C5 to free production arm to pitch projects to rivals
Channel 5 is planning to turn its in-house production division into an independent unit capable of pitching its brand of tabloid telly to rival broadcasters.
The move has been identified as a key part of the producer’s next stage of growth, following its launch two and a half years ago.
5Production has had a stellar year, producing hits for its parent channel including Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole, which has consolidated to average 2.5 million (10%) for its first six episodes.
Other major shows include CCTV series Caught On Camera and the …& Proud franchise.
C5 is now working towards spinning off the division into a standalone company that it would continue to own, but which could pitch and produce for other broadcasters both in the UK and internationally.
It is understood that this process will be pursued once the Viacom acquisition has been completed. 5Production is overseen by Channel 5 chief operating officer Paul Dunthorne and run by head of production Stephanie Wrate, who previously produced series including BBC1’s Absolutely Fabulous and worked for Disney.
She told Broadcast that producing series for broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4 is part of the unit’s “long-term ambition” to become a self-sufficient production business.
5Production was launched under previous director of programmes Jeff Ford and has so far produced 60 hours, including Jedward’s Weird Wild World, Tesco Mum Of The Year and Wonga-backed Go Hard Or Go Home, as well as Marco Pierre White’s Kitchen Wars, its most popular show internationally.
It will continue to produce long- running access docs for C5 and is developing Dole Town, a spin-off of Benefits Britain, which itself was spun out of On Benefits & Proud.
Dole Town will focus on a specific town rather than take Benefits Britain’s country-wide approach.
5Production has also made more traditional documentaries such as The McCanns And The Conman and The Limbless Mountaineer. Wrate is keen to produce more high-end docs and to work with individual film-makers on new projects.
5Production is also moving into formats and drama-documentaries, and is close to announcing a major new project.
Its push into other genres is being led by in-house development duo Beren Money, who previously worked at Endemol and Tiger Aspect, and former Nine Lives and ITN exec David Arrowsmith.