Monday 21 October 2019

Fleabag doesn’t attract enough viewers to be shown on ITV, says boss

She denied suggestions that the broadcaster was steering clear of comedy.

Fleabag doesn’t attract enough viewers to be shown on ITV, says boss (Ian West/PA)
Fleabag doesn’t attract enough viewers to be shown on ITV, says boss (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The BBC’s comedy gem, Fleabag, could not air on ITV because “we have to make a return”, the boss of the commercial broadcaster has said.

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall denied suggestions that the company was steering clear of comedy.

But she said that it was difficult to make comedies and sitcoms which appeal to a big enough audience for its main channel.

ipanews_806c2194-6aab-4e63-b61e-84ff7dfc1257_embedded226551778
ITV executive Carolyn McCall has denied suggestions that the broadcaster is ‘steering clear of comedy’ (PA)

She told the Broadcasting Press Guild: “Actually, if you even think about Fleabag, which I think everybody loves, you would think it’s reaching eight million people and it’s not.

“It’s doing perfectly OK. It’s a million… consolidating up to about two million.

“It’s kudos. But we have no licence fee so we have to make a return on our comedy.

It's not that we are not going to commission comedy ITV boss Carolyn McCall

“We can’t have a show on ITV1 doing two million. It just doesn’t happen.”

She said: “It’s really hard to get comedy on ITV1 because it’s a mass audience and the expectations of that audience are five million plus and that’s a very difficult thing to do because comedy tends to be niche.

“It’s not that we are not going to commission comedy. ”

Her comments come after Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, was quoted as saying that the future for the traditional sitcom was “quite bleak” on the UK’s largest commercial channel.

PA Media

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top