Channel 4 is to overhaul its schedules, investing in documentaries and educational programming, moving a raft of factual entertainment programmes to its digital offshoots or off the channel altogether.
Kevin Lygo, Channel 4’s director of television and content, said in a speech at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, that the broadcaster would clear the schedule of ratings hits such as Celebrity Big Brother to make way for programmes that would better serve its public service remit.
Lygo said this would inevitably mean a fall in ratings. ‘We are prepared for this and strongly believe it is the right thing to do. Much better to be an interesting channel at 8 per cent than a less interesting one at 10 per cent.”
He reiterated the broadcaster’s commitment to news and current affairs through its public service ethos and said its news programmes scheduled in peak time ‘offer greater analysis than competitor bulletins on other channels and tackle subject matter, particularly international affairs, that other channels devote less time to.”
‘The point is that we are determined to open up space for argument,’he added.
Lygo also underlined his support for the Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque which is under investigation by Ofcom for alleged distortion of viewpoints within the edition.
Lygo said it was ‘a fantastic piece of first rate journalism which has been completely vindicated”.
Channel 4 is currently seeking over £100 million of public money and if it didn’t get public service money – Lygo said the first thing to go would be serious investigative journalism – news, current affairs programming. ‘It would be a different channel and not nearly as interesting.’