Report: presenter cull at GMTV

According to a report in the Daily Mail, ITV bosses are preparing to swing the axe at GMTV.
 
The remaining presenters – Andrew Castle, Kate Garraway and Emma Crosby – showbiz reporter Richard Arnold and weather girl Clare Nasir face an uncertain future as rumours fly that they’ll all be dropped in the summer.
 
The Daily Mail says it has learned that ITV boss Peter Fincham and daytime controller Alison Sharman are in favour of the move. Former BBC presenter Adrian Chiles, who’s signed a £6million deal with ITV, takes his place on the sofa in September. GMTV is expected to go off air, undergo a revamp and then return with Chiles at the helm.
 
An insider told the paper: "Quite honestly, everyone is running scared. Nobody knows what is happening as they are all waiting for Ian Rumsey [incoming editor] to arrive. But it looks like everyone will be going." Penny Smith, who has been with GMTV since 1993, is already on her way out and Ben Shephard has quit.
 
Lorraine Kelly has been quoted as saying: "It is very unsettling for everyone. It’s a tough time as no one knows what is going to happen. All we can do is pull together and hope for the best."
 
Meanwhile, Kate Garraway has admitted: "I’m worried, everyone is. Still, I’ve been here for 10 years and I’m so grateful for that. Anything else will be a bonus. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed."
 
Personally, I wouldn’t bet against further changes because, until fairly recently, GMTV used to lead the way in the ratings. Now it is regularly beaten by the more serious BBC Breakfast which averages around 1.2 million viewers daily to GMTV’s 700,000.
 
An ITV spokesman apparently told the Daily Mail: "No final decisions have been made." However, the speculation about the future of GMTV’s presenters continues.
 
  • How do you feel about the prospect of Andrew Castle, Kate Garraway and Emma Crosby being dropped from GMTV? Let us know your view by leaving a comment – but please keep it clean.
 
 
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Adrian Chiles quits the BBC

Adrian Chiles has quit the BBC. The TV presenter – who currently presents The One Show and Match of the Day 2 – has officially left to join ITV in a four-year deal.
 
As part of his new presenting projects, he’ll appear on GMTV and cover the World Cup for the commercial broadcaster this summer.
Adrian Chiles said: "The chance to front ITV’s football coverage and GMTV would have proved an irresistible opportunity at the best of times. But, coming as it did at an awkward period for me at the BBC, it made the decision to leave not quite as hard as it might have been."
This decision came shortly after BBC One controller Jay Hunt revealed plans to replace Adrian with Chris Evans on the Friday night instalments of The One Show – a move the 43-year-old admitted to being unhappy about.
 
"I would have been happy to stay at the BBC doing the same shows on the same terms, especially The One Show, of which I am so proud having worked on it since the first pilots four years ago," he said.
 
"It’s no secret how disappointed I was by the controller’s decision to change an apparently successful and well-loved show at this stage, but fully respect her right to do so and sincerely wish her and the brilliant One Show team well with it. I’ve spent all my working life at the BBC, working with and learning from some of the best people in the business.  I will miss all my friends and colleagues very much but can’t wait to get started with new people on two major new challenges for me at ITV."
A BBC spokesman said: "We would like to thank Adrian for his contributions to his programmes and we wish him well for the future."
 
How do you feel about this turn of events? Are you happy to see Adrian Chiles leave the BBC for ITV? Will you continue to watch The One Show? Let us know your view by leaving a comment – but please keep it clean.
 
 

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Peter Andre chat show rumour denied

Proof, if proof was needed, that not everything you read in the papers is true. Yes, Peter Andre’s career is on the up and up – but not to the extent that it would enduce Channel 4 to give him his own chat show.
 
The Mirror had reported that the Aussie singer landed a deal worth £600,000 with a resulting time slot that would”ve pitted him against Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (just before the presenter leaves the BBC). However, Channel 4 has now denied this story.
 
I can see why this rumour may have started. Peter Andre has already helmed a talk show; he and ex-wife Katie Price attempted to become a bawdier, naughtier version of Richard and Judy with ITV2’s Katie and Peter: Unleashed. However, the programme wasn’t a hit with viewers or guests.
 
At the time, Coronation Street’s Jack P. Shepherd (David Platt) described it as "crude" and Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger labelled the format as "ridiculous".
 
