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When shows switch channels

When shows switch channels

It was announced earlier this week that American medical-drama House would move channels airing on Sky One instead of Five but the drama isn’t the only programme to switch channels. We take a look at some of the more famous examples of shows that have switched channels both in the UK and in their own native countries.


It was announced earlier this week that American medical-drama House would move channels airing on Sky One instead of Five but the drama isn’t the only programme to switch channels. We take a look at some of the more famous examples of shows that have switched channels both in the UK and in their own native countries.




Aussie soap Neighbours hasn’t just swapped channels here in the UK – it’s also swapped channels back home in its native country. When the soap first premiered in 1985 it was on the Seven Network in Australia but low ratings saw the series cancelled. But all was not lost as Network Ten snapped it up, seeing potential, and sexed up the soap a little and gave it a big publicity push. It paid off because the soap took off in Australia. In the UK the BBC snapped up the rights and there it stayed until 2008 when Five outbid the BBC and ITV for the UK rights and off Neighbours moved once again.



Home and Away


Another story of Five outbidding ITV and snapping up the UK rights. From 1989 until 2000 the soap aired on ITV1 in the UK and was just a mere handful of episodes behind Australian broadcasts. But in 2000 ITV were outbid for the soap by Five and ITV lost the UK rights. The last episode of the soap aired on ITV1 in June 2000. Because of contractual reasons Five couldn’t start airing the soap for a year and so for an entire year Home and Away disappeared from Brit screens until 2001 when it finally began airing on Five – and it’s remained there ever since.





Confusing, barmy and ever-twisting fantasy drama series Lost – yes it is fantasy! – Lost premiered in the UK on Channel Four. The terrestrial broadcaster snapped up the rights to the pilot episode and the Lostfirst two seasons – all of which rated moderately well on Four. It wasn’t as huge a hit over here as it was in the states but then Lost is a show that requires dedication and quite possibly addiction – to it, not drugs or anything. Brit audiences to be fair aren’t really used to seasons lasting longer than 6 or 13 episodes so asking us to watch 22 episodes per season in a drama that rarely actually answers questions – and if it does it’s usually with another question – is probably asking too much. However, Sky One obviously didn’t think so as they snapped up the rights from under Channel Four. The drama now attracts audiences of up to a million viewers for Sky One which no doubt pleases the channel greatly.



The Simpsons


The SimpsonsThe popular cartoon series used to air on BBC Two in the evenings that was until Channel Four took a fancy to the series and acquired it. Of course Sky One also airs episodes of the American series but it was the terrestrial rights that the BBC used to hold and lost to Channel Four. They decided to put the series on before Hollyoaks on the idea that both shows attracted the same kind of audiences.




Long-running comedy series set in a hospital and is hugely popular in America. However, when NBC announced the series would end after seven years rival Network ABC spotted an opportunity to acquire a new show for their schedules – one they hoped the audience would follow across the channels. Whether Scrubs will continue past its eighth season isn’t clear as although ABC has said more seasons could follow if it rates well main star Zach Braff has announced his intention to leave and he isn’t the only one. It’s been suggested that if the show does continue into season nine it may change name.





Queen of the chat-shows genre, at least in the UK, was Trisha of ITV1. Her chat-show was a dam-sight more upmarket than her replacement, chav king Jeremy Kyle. All manners of topics were covered from bullying to adultery, homosexuality to prostitution but calm Trisha was always on hand to guide her guests, and audiences, with support and understanding – not shouting and belittlement like Jeremy Kyle. After years on ITV1 Trisha decided she had enough and decided to move to Five instead – rumours of arguments with chiefs at ITV were reported at the time. At Five Trisha never commanded the same kinds of audiences she once had but she was still classier than what was airing on ITV1 at the time – Jeremy Kyle. Well at first ITV tried to beat Trisha with…repeats of Trisha. When that didn’t work along came Jeremy Kyle and hoards of screaming, swearing, cheating chavs.


Paul O’Grady


When Paul O’Grady landed his own chat-show on ITV1 the channel breathed a sigh of relief. Since axing soap Crossroads in 2003 the channel had desperately trying to find a suitable, and successful, show for its 5pm slot without success. Every new programme they tried to launch flopped and just added ratings on for Richard and Judy – who were most pleased. Then finally along came Paul O’Grady who regularly attracted three million viewers and gave ITV a much needed boost. Then silly ITV forgot to renew his contract and so O’Grady defected to Channel Four and shared the year with Richard and Judy. ITV pulled out its old trick of airing repeats against O’Grady’s new show but that didn’t work. So next ITV tried launching a new chat-show with Sharon Osbourne and later Antony Cotton [which was a carbon copy more or less of O’Grady’s show] though Bradley Walsh didn’t make it past the pilot stage. Second seasons of Osbourne and Cotton were promised but never materialised and strangely Channel Four, or any other channel, didn’t try to tempt either away from ITV1. We wonder why.



Other famous examples of shows switching channels include Men Behaving Badly whose first season aired on ITV1 but was axed due to low ratings. However, the BBC snapped up the series, tweaked it a little, and the show became one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990’s. Another comedy which switched from ITV to BBC was Auf Wiedershen Pet which originally aired on ITV between 1983 and 1986 but was revived by the BBC in 2002 with a further two seasons. Similarly comedy drama Minder ran on ITV1 between 1979 and 1994 before ending however, Five has since revived the series with Shane Richie in a lead role. Whether Five re-commissions Minder for a second season remains to be seen.


Minder isn’t the only classic show revived by Five recently as the broadcaster also brought back Classic quiz-showclassic 1990’s quiz-show Going for Gold, which originally aired on BBC One. Gladiators, a popular fixture of the schedules in the 1990’s, was revived by Sky recently but the original version aired on ITV. Blockbusters, Telly Addicts and Family Fortunes have also been revived but not by their original broadcasters. High-brow general knowledge quiz University Challenge started life on ITV, produced by Granada, before switching to BBC Two in the 90’s.

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