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Hollyoaks’ output slashed by Channel 4

Soapworld

Hollyoaks’ output slashed by Channel 4

Hollyoaks is dropping down to three episodes per week, Channel 4 has announced.

The soap currently broadcasts five new episodes every week. In a statement, Channel 4 put the decision to lose two of them down to “evolving viewing habits”.

“Extensive research has identified this as the optimum pattern to keep heartland audiences hooked and attract new ones in a highly saturated content market,” the broadcaster said

Last year, the soap became the UK’s first streaming-led soap by dropping its 6.30pm Channel 4 screening in favour of YouTube uploads instead. Episodes are made available on streaming 24 hours before they are broadcast at 7pm weeknights on E4.

Following the move to a thrice-weekly pattern, there will also be a drama packed hour-long weekly omnibus episode broadcast on Channel 4 and available to stream.

Channel 4 continued:

“The move reflects how young audiences are already consuming Hollyoaks, with Channel 4 data showing that the most loyal soap fans watch an average of three episodes per week. The new strategy will enable the show to cut through more powerfully with fewer, higher impact episodes.”

The changes will take effect from September.

Channel 4 has acknowledged the potential “impact on production” and has said it will work with Lime Pictures, the soap’s producer, to minimise this where possible. 135 jobs are said to be at risk.

Lime Pictures have also appointed Hannah Cheers as Executive Producer of Hollyoaks. Since September 2023, Cheers has been the show’s interim showrunner, overseeing notable developments including the well-received January stunt episode and its aftermath, as well as the return of popular characters such as Jacqui, Myra, Cleo and Theresa McQueen, and Freddie Roscoe.

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