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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 14:39 GMT
ITV abandons summer reality shows
The participants on ITV1's Love Island
Love Island struggled to attract viewers to ITV1 last summer
ITV has axed its strategy of showing nightly reality shows to compete with Channel 4's Big Brother this summer.

Love Island, which was dropped last year following disappointing ratings, will be replaced by drama and entertainment in the evenings.

ITV's summer schedule will also see David Jason star as a con man in Diamond Geezer and Sir Trevor McDonald host satirical series News Knight.

But weekly talent shows will still be on screen, led by Britain's Got Talent.

Members of the public can show off any talent - from dancing to juggling - and face a judging panel comprising Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden.

The winner will perform in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.

Martin Clunes in The Man Who Lost His Head
Martin Clunes stars in The Man Who Lost His Head
Other entertainment shows due in the coming months include Hell's Kitchen, talent contest Grease is the Word and a one-off special edition of This is Your Life.

In drama, Martin Clunes will star as a museum curator who has to travel to New Zealand in The Man Who Lost His Head.

Stephen Fry will appear as a country solicitor trying to find out the truth about his brother's death in Kingdom.

Factual programmes include Britain's Favourite View with Sir Trevor McDonald, Robbie Coltrane's Incredible Britain and documentary Diana's Last Day.

Children's cuts

But ITV1 is cutting the amount of children's shows it broadcasts from eight to five hours a week.

ITV defended the changes, saying it would "weight its children's output to weekends, where the children's audience can be reached more effectively.

"ITV1 will also screen a number of films for children."

Michael Grade
Michael Grade joined ITV from the BBC in November
But a spokesman for media regulator Ofcom said: "ITV neither sought Ofcom's approval, nor did we give it.

"Ofcom is required to offer guidance, and we made it clear that Ofcom expects ITV to remain a significant commissioning force in children's television with a range of programmes that suit a variety of children's tastes and needs."

Last summer, while Love Island was on the air, ITV slumped to its lowest ever share of the audience.

The broadcaster's pre-tax profits fell to 288m ($555m) in 2006, down from 311m in 2005.

Earlier this month, chairman Michael Grade said ITV had "taken its eye off the ball" and needed "more adventurous ideas".


SEE ALSO
ITV's Ice final hit by vote fault
20 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
How Grade hopes to revitalise ITV
07 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Walsh to step down from X Factor
08 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
ITV must do better, admits Grade
07 Mar 07 |  Business
ITV axes Love Island reality show
24 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
ITV rattled as ad revenues fall
19 Dec 06 |  Business

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