Meet the Commissioners – Broadcasters

Posted on: Friday 02 July 2010 4:08am

Four Key UK Broadcasters tell you exactly what they’re looking for to fill their schedules.


Jamie Badminton, Creative Director, Karrot Animation


Debbie MacDonald, VP, Programming Director, Nickelodeon UK

Paul Robinson, MD, KidsCo

Orion Ross, Vice President, Original Series, Disney Channels EMEA

Emma Tennant, Controller of Digital Channels, ITV

Jo Twist, Commissioning Editor for Education , Channel 4


CITV is the biggest commercial kids channel in the UK. It is split into two areas – CITV (4 – 10s) and recently rebranded mini CITV (3 – 6s)

EthosAdventurous, involving, getting messy and having fun. It’s like your best mate who sits at the back of the class and gets you into trouble!

Looking for: More children on screen, Live Action Adventure Play, 4 – 9’s live action comedy dramas. Physical challenge style game shows. ‘Make and Do’ factual entertainment.

Funding – CITV programming is rarely fully funded so look at co-production.

Nickelodeon UK

Nickelodeon reaches 10 million households in the UK and 282 million households internationally. With a brand new MD and a brand new look it is an exciting time for Nick.

Ethos -Heart, Fart and Smart

While UK opportunities do exist, Debbie made it clear that Nick currently has a global focus and is looking for projects with global potential. But in her own words, “Don’t freak out!” Pitches are published to an international network which means all the different offices can view them. This means your project will get seen.

Looking For:Sitcoms, Intrigued by tele-novellas (looking to explore this in both South America and the UK). TV Movies – The US are interested in UK based talent and want to look at this format. However animation will most likely always be an aquisition. Nick has a great relationship with Dreamworks and will be releasing spin offs from their feature films throughout 2010/2011. Nick Jr is perhaps more positive for animators and there are definite local opportunities available.

Ethos for Nick Jr – Giving children a voice.

Education Channel 4

Ethos – To help young people get to grips with a difficult changing world. To try to do things in an edgy, different relevant way. Amplify the voice of young people. Core NeedsUK Based 14 – 19s. Needs to be useful, fun, educational, entertaining (and potentially award winning!) Should encourage curiosity, discovery and play.

The team commission in 3 areas: TV, Web and Apps/Games and also like projects that mix these together.

The education team also look at how learning can link into current projects in the Channel 4 schedule (eg. the recent 303 Squadron) and they’re particularly interested in games designed for social networking sites (eg. Facebook)

Want more – Risks – we’re the non profit side of Channel 4, Diverse Talent (particularly in games).


Kidsco is a growing international TV channel owned by NBC Universal, Cookie Jar Group and Corus Entertainment Inc and is currently available in 95 countries. They have a focus on family values and learning through ideas such as environmental responsibility.

Ethos – Family Values and Fun, Learning through environmental / tolerance issues. Non violent. Celebrating cultural diversity

Looking ForFamily orientated programmes that showcase the strength of family/school life. Compelling characters and story-lines. Non violent, appropriate behaviour (no farting or gunge please!). Ideally rights for world wide distribution

Orion Ross, Disney Channel

Disney UK has three channels: Disney Channel, Disney XD and Playhouse Disney (soon to be re-branded Disney Junior. After it’s re-brand Disney Junior will focus on a slightly older demographic than Playhouse Disney (3 – 6s) and whilst Disney Junior will always be educational there will be a greater focus on character and storytelling.

Disney Channel Ethos: Prime time for tweens. It respects the audience and wants to feel like it is competing with the grown up shows.

All three Disney Brands are looking for:

Original Animation – not an imitation of a Disney Film. Long Form Series – 52 x 11’. Break out characters. Strong Point of View. Rich and Deep World. Gender Neutral. Contemporary and Relevant (no Sci Fi and Fantasy ) Has to have a family element (although this doesn’t have to be a nuclear family) Comedy is incredibly important – it has to be funny!

FundingDisney will look at a whole range of funding models.

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