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Sunday, 23 September, 2001, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
BBC launches new Saturday Show
Dani Behr and Joe Mace
Behr and Mace: "The right content, style and attitude"
A new battle for children's TV viewers started this weekend when the BBC launched The Saturday Show, its new live entertainment programme that will challenge ITV1's SM:tv.

The Saturday Show, hosted by Dani Behr and Joe Mace, replaces Live & Kicking, which had trailed in the ratings to its ITV1 counterpart.

Behr has promised to make Saturday mornings "sexy" with the show's mix of games, celebrity appearances and "maximum mayhem".

Ant and Dec
Ant and Dec: A hit with young audiences
But it will face a stiff task to match the popularity of SM:tv, which is hosted by Ant and Dec and was attracting up to twice as many viewers as Live & Kicking.

The first airing of the three-hour Saturday Show featured an appearance from pop singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor plus games including Karaoke Karnage, where stars see their songs "butchered" by audience members.

Meanwhile SM:tv featured a star-studded line-up with Britney Spears, Robbie Williams and Victoria Beckham on the same day.

Behr, 26, has said The Saturday Show would have "the right content, style and attitude" to challenge ITV1.

Past BBC Saturday morning shows
Swap Shop
Saturday Superstore
Going Live
Live & Kicking
The show will have a "late-night studio" feel along the lines of Channel Four's TFI Friday and So Graham Norton, she said.

"We know what we're up against. Ant and Dec have been friends for years and their timing is perfect."

Behr made her name presenting Channel 4's notorious late-night youth show The Word, but has appeared in no enduring hits since.

She also said her lack of children's TV work would not be a big problem.

Her co-presenter Mace is a rising star who is so far best-known for his madcap style on Top of the Pops Plus.

The show will feature a five-strong house band who were found through a nationwide talent search.

'Worth getting up for'

A BBC spokeswoman said The Saturday Show would be "more of an experience to watch" with a Glastonbury-style stage and the audience sitting in "waltzer-style" pods with interactive voting pads.

"We might get Dani Behr in a nurse's uniform, which is worth getting up for," she said.

Live & Kicking began in 1993 and was originally hosted by Emma Forbes and Andi Peters, before Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston replaced them three years later.

But a ratings slide that started when Emma Ledden and Steve Wilson fronted it could not be stopped by Katy Hill, Sarah Cawood, Ortis Deley and Trey Farley.

Ant and Dec are currently achieving audiences of up to two million for ITV on Saturday mornings.

See also:

10 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Behr: I'll make Saturday 'sexy'
21 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
The Behr facts
23 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Behr challenges Ant and Dec
29 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
'Fresh' show for Saturday mornings
20 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Live & Kicking gets boot
20 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Saturday morning's wake-up call
17 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Blue Peter's Katy quits
04 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Live & Kicking duo depart
08 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Live & Kicking gets new look
07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Ant and Dec leave BBC
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