock

February 17, 2009 at 11:35 am

Who wants a C4/Five merger? Lord Carter does, do you?

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Channel 4 - A headtrip inside or outside

Channel 4 - A headtrip inside or outside

After the Kangaroo debacle of last week, focus on C4 has switched back to the future of the network, namely, who can save the sinking ship? BBC Worldwide? Andy Duncan wouldn’t hear of it. Other interest has been, let’s say conservatively, limited. Or liberally, non-existent. Except, that is, for the continued rumours that Five are planning some kind of smash and grab raid.

I reported Five’s interest last week, and Lord Carter today reiterated his belief that a C4/Five merger should not be casually written off. Too be honest, C4 don’t have a massive amount of leverage here – when nobody in the (techno) playground likes you, you can’t choose who you play with.

I asked a few mates, not experts, just a few guys and gals who appreciate what C4 once stood for what they think about the idea. Responses varied from “Five is shit, though, unless Channel 4 wants to nick CSI,” to “By the sounds of things it’s all so screwed up that maybe I should make a new station myself.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jessewhittock

February 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Project Kangaroo loses its bounce

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Project Kangaroo - legs chopped off

Project Kangaroo, the joint online video on-demand venture of BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4, will not go ahead, after it was ruled it could strangle competition in the UK.

The Competition Committee decided that smaller on-demand services would be negatively affected by the venture, and that the three networks would lose the need to compete with one another. Instead, the report recommended that each network should “pursue its own commercial interests, either alone or in partnership with a third party, to exploit its archive video on-demand content rights.” The full ruling can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jessewhittock

February 4, 2009 at 10:19 pm

As Britain freezes so do C4 pay increases

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It could be that Andy Duncan woke up this morning, pulled his blinds open, saw frozen road and was influenced to apply the principle to his own staff’s pay.

As of today, all pay increases at Channel 4 have been frozen for the year – including Duncan’s yearly bonus. (Although he’s not exactly feeling the credit crunch personally with an annual salary alleged to have been over £1.2m in 2007.) In addition, Duncan is expected to claim a separate bonus he is entitled to in July. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jessewhittock

February 2, 2009 at 8:10 pm