It’s been a couple of months since CiTV announced the revival of its commissioning budget, following the now-infamous development freeze of 2006. And although this year’s more modest war chest had an impact on just four kids entertainment projects, channel controller Emma Tennant has already got a buying strategy mapped out for next year.
In anticipation of having roughly the same amount to play with in 2009, Tennant is looking primarily for live-action projects targeting kids six to nine, and she’s open to a range of genres spanning factual series, dramas and comedies. She is also particularly keen to find a game show or challenge show that has the potential to become a programming centerpiece for the channel.
As for animation, Tennant is focusing on acquisitions for the time being, and specifically projects that are at a co-production stage and already have some financing on-board. ‘We’re open to sharing with other broadcasters, possibly even within our own market, if scheduling windows can be sorted out,’ she adds. This model is becoming more common in the UK, where Five’s Milkshake! morning block shares a number of series running in Nickelodeon’s afternoon lineup. As for CiTV, Tennant can see the channel striking a deal with another broadcaster not operating in the digital terrestrial TV space, such as satellite mainstays Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Jetix.
This year’s budget was funneled into second seasons of pre-freeze commissions Horrid Henry and Finger Tips, as well as preschool live-actioner Captain Mack and a new preschool show in the pipeline that Tennant had yet to confirm at press time.
CiTV recently took over a slot on the Freeview platform that used to belong to Disney’s ABC1, giving the channel some extra hours to program. It now runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends as well as weekdays.