However, as someone that watched Katie and Peter: Unleashed (albeit through my fingers), it was clearly apparent that while Katie Price was stiffer than my ironing board, Peter Andre looked at home as a TV host and presenter.
 
It’s a sentiment echoed by a source quoted in The Mirror as saying: "He’s a natural and is delighted that Channel 4 will give him free lience to grill his guests in an irreverent way. It will be a late-night format aimed at the 16-30s so he won’t have to mind is Ps and Qs." Turns out it was wishful thinking – but on whose part? Hmmmm.
 

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ITV axes The Bill


ITV has swung the axe on long-running cop series The Bill. Last year, it was given a revamp and a move to a new 9pm prime time slot but this failed to revive its fortunes.
 
The Bill’s ratings decline tells its own story; from a high of well over 12 million viewers to an average of just under four million for this year.
 
The Bill started life as a play called Woodentop in 1983. Thames Television commissioned a twelve part series which went on to become a mainstay from 1984.
 
The first three series consisted of one-hour episodes, but in order to compete with the soaps, the format was changed to half-hour episodes in 1988.
 
It was the gritty realism of the early years that made The Bill such compelling viewing: jerky camera shots, maintaining the viewpoint of the police officers, natural lighting etc.
 
But what really made the show fly were some of the greatest characterisations ever to grace a UK weekly serial: DCI Frank Burnside (Christopher Ellison), Sgt Bob Cryer (Eric Richard), DC Alfred ‘Tosh’ Lines (the late Kevin Lloyd), DI Roy Galloway (John Salthouse), PC Reg Hollis (Jeff Stewart), Sgt June Ackland (Trudie Goodwin), DC Jim Carver (Mark Wingett) and DC Terry Perkins (Bruce Byron), to name a few.  
 
The beginning of the end for The Bill came when its solid dramatic background was sacrificed for blatant soap; out went a police procedural and in came sensationalist and farfetched storylines that left loyal fans aghast. Exhibit A: just look at what was done with PC Gabriel Kent. The nutter, played by ex-EastEnder Todd Carty, arrived at Sun Hill purely for revenge on June Ackland. He jumped from a bigot to a serial killer. Little wonder the series barely recovered after such a misstep.
 
The last revamp in 2009 saw The Bill once again embracing its grittier past and moving to the later 9pm slot. Beloved characters were dropped, the iconic theme tune dumped and the number of episodes halved. But the show struggled, repeatedly losing out to offerings on the BBC – even repeats.
 
Talking about the decision to axe The Bill, ITV director of television Peter Fincham said: ""Thanks to a superb production team, it’s been one of the great institutions of television drama. But times change, and so do the tastes of our audience." He added: "Whilst The Bill will come to an end in 2010, we will continue to invest more in drama programming than any other commercial broadcaster in the UK and viewers can look forward to a wide range of high-quality drama on ITV1."
 
Goodbye to The Bill then; a fantastic series in its heyday. Has ITV made the right decision? Are you sorry to see the show go? Have your say here but PLEASE keep it clean or your comment will be deleted.
 
 

Today I am mostly lovin’ – Nurse Jackie gets a third season in the US. I can’t wait!!!! Love that show.

Today I am mostly hatin’ – Such a shame about The Bill. But it had a good innings and I’m glad its been put out of its misery. It was soooo fab watching Tosh Lines, Burnside, Galloway and co. Thanks for the memories.

 

 

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Dispatches: TV investigative reporting at its best

The Daily Telegraph famously exposed expenses claims by MPs for a wealth of items including: chauffeurs, a floating duck island, dredging a moat, champagne flutes, cat food and even Maltesers. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to figure out that it was all probably the tip of the iceberg. 
 
Following the scandal surrounding MPs’ expenses, Channel 4’s Dispatches – led by journalist Antony Barnett – put together an undercover investigation that delved into the mostly unregulated world of political lobbying. The programme revealed respected politicians offering to help companies in exchange for profit, with former cabinet minister Stephen Byers memorably describing himself as "a cab-for-hire". I bet he’ll never hail a black cab again – talk about a photo opportunity!

To snare in the unsuspecting, Dispatches set up a fictional US public affairs company. They contacted several senior politicians and asked them if they were interested in a position on the advisory board of a bogus London office. The programme-makers contacted 20 politicians – 10 were invited in for interviews and nine of them were filmed secretly. The politicians featured in the undercover filming included: Geoff Hoon, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, Baroness Sally Morgan, Margaret Moran and Sir John Butterfill. 
 
