LONDON: Children’s ITV (CITV), which broadcasts between 3:25 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. on weekdays, will be commissioning longer runs of kids programs in order to boost familiarity in its schedule.
The shift in emphasis is one of the first major changes introduced by Nigel Pickard since he took over the role of controller of children’s programs at ITV this year.
Efforts to make CITV stand out will also include a new look for the schedule. A new set and live presenters will be used to inject the schedule with the sort of energy more usually associated with the popular satellite broadcaster Nickelodeon.
Pickard also plans to focus his efforts more closely on the five- to 11-year-old age group. It had been rumored for some time that he plans to reduce his emphasis on the hard-to-reach teenage audience.
One of the early beneficiaries of Pickard’s plans is producer/ distributor Link Entertainment, which has seen two of its television series win recommissions. The Forgotten Toys, a co-production with Hibbert Ralph, will be back with a new series of 13 x 11-minute episodes after achieving a 60 percent share the first time around. Teddybears, which is aimed at the preschool market, has also been recommissioned with a few changes in format. The first 26 x 11-minute episodes will be delivered in 1999.