Channel 4 has unveiled its first autumn schedule since the
appointment of Michael Jackson as chief executive last year with a
package of major new comedy and drama series, a drive to make Wednesday
nights appointment-to-view evenings and a commitment to market the
schedule directly to agencies.
Jackson and Channel 4’s sales director, Andy Barnes, will visit agencies
and clients during the autumn to listen to any ideas or concerns the
media community may have about TV in general and Channel 4 in
According to Barnes, Channel 4 is keen to maintain its original
commitment to being ’logical, plausible and sustainable’ in its approach
to airtime sales. ’On the pounds 3 billion we’ve traded since we started
selling our own airtime, we’ve not had any debt,’ he said.
At the same time, he will be highlighting the channel’s audience
performance. ’Contrary to popular belief, our main audiences such as 16-
to 34-year-olds and ABC1s are all up year on year,’ he said.
The autumn schedule will be important for Channel 4, however, as a
signal of the channel’s strengths in 1999.
Comedy and light entertainment highlights include Bob and Margaret, an
animated series, Streetmate, which will help a member of the public find
their perfect date, and Nightly, a topical talk show.
Among returning series are Drop the Dead Donkey, Whose Line is it
Anyway? and Eurotrash.
New documentaries and dramas include The Clintons - A Marriage of Power,
a series following the Norland Nannies, a look at ancient cultures in
Quest for the Lost Civilisation and In Search of Conservatism, with the
former MP, Michael Portillo.
The Big Breakfast, gets a marketing push, with an on-air promotional
campaign featuring animated versions of the presenters, Denise Van Outen
and Johnny Vaughan.
Children’s programmes have also been given greater coherence by the
recently appointed commissioning editor, Andi Peters.