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Channel 4 has earmarked £3m for a six-part Sunday 9pm unscripted format and £2.5m for a Thursday 8pm entertainment show as it sets out the scope of its new £30m global format fund.

The broadcaster this week unveiled the fund, as well as a drive to funnel its commissioning through its on-demand service All 4 with binge-watch series and “particularly noisy” singles.

In drama, it wants a returning 6 x 60-minute series and an 8 x 30-minute young-skewing show that would play out at 9pm and 10pm respectively on the linear channel.

Head of drama Caroline Hollick spelled out subjects that she wanted to shy away from, namely: dystopian dramas, stories about Islamic terrorism, urban knife crime and pre-20th century period pieces.

Suppliers will be expected to deliver entire series ahead of the broadcast of the first episode so that their shows can be offered as box-sets on All 4 as they launch, or even premiere ahead of broadcast.

The broadcaster is looking at which types of shows do disproportionately well on the service. It already has a panel of 70 All 4 users, which is refreshed every 12 weeks. Contributors’ insights have led to the acquisition of ‘feelgood’ shows such as Married at First Sight Australia and US teen series Dawson’s Creek.

C4 will also look to do more co-productions across its scripted and unscripted output, while some linear slots will continue to commission content for less than £100,000 per hour.

“This year, we’ve learned how to fill a schedule on a much lower budget,” said director of programmes Ian Katz. “It has revealed how we can spend our money more effectively.”

Formats fund

Briefs for the two-year £30m format fund will be issued on 3 December, with C4 hunting shows with international appeal and recommissioning potential.

Chief executive Alex Mahon said she wanted C4 to “work hand-in-hand with producers to share the risk”, promising more input from the broadcast in guaranteeing a slot, a recommissioning and marketing spend and splitting overseas revenue equally with the producer.

The fund will be used on daytime, factual entertainment, features and entertainment formats as these have the greatest potential for international expansion.

On top of the Thursday and Sunday shows, C4 has three further slots in its 2021 schedule to house content that uses the fund.

Head of factual entertainment Alf Lawrie is leading the steering group for co-ordinating the fund.

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