Editor Reports: Time for Grade to quit ITV?

There’s anger about job losses, budget cuts and the closure of the Leeds studios and there’s now calls for Michael Grade to step down and he should do so.

The buck stops at the top – someone must take responsibility for ITV’s woes and the blame simply can’t be passed over and shifted to the credit crunch. There’s no doubt that the credit crunch has played its part in the broadcaster and production company’s problems but it’s not all down to the recession. A lot of ITV’s problems stem from bad management and awful decisions for which the buck should stop with Michael Grade.

Just take a look at the dramas launched last year by the network, with much hype and hope, and how many actually got another run. The Fixer and Moving Wallpaper, which is airing once more on ITV1 at the moment, were the only two to get a second series. Even those two shows didn’t deliver huge audiences for ITV but there was potential within them to do so if they were tweaked slightly. However, some of the drama’s that were axed shouldn’t really have been commissioned in the first place – Harley Street or Britannia High had flop written all over them.

ITV is no longer seen as a station/broadcaster of quality but one of low brow programming for low interlect with the likes of Ant & Dec lined up to get them to phone in to answer a stupidly easy question to win a prize. Of course to these, now seeming core viewership, it might not be stupidly easy; it might be quite hard to work out what the capital of Wales is or if you have to turn a kettle on to boil it or whether the pope is catholic. To an ITV viewer these may be truly taxing questions but to most of us they insult the intelligence.

ITV needs a new direction and management that isn’t afraid to take bold decisions such as dropping expensive stars and even dropping episodes of Emmerdale and Coronation Street a week – which would save money and free up space in the schedules for something decent. Michael Grade has had his try at saving ITV and it hasn’t really worked, things are worse, it’s time he stood down and let someone else have a go – if there’s anyone else out there willing too.

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