I watched, utterly repulsed but fascinated, as some agreed to help win government contracts via lobbying the right people. Part of me wanted to cry: ‘Stop! You’re on candid (and Candid) camera!’ Geddit? That’s one for the old skool; Candid Camera was a classic US hidden-camera television series. But of course, they didn’t stop.

There were even boasts of what had already been achieved for private corporate interests while some were still serving as MPs. It was like an episode of Deal Or No Deal with a contestant blinded by greed; instead of taking the few thousand already offered, they try and beat the Banker but end up going home with a fiver. If they’re lucky.

So on and on and on these politicians talked; it was toe-curling, cringe-inducing, explosive stuff. Now this is what I call reality TV. Today we learn that senior Labour figures are trying to distance the Government from Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon. They, alongside Labour backbencher Margaret Moran, have all been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party following the airing of Channel 4’s Dispatches. All four deny any wrongdoing.
 
There are moments in current affairs that live long in the memory: Panorama’s naming and shaming of the four alleged Omagh bombers; World In Action putting the sword into Jonathan Aitken; Panorama exposing the dirty deals in football and everything the great ITV investigative reporter Roger Cook turned his hand (and formidable size) to in pursuit of the story. Just when I’d written off some TV investigative journalism for dumbing-down to Jeremy Kyle Show levels, this infamous edition of Dispatches showed the power of the genre.

 

Today I am mostly lovin’ – The repeats of Frasier on Comedy Central. It’s good to go back to the episodes before Niles and Daphne got together.

Today I am mostly hatin’ – I saw the cast for the new reimagining of Hawaii 5-0. I will reserve judgement (it might be good after all) but why not just come up with something new! Why keep plundering the archives?

 

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Lily Allen moves into reality TV

It appears that Lily Allen is following in Katie Price’s footsteps.

No – she’s not getting a boob job, Botox or marrying a Celebrity Big Brother winner. Instead, Lily looks set to become television’s latest reality star. 

She’s signed up for a TV show in which cameras will follow her every move.
 
In fact, they’re already on the case as she makes preparations to open a designer clothes-hire store with her sister, called ‘Lucy in Disguise’ (quite clever play on The Beatles classic, isn’t it?).
 
A source said: "Lily was approached about the TV show and thought it would help promote her new ventures as well as letting people get to know her a bit better."
 
Of course this isn’t the pop singer’s first foray into the world of television. Remember her iffy BBC Three talk social networking show Lily Allen And Friends which debuted in 2008? At the time, the BBC press office said it would feature "the hottest celebrities, topical guests from the online world" and "chart-topping bands". I do recall Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Junior and David Mitchell guesting but neither fall into the category of "the hottest celebrities".
 
Lily Allen and Friends wasn’t a critics’ favourite so let’s hope her reality TV show performs better. But what do you think? Are you likely to make a point of watching Lily’s new show? Let us know by sharing your view.
 
_______________
 
On MSN TV:
 
Bak on TV looks at Michael Winner’s Dining Stars
"One of the weirdest things about the show is watching Winner dine. He eats like an old man (though to be fair, he is an old man), all drool and gums and, worse than that, he refuses to comment on the food during the meal, instead making notes in his sinister little black book. This has the effect of making him seem far ruder than he probably is."
 
Jack on the Box wonders if Amanda Holden’s got talent
"But to be brutally honest, before Britain’s Got Talent, it was her status as one-time wife of Family Fortunes’ Les Dennis that made her a household name. The affair with Neil Morrissey (remember that infamous long lens snap of Ms Holden and Morrissey skulking off together?) didn’t do her any favours either."
Read the rest of MSN TV columnist Jack Kibble White’s article here
 
 
 

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Bak on TV on MSN TV

This week, MSN’s TV columnist Stuart Bak is having a moan about the profileration of dance programmes on TV.
 
"It’s nearing the point where I probably wouldn’t even bat an eyelid if I switched on EastEnders to find Peggy kicking Janine out of the Vic via the medium of foxtrot. Or Pat paso doble-ing her way from pub to caff.
How long before everyone’s doing it? Not just talent-show hopefuls and z-list celebrities, but everyone? Imagine Jon Snow samba-ing live from The White House on Channel 4 news; Paxman grilling David Cameron on Newsnight while both bust a few hip-hop moves; Henry Sandon doing the robot on the Antiques Roadshow; Attenborough body-popping in the rainforest."
 

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