Plinko with Pasquale

Wednesday, February 1, 2006 by

It’s amazing to think about how much of a ratings battleground teatime has become.

ITV1 appear to have dumped plans to counter Channel 4′s transmissions of The Paul O’Grady Show with, er, The Best of The Paul O’Grady Show, with something equally original over the beans on toast – old repeats of You’ve Been Framed and a blatant rip-off of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, to accompany their blatant rip-off of Strictly Come DancingDancing on Ice.

It also appears that we’re soon to be getting another revival of The Price is Right, fronted by squeaky-voiced jungle funnyman Joe Pasquale, which it seems ITV1 will be punting out at 4.30pm. Which is completely the wrong time for the naked greed and arm-waving hysteria of TPIR. And who in their right minds could put up with that every single afternoon? Noel Edmonds is hardly going to be worried about the return of Cliffhanger and Switcheroo, is he?

To accommodate this, it looks like CITV is to be slashed to an hour a day, which makes you wonder why ITV are even bothering. How many kids are going to tune in for an hour, when there’s two hours-plus on BBC1, and all day on the Beeb’s kids’ channels, not to mention Nick, Disney, Cartoon Network etc? Presumably this hour will be little more than an extended trailer for their own forthcoming CITV channel. But given that ITV are only now obliged to provide eight hours of childrens’ programming a week, I don’t see why they don’t just do two four-hour slabs on weekend mornings.

One more point. How long does BBC1 stay out of all this before the ITV-C4 teatime war starts to affect share? There were rumours a few years back that Mark Thompson, in his previous incarnation as Director of Television, wanted to shift CBBC in its entirety to BBC2. Might we soon see The Weakest Link in tandem with Neighbours on BBC1?